I know this is a bit of a late review of a COD game with the attention on Black Ops 4 Beta, but this was a review I wanted to get out. I have to start by saying me and Call of Duty have a bit of a love, hate relationship. Back in the days of Xbox 360 Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2 were two of the greatest games of the period to me. This is most likely due to the fact the genius that is Vince Zampella and the Infinity Ward studio were behind the games, following on from his classic version of Medal of Honour Allied Assault (Medal of Honour quickly went downhill after he stopped working on the franchise for me).
The games that came out between and either side of these titles were made by Treyarch, were very average, and my attention turned back to the Modern Warfare series very quickly after their release. And that is just my problem. Since Infinity Ward stopped working on Call of Duty it just has not been as good. But that does not seem to stop me buying each year’s incarnation…..
Every year I say “last years was ok, but I think I am done” But the hype train starts up. A few friends are like “are you getting COD?” I avoid pre-ordering and then like some sort of addict, release day comes round and I end up buying it – I should probably be ashamed of myself!
I have to say for the release of WWII I am actually impressed. It was a welcome return to “boots on the ground” after Infinite Warfare – to be honest, I am not sure I even consider Infinite Warfare a Call of Duty game, flying round in a spaceship is not Call of Duty for me. Call of Duty is fast paced, adrenaline filled, visceral action. Or that is what I am hoping for. But that is enough about Infinite Warfare.
The campaign is based around Private Red Daniels, and the majority of it around the WW2 years of 1944 – 1945. As you play the part of Pvt. Daniels’ in the story, you progress through Europe from Normandy and through to the showdown in Germany fighting back the Nazi’s. Part of the story is how your squad support you and you use their special skills to support you, as you play a bigger part in supporting the Allied Forces. I like to play every campaign on Veteran difficulty. I find it adds a bit more challenge and longevity to the game and a bit more of a tactical edge. Rather than being able to just run around like John Rambo, which can make the experience quite short-lived. From what I gather on standard difficulty you would probably be looking at 6 hours, on the hardest difficulty veteran, probably 8 – 10 hours.
Having played pretty much every previously released Call of Duty game, there was that feeling of deja vu about it. When I think back to WW2 games released around 10-15 years ago, certain level themes were a given. A D-Day landing level was about as sure as the sun sets to be in a game. And you could bet your bottom dollar at some point you would need to blow up a tank by sneaking up and planting explosives on the back of it, or having to run across a warzone to pick up a rocket launcher and a level where you would run through some trenches and blow up a/some anti air craft guns. Most of these clichés are here. But they have made a welcomed return with modern-day graphics applied to them.
The game plays in its usual silky smooth 60 fps. If you are playing on the Xbox One X or on the PS4 Pro you should see the benefits of HDR with improved clarity and the enhanced lighting and shadows.
In terms of the multiplayer game. There is fun to be had here, and the game is as fiercely competitive as it ever was. “Squading” up with friends is a great way to enjoy what is on offer. Most of the maps are well thought out and provide an enjoyable game. In the main, I found the game pretty refined for an online experience, but there are some issues.
At times you will lace someone in the back and get hit markers and they spin round and seem to kill you in one hit. I have noticed people hiding behind boxes/crates and you can only see your enemy’s head and shoulders, 3, 4 or 5 hits they can sometimes still be standing. It seems in all a bit strange bearing in mind how easy you can get killed – or maybe I am just a bit crap! These issues, I assume are lag related, are not constant but can be frustrating.
Whilst I can stomach the previous grumble, the game can still be really fun if I ever have one burning criticism of the series it would be the Call of Duty community. How parents are letting their children play 18 rated video games is beyond me, and I do not expect to have to listen to some squeaky kid giving it the big ‘un online. This can be rectified by muting them or being in party chat, or you can tell them where to go! But you still have people who play the game, in my view, “not in the spirit of the game” People who will happily sit on a staircase or in a corner with a mine and a shotgun all game or lie down in the corner of the map, I mean, really? – Come on it is a game, bloody play it! I am sure that was not the intention for gameplay when the game was designed.
Anyway enough of my gripes with the community, as you progress through the levels and obtain kills and complete challenges you gain XP for your character, gun and division. The division being a new area for you to gain XP for essentially adds another benefit or perk to your class. Character XP allows your character access to higher levelled guns or equipment and once you reach the top you will like previous games, be able to prestige and start the levelling up process again. Prestiging does have the benefit of opening up rare skins for your favourite weapons. Weapon XP allows you to attach certain attachments to your gun, less recoil, increased reaction, rapid-fire, scope, extended mags etc You will want to open up some of these options quite quickly as the basic guns are often a big disadvantage.
There is now a hub area to obtain challenges, prestige and test guns on a firing range. Picking up and completing these challenges opens up additional XP to level up or titles or equipment to keep you interested in the proceedings. You can also give the firing range a go and test out your weaponry and any adjustments you may have made to them.
In terms of game modes on offer, you will find every mode you would expect from a Call of Duty game. From the straightforward Team Deathmatch and Free for All to the objective-driven modes Headquarters, Domination, Search and Destroy, Hardpoint, Kill Confirmed, and War. If you are feeling as though you have skills, you can also give the ranked play a go.
If Co-Op gameplay is your thing. The Zombies mode is present again. The mode relies on you working with 4 teammates and trying to complement each other with your class choice whilst completing a number of objectives to progress through the game. Sometimes the objective is not clear, so reference to an online Wiki or playing some more experienced players may help. As much as I have bashed the community in this review, there were some pretty helpful people online when I was playing this mode, credit where credit is due.
Make no mistake, this is a good game. I would go as far as saying it is a really good game, and if you are looking for a WW2 first person shooter this will certainly scratch that itch. It has almost relit my passion for Call of Duty (looks like I am back in for this year’s edition!) The nagging problem I have is what I mentioned in the first paragraph. Vince Zampella knows how to make an excellent first person shooter and if you are after an excellent first-person shooter, rather than a wartime first-person shooter, I would plump for Titanfall 2 over this everyday (especially as you can pick it up for around £5.00!), but would happily recommend both to anyone keen on the first person genre.
Beard Score: 8/10
Genre: First-person shooter
Publisher: Bifrost Ent.
Format: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Current price £24.99