If we were to look only at the sales data we could easily compare Call of Duty to an unstoppable car, one of those cars so perfect that it always crossed the finish line first, despite hitches and road accidents. In the year of greatest decline for the brand, with a chapter not particularly popular with the public and with a launch trailer that set the absolute record for dislike on Youtube at the time, Call of Duty still managed to establish itself on the market, perhaps losing ground against Battlefield 1 but staying firmly anchored on the throne. Already three years ago, however, the Activision leaders had very clear that the public was becoming disaffected with the brand, bored more than by the gameplay, by a futuristic setting that now had very little else to say and to offer. The Exo suits had taken the rhythms and movements to an exaggerated level and players bounced like crazy pinball balls in the small multiplayer maps, making games difficult to read and extremely chaotic. Sledgehammer was therefore proposed to start from scratch, to return to a type of reasoned gameplay that had its roots in a system that is perhaps more linear but at the same time more technical, less based on reflexes. The solution chosen to face this radical change was to take a step back and return to that second world war that had been missing from the scene for too long now. This year, among other things, very little has been said about the Call of Duty campaign and its extra content, leaving it to the multiplayer to absorb all the attention during the events and the public betas. A few weeks ago, however, we flew to London to sink our teeth into the complete package and today we return to you with the final verdict for production. Will the trust placed in Sledgehammer have paid off?
World War II is certainly not an easy topic to deal with. Many other games, well before Call of Duty: WWII, have tried to tell the impressive clashes that took place in Europe between 1939 and 1945, narrating the deeds of the soldiers and bringing to the screen some of the bloodiest battles that humanity remembers. If we add to this a huge amount of books and films based on the subject, it is not difficult to understand how events have already been stripped of many times across many types of media, making it difficult to talk about something new or tell it in a different way. Sledgehammer therefore decided to take the bull by the horns and play it safe without risking anything, putting on the plate a well-written war story full of memorable situations but built on tracks already traveled many times. In short, an unprecedented reading of the conflict is missing and what you will face once the single player campaign has started will be one of those intense stories without unexpected twists, a tribute to the heroism of the allied soldiers with a magnifying glass pointed. obviously on the American army and on a vision that places them on the pedestal as saviors of a Europe, in the grip of Nazi Germany. Call of Duty: WWII is in short an extremely patriotic game and from the very first moments it will make you understand what kind of experience you are going to live in the approximately six / seven hours of campaign.
You take on the role of Private Ronald "Red" Daniels, a member of the US XNUMXst Infantry Division and ready to give his life to save the ideals he believes in. And what better theater than the Normandy landings to start off on the right foot? This new chapter certainly wastes no time in useless chatter or preamble and in a few moments we find ourselves involved in one of the most important conflicts of the Second World War. Crushed like sardines on landing ships, the atmosphere you breathe is made of tension and fear, cloaked by a sound and a technical sector that manage to do a truly excellent job this year. The hiss of bullets bouncing off the metal shells of boats, fellow soldiers falling like flies in front of our eyes, the water turning red as we try to figure out what to do are perhaps redundant images in our memory but brought back to life in impeccable manner. We move with the whole division in unison, seeking shelter while the explosions decimate our companions, we approach the bunkers and we immediately realize that this Call of Duty, from the emotional side, has hit the mark. He may not be telling a new story but he is certainly drawing it in a credible and realistic way, leaving nothing to chance. It is obviously just the beginning of a campaign that will then extend, accompanying us first on French soil and then in the heart of Germany, but makes clear all the intentions of the production. When the time comes to take up the shotgun, attention and adrenaline don't drop, despite the fact that the feeling of the guns is extremely recognizable and well aligned with the canons of the series. There are other details that strike the player's attention and like a bolt from the blue come some important changes in the structure of the gameplay that dramatically amplify the need to stay with your platoon. The automatic regeneration of life has been completely removed, this time replaced by a system of medkits obtainable by rummaging through the game maps or to request from teammates in times of extreme need.
Once injured you can in fact approach one of your companions and ask urgently to throw the bandages and in the same way you can request extra ammunition and grenades, until you get to highlight the enemies through special binoculars or request the launch of smoke bombs to bomb an area assaulted by enemies as if it were a normal score streak, but based on a cooldown system rather than on scores. It's a mechanic that works well and finally makes you feel part of a unit, especially if you want to play at higher difficulty levels. Of course, you will always be that fearless soldier who manages to defeat an army on his own thanks to your infallible skills as a sniper, pilot, machine gunner or who knows what else, but finally there are interesting steps in a direction rarely faced by other shooters. We thus find ourselves moving tortuously in a chameleon-like countryside, capable of changing its appearance at each new checkpoint. There are still some classic corridor sections of Call of Duty where the narration becomes more intense before leading to the usual shootings in more open areas but there are continuous changes of pace, passing from driving a jeep to chasing a supply truck , until you have to manage a tank attack or fly through the skies of Germany colliding with a whole flock of Lutwaffe planes. In the midst of all this Call of Duty: WWII puts us in the usual cinematic spectacle of which he is a master, managing to vary the experience sufficiently thanks to well-managed stealth sections (much better structured than the sections with the dog seen on Ghost ) and instilling in the player the desire to continue mission after mission, exalting him and managing to never get bored. Unfortunately it's not just roses and flowers e the most out of tune note of the melody must once again be assigned to the artificial intelligence that tries desperately to seem intelligent approaching and proposing encirclement tactics or hit and run attacks but then losing himself completely when you get into hand-to-hand combat, sometimes even ignoring the player even if he starts to fire constantly. The problem probably stems from Sledgehammer's willingness to create skirmishes between two rather numerous fronts, a skein that artificial intelligence cannot unravel properly. Unfortunately we must also report some noticeable drop in frame rate on Playstation Pro, probably due to a less than perfect optimization.
Statistics on the Call of Duty campaign tell us that only about 15% of players complete it: an important signal that outlines, in case it was still needed, of how COD is still synonymous with Multiplayer. This year, however, the way of playing is changed heavily and we return to having cleaner lines of fire, fewer engagement options and greater possibilities of predicting the positions of the enemy. So you stop running madly with your nose up hoping to see someone clinging to the walls or during a double jump and go back to monitoring the ground in search of possible enemies lurking. It is an "evolution" of the gameplay compared to previous years because it substantially changes the way of playing we are now accustomed to, but at the same time it is a decisive step back in terms of dynamism and frenzy. Let's get it right: COD still remains that arcade shooter based on reflexes, frenetic respawn and non-stop gameplay, only this year it does so by taking your foot off the accelerator and returning to less exasperated rhythms. We could say that the appreciation of this type of game depends on the tastes, but we can actually say that it is much more enjoyable to play than the last iterations, with cleaner and better looking games, clearer tactical schemes and a skill aim which is now rewarded even more than before. Running slides also disappear, but obviously not dropshots, and snipers and low-rate weapons are now more easily manageable thanks to the greater slowness of the soldiers.
These are obviously the changes at the heart of the gameplay pad in hand, but there are not a few news in terms of content either. The first found this year is the headquarters, a sort of huge HUB where players can show off their clothing and equipment, a bit as if they were on the Destiny tower. You can also take the daily missions, participate in some mini-games, try the score streaks or compete in 1vs1, a good way to pass the time between games but nothing that obviously makes you cry a miracle. Instead, the players' favorite playlists are back practically unchanged, as well as the modes: there are Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed and Dominion and there is also Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy and Location. The more caciarone modes such as Gun Game or Infected have been lost, and in place of Uplink, Football appears, whose mechanics are essentially the same. ". However, War mode and the three maps present are balancing some of the absences. at launch, able to offer a unique experience based on the collaboration of team members rather than on simple personal skill. In War, two fronts will face each other in a checkpoint game for supremacy, alternating attack and defense to decide the winner. We will not dwell too much on this mode since you can already find an exhaustive article with the explanation of each single map, just know that it is an extremely successful mode and that offers not only a lot of fun but also that essential variety to give heterogeneous experiences. War could soon become one of the favorite modes of the more casual players given the absence of statistics related to the kill / death ratio, but our hope is to see competitive teams also try their hand at these maps, bringing COD into a territory previously unexplored. , and we can only promote it with flying colors. Granite and guaranteed sixty frames per second in each mode and the visual impact is also good, lower than that offered by the campaign but clean and functional for multiplayer battles. One could possibly complain about an outdated animation sector, the only really subdued piece for a sector that returns instead renewed in an intelligent and successful way. The news of this year does not end there, and the divisions that players will have to join before making their first game also appear.
Divisions basically play the role of classes and level up with experience gained in the match. Rather than having special abilities or super powerful weapons, they only offer passive bonuses as you level up. For example, the infantry division provides you with a bayonet to attach rifles (to be used exactly as in Battlefield 1) or extra magazines while for paratroopers there will be an increased speed in the sprint and silencers for SMGs or even greater resistance to explosions and to fire for the heavy division and so on for a total of four specific perks for each of the five divisions. The score streaks, modified in appearance, also return, but with a functionality very similar to those seen in the past with detector drones, bombings and air support, functional and never excessively unbalanced. The issue of micro transactions, always very delicate in these cases, did not seem particularly problematic to us. As always, you can get cosmetic changes, new skins for both the character and the weapons and the usual changes for the player tags through the crates to be opened in the headquarters, but nothing that can actively affect the gameplay, except the cards for zombie mode.
This is in fact the element that most perplexes us because if it is true that on the one hand the objects that you will find in the zombie crates can offer you active advantages on the games in this mode, it is also true that we are not talking about a competitive system where the players are pitted against each other and so finding someone equipped with these packs might even come in handy. Also in this case the cards and all the objects can be easily obtained simply by playing and offer discounts on mystery boxes for example or on the activation of traps. Closed the parenthesis of micro transactions, on which really for now there is not much more to say, we come to the most interesting part of this Nazi Zombies mode obviously enclosed all in history. Four art experts find themselves in Mittlesbrug, Germany, in an attempt to recover some works of art in possession of the Axis. The cast enlisted to play our heroes consisting of David Tennant (Doctor Who, Jessica Jones), Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), Elodie Yung (Marvel's Daredevil), and Ving Rhames (the Green Mile) is as usual superlative and represents value added of absolute value.
Each of the four characters can bind to one of the four available classes, each of which, in addition to passive bonuses of various kinds, offers an ultra to be activated in the most dangerous situations. Although the intro suggests that we are faced with a revised and more guided zombie mode, things soon fall within the canons of the series with our engaged in the search for credits to open gates, solve environmental puzzles and buy the most disparate weapons to to massacre with ease the zombies, more and more aggressive and faster. Among the novelties we find some special powers that can be activated with the dpad and linked to the consumable cards and the micro transactions we were talking about before and four passive bonuses to be purchased in the game that make survival a little easier. The objectives to be achieved and the main activities to be carried out are also better indicated, thus avoiding making new players feel too lost. In short, the experience offered is in line with that of other years and although the atmosphere is even darker than usual, to push the player to continue to remain glued to this mode is the desire to improve their score and get the most far as possible, a continuous cycle successfully repeated in all the latest iterations and which returns, once again, as one of the cornerstones of production. The few changes to the gameplay in this case do not affect or particularly affect the general performance for a mode that will accompany us throughout the course of 2018 thanks to the usual series of DLCs already provided.
Call of Duty: WWII does everything a COD needs to do, and it does it well. The campaign manages to entertain for an overall sufficient duration with an always high pace and is equipped with such a high variety of situations and things to do that allows us to turn a blind eye to the small technical imperfections and problems of artificial intelligence. Multiplayer is solid, fast and fun, streamlined from the weights of double jumps and wallruns seen in recent years and now back to simpler but effective schemes and mechanics. In short, we have a Call of Duty on our hands that frees itself from unnecessary frills and returns to propose substance without overdoing it. The setting and the atmosphere are successful, even for the zombie mode and fans of the series can only be happy with the work done by Sledgehammer. It is not yet the perfect Call of Duty but it is a good turning point for the brand: try to trust it and you will not be disappointed.
- Cinematic and spectacular
- He manages to get rid of unnecessary frills
- Well-structured War Mode
- Rich in content
- Animations and AI far from perfect
- No particularly original flickers