call of duty: world war II

Is COD win­ning the bat­tle, or the War?

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Stephen Ashby

Pub­lisher Ac­tivi­sion De­vel­oper Sledge­ham­mer Games For­mat xbox One ETA 3 Novem­ber 2017 Bul­lets fizz past above your head and you hear the shouts of your squad in your ears. Bombs scream from the sky, kick­ing up dirt, and blood flies through the air. Your boots, as Ac­tivi­sion keeps say­ing, are firmly on the ground. It’s hell on Earth, but by god does it feel like Call Of Duty.

It’s been a while since we came away from a COD mul­ti­player match with a huge smile on our faces. In­fi­nite War­fare, with its mad su­per­sol­diery and crazy ac­ro­bat­ics was fun for a while, but it quickly be­came ap­par­ent that some­where among all the jet­packs and laser ri­fles, the minute-to-minute game­play had lost some of its soul.

Which is why were sur­prised to find our­selves grin­ning so much af­ter a hands-on ses­sion with COD: WWII at E3. We played three game modes – Team Death­match, Do­min­ion, and a new mode that bears the in­ven­tive name of War.

The big­gest com­pli­ment we can give to the game is that it felt more like COD 4 than any of the re­cent in­stal­ments – for those haven’t played the best COD game in mul­ti­player game, that’s a very good thing. The pace is slower (prob­a­bly be­cause of the lack of ro­botic ex­oskele­tons) but that doesn’t mean the game is slow. This is still COD, af­ter all.

War is a multi-ob­jec­tive af­fair, sim­i­lar to Star Wars Bat­tle­front’s Walker As­sault mode. We played as the at­tack­ing team, first cap­tur­ing a tac­ti­cal point, build­ing a bridge and aim­ing a bomb. The fi­nal push is an Over­watch- style es­cort sec­tion where a tank would only move when mem­bers of the at­tack­ing team were nearby, and against all rea­son­ing would move back­wards if they weren’t. Which­ever US gen­eral de­cided on that tac­tic needs a good talk­ing to.

It was fran­tic, ter­ri­fy­ing fun, with bul­lets fly­ing in ev­ery di­rec­tion and an in­cred­i­ble at­mos­phere. We won (natch) but it’s pos­si­ble that it was be­cause we were play­ing against a num­ber of other tired jour­nal­ists, rather than freak­ish 13-year-olds, scream­ing abuse into our head­sets. At the end of the match we got to watch the best play of the game (yes, we know), which gave a ‘bronze star’ to the player who pulled it off.

Weapon of choice

The weapons were as meaty as you would ex­pect – our sin­gle-shot start­ing ri­fle was quickly re­placed by a Tommy Gun (or a Thomp­son sub­ma­chine gun to those that aren’t 1930s mob­sters), which was fit­ted with a sup­pres­sor for a stealth­ier ap­proach. We also tried a shot­gun, which was ap­pro­pri­ately sonorous, for close-quar­ters com­bat. The slow­er­fir­ing weapons made each shot more im­por­tant, and made us think be­fore we pulled the trig­ger – which we liked. Mo­ment-to-mo­ment com­bat felt more de­lib­er­ate, more cal­cu­lated.

The maps help to keep the pace up, though. They’re well-de­signed and keep you mov­ing, but aren’t in­sanely fast. There’s rise and fall; it gen­er­ally feels great.

If there’s one com­plaint we have, it’s that, while the maps them­selves look very real, they’re a lit­tle bit dreary. Okay, we ob­vi­ously get that the Sec­ond World War wasn’t full of bright blue skies, golden beaches and rain­bows, but the browns and greys are the only thing that we don’t miss from last-gen shoot­ers. But hey, if that’s the only com­plaint we have, we can live with it. We’re still smil­ing, by the way.

“It was fran­tic, ter­ri­fy­ing fun, with bul­lets fly­ing in ev­ery di­rec­tion”

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