Call of Duty: WWII

Where we’re go­ing, we don’t need re­coil, ex­plains

Hyper - - PRE­VIEW - Nathan Lawrence

Af­ter years of blaz­ing fur­ther into the fu­ture, Call of Duty has fi­nally re­turned to its World War II roots. It’s a bold step, for sure, even if there’s been a vo­cal per­cent­age of the fan base call­ing for this kind of move for years. In fair­ness, CoD is on a three-year devel­op­ment cy­cle, which means, like an air­craft car­rier, it’s not so easy to turn around.

On one hand, a vi­able re­sponse to fu­ture fa­tigue, the promise of grounded weaponry, and a re­turn to squad-based bat­tling are all strong pros to justify the re­turn to CoD’s roots. On the other, the es­capa­bil­ity born of the sci-fi gad­getry of to­mor­row’s fic­tional bat­tle­fields has been left back in the fu­ture. Con­sid­er­ing Call of Duty has al­ways been (and con­tin­ues to be in WWII) a high-lethal­ity shooter, the lack of es­capa­bil­ity may prove to be the most controversial ex­clu­sion of the fran­chise’s time warp.

As far as I’m con­cerned, it’s a wor­thy sac­ri­fice, and there’s no need to hold X to pay re­spects. The in­creas­ing em­pha­sis on ad­vanced move­ment, most no­tably in CoD’s re­cent mul­ti­player out­ings, was nec­es­sary be­cause of the high­tech fire-and-forget weapons that were also part and par­cel of the fu­tur­is­tic set­ting.

But Call of Duty: WWII doesn’t have this is­sue, care of the fa­mil­iar set­ting. There’s no con­fu­sion with weapons, for starters. Shot­guns, pis­tols, ri­fles, LMGs, SMGs and ma­chine guns aren’t off­set by fu­tur­is­tic pew-pews whose names and func­tion have lit­tle mean­ing at first glance, sound, or even af­ter lim­ited use. It helps that the sound de­sign in WWII is spot-on to the point that it may even ri­val DICE’s award-win­ning sound­scapes.

It’s also great that the boom­ing weapon shots are com­ple­mented by weapons that play to their ranges. For the most part. Re­coil is still too deep in­side for­giv­ing ter­ri­tory for my tastes, but I ap­pre­ci­ate that a shot­gun is only deadly at point­blank ranges. I ap­pre­ci­ate that sniper ri­fles are deadly at range. And I re­spect that LMGs are just as ef­fec­tive at sup­press­ing mid-range foes as they are at evis­cer­at­ing bunched-up bad­dies.

The reg­u­lar team death­match mode feels more rem­i­nis­cent of World at War than it does of any re­cent fu­tur­is­tic en­try, and that’s a feather in CoD’s cap. Where Call of Duty: WWII starts to flex a bit more is in its of­fence/de­fence ob­jec­tive­based War mode. Not only does it in­cen­tivise and re­ward the av­er­age lone-wolf CoD player to play the ob­jec­tive (there’s no list­ing of kills or deaths on the score­board), it con­cen­trates fight­ing around fo­cused points of in­ter­est.

This leads to in­tense gun bat­tles, flank­ing ma­noeu­vres, and by-de­sign re­quire­ments to have faith in your team­mates to cover po­ten­tially ex­posed an­gles that you can­not. CoD’s fast pace and faster respawn­ing is right at home in War mode, be­cause it means dy­ing is only a tem­po­rary set­back, and throw­ing your­self at the ob­jec­tive for a last-minute steal is both vi­able and sat­is­fy­ing.

This pace also helps mask what might oth­er­wise feel like a com­par­a­tively low player count, de­spite the small­ish maps. It’s been a long time since I was gen­uinely ex­cited for a CoD game, espe­cially in terms of its mul­ti­player, but my time with Call of Duty: WWII com­bat­booted me right in the nos­tal­gic feels. Con­sider me en­listed to try more.

Call of Duty takes us back to the good old days of war where death was mean­ing­less.

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