Call of Duty: WWII marks the proud return to form for the series as it heads back to the second World War. This brings a fresh and authentic experience from the era of which we haven't seen from the franchise in almost a decade. It's a large and refined package that offers multiple well rounded modes for every type of player. There's an intense campaign that touches upon various aspects of the Normandy campaign, a full multiplayer experience and one of the best zombie maps ever released. The campaign follows a group of soldiers and puts you into the shoes of a single individual. This is a slight tweak from past campaigns that often have players jumping perspectives. It was a well developed story that aimed to touch upon certain key events. This theater of war focused on the Normandy campaign and started with D-Day.
This depiction of the event felt rather visceral and made other games that attempted to emulate this moment come across as almost cartoonish. These intense scenes and cinematic heavy areas were featured throughout the story. I did find that some of them were a bit over the top and at times made it seem too scripted. Still, the material was respectful and helped bring certain key moments to life in a large scale way. The acting was solid throughout as the cinematics were practically film and even contained some grain to make them match their emulation more closely. I also liked some of the smaller aspects in the story, these being side activities. You could bring a container of food to some troops or occasionally save lives during combat. Not huge details for sure, but just something that made the experience feel as if there was something more to it. I'd like to see this sort of thing get expanded upon in the future releases.
Things are more social with this take on the multiplayer. It all starts at the new social hub called Headquarters, a place where players interact with various parts of the multiplayer. You still get a regular menu which makes the most sense, but also now get this area to explore. Open your loot boxes there, grab contracts for points and purchase weapons or accessory items such as emotes. You're also now filtered into divisions that can be leveled and these represent various aspects of the military effort during World War II. This aspect provides a template of progression and you can work through them to unlock different items.
You unlock weapons, perks and so forth as usual. The modes are also relatively the same with the core important modes split between regular play and hardcore. A new addition which I thought really stood out was War, a fully objective focused game type. Players take turns attacking and defending various multi-stage situations. It's a three tiered scenario as players attempt to either defend/attack positions, blow things up or guide tanks along a path. I felt that this was a strong change in the game and while limited a great new way to enjoy Call of Duty. For the most part I found the multiplayer to be well balanced, I did feel that snipers could be slightly less snappy (to zoom-in/aim) since they're so effective at taking out players.
You'll get to experience two zombie maps, one is a quick small level to get an idea of things and the other is a large cooperative focused level which is the traditional style. Things are well formed here as this is probably the best and most accessible takes on the mode yet. It helps in guiding players in completing the story based content if they so choose and there are multiple stories based on skill present here. Everything has been refined such as armor replacing Juggernaut for extra protection. This can be bought at any time and that sort of change is also seen in perks. These perks now just grant abilities with a label of what benefits they provide. The level itself is really well developed, a lovely large town with perfect lane flow. It's mostly open with some smaller sections that could be dangerous, but there's a nice fine balance there. There are tons of weapons to buy, mystery boxes to use and some gruesome zombies. They've really outdone themselves with the style of these creatures and the way they slumber along.
Call of Duty: WWII is gorgeous, it's just a beautiful and well developed authentic experience. Each part of the game is simply stunning with a deep level of detail. The rubble is thick, buildings can be dynamically damaged and it's full of smaller details that help make the atmosphere feel authentic to the era. The character models are incredible, the guns look fantastic and this whole time in history is well captured. It's a smooth experience, movement is fluid and it feels almost nostalgic. I will note that there were some issues with the game's servers at launch for multiplayer which made it hard to play online, but that was fixed after the first day.
Call of Duty: WWII is an excellent return to form for the franchise and this era really is captured perfectly. The campaign provides a rather intense story across a number of locations from the war. It could have used some more focus and had a concise point towards the ending, but it was still a very memorable time. The settings it provided from the dirty hills to the flowing open snow conflicts were all incredible. The multiplayer is well developed offering tons of things to earn, activities to do and all the core modes that players have come to expect from the series.
The maps are creative, and the addition of War was great. It really is nice to see a larger objective based mode in Call of Duty. The Zombies is fantastic, it's more accessible than ever while still providing a challenging atmosphere. The zombies are gruesome, there are levels to work towards for special items and it's a well refined mode. Call of Duty: WWII provides a stellar package that brings the series back to a place where it really did excel and I appreciate the option to get a modern title based on the era.
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Call of Duty: WWII Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by Activision