Call of Duty: WWII
Where we’re going, we don’t need recoil, explains
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.