Call of Duty has always been a staple in first person shooters since 2003. The title is now strong with multiple editions of sub-franches like Modern Warefare, Black Ops but the crowning achievement and backbone has always been titles based on World War II. The latest, Call of Duty: WWII our first delivered in 4K via the new Xbox One X and that serves to tell the story, deliver the adventure and in a substantially more immersive experience.
Playing this game, is like playing a movie. Played on a great 4K TV with surround sound, this experience puts you on the beach, in the warzone, it makes you feel like you’re there, with the stress of survival as bullets fly overhead. It delivers the painful loss of a fellow soldier as they bleed out next to you. Its brutal in its reality, but so dramatically real, that it leaves with a lasting impression, long after you put down the controller.
Call of Duty:WWII takes the perspective of a young recruit in the U.S. First Infantry Division. Playing through the horrors of D-Day is the beginning as a your squad fights across Europe, and make their way into Germany. While the outcome of the battle is no surprise, its the journey to get there which is the challenging delight of this game.
As you proceed through the campaign, you’ll be presented with a vast lineup of challenges to keep things interesting and this diversity kept the campaign feeling fresh. There’s moments in the game where you man up, throw an injured soldier over your shoulder and get them to safety. Others where you have to drive a jeep through a battlefield or jump on a gun turret and shoot down air raids before being taken out.
Unlike many FPS titles, I never felt the typical grind of simply going through the motions of getting to the real bits, its all good. this is aided by seamlessly blending between gameplay and cut scenes, the days of graphical differences between the two playable and non-playable sections is thankfully over.
While the single player alone could justify the price of admission, its the multiplayer that’ll keep you coming back for more. In multiplayer you have plenty of options. Not only can you play standard Xbox Live online, but thankfully developers Sledgehammer Games have kept local multiplayer and that’s not as common as you think.
Whenever you venture online with a modern FPS, there’s the very quick realisation about your skill level versus the world. Usually you suck. Pretty quick you’ll learn if the game mechanics are supportive enough to enable you to progress. Its the little things like level design, respawn points, weapon loadouts that all determine your ability to get ahead, but its how fast you can adapt to the pace of the gameplay, learn what works, what doesn’t that ultimately positions you in the pecking order. I think COD:WWII actually does a great job of being approachable, but does still ask a lot of you as there’s almost no corners to hide in, so campers, beware.
When you fire up Multiplayer, you can go do some basic training to prepare you for battle, or just press start and get stuck in. You start by selecting from standard and hardcore game modes. Game modes are familiar, Team Deathmatch, War, Domination, Search and Destroy, Kill Confirmed, Gridiron, Free-for-all, Hardpoint and the classic Capture the Flag.
The actual gameplay in multiplayer (either online or locally with friends and bots) is incredibly enjoyable, if not distracting. The environments are distractingly beautiful and I’ve certainly been killed a number of times as I looked around the gorgeous world, delivering in 4K which means you see the detail like never before and man can COD do a sunset.
Don’t get me wrong, the game is not easy, certainly not for beginners. You’ll die a lot, so get used to that, but the key here is that its possible. That means you learn from your deaths and make the necessary changes to your approach. That can mean instead of a simple run and gun approach, you play it a little more tactfully, or you get a better loadout with accessories for your weapons that help stability and accuracy, so you need less bullets to execute a kill, meaning you’ll get more of them and hopefully climb the ranks and to the top of the leaderboard.
New weapons unlock as your XP grows which is a typical game mechanic that keeps you coming back. There’s also kill streak unlocks like the ability to call in airstrikes to help your team. All of these factors come together to make Call of Duty:WWII one of the best multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had.
Nazi Zombies. Yep, the Nazi’s were bad, so you get to slay them in a new Nazi Zombies game mode. Here you’ll face waves of zombies and essentially try to survive. You can try it yourself or go co-op.
While playing this game, the Xbox One X fan was blowing a gale, despite being in a well ventilated cabinet with a large opening at the rear. I’ll be keen to see if anyone else has this issue (if you can call it that). Normally you’ll have the volume turned right up, so its not an issue and to be honest, the heat is better out than in.
When trying local multiplayer with a mate (thanks Ryan), we spent around 15-20 minutes working through the setup. It sounds easy enough, take my Xbox One X to his house, connect to the network (Ethernet), sign in as me, fire up the game, turn on the second controller and add a guest account. Only problem, adding the guest account wouldn’t work, we’d get to a loading screen and eventually give up. Restarting the game didn’t fix it, neither did restarting the console. Eventually we tried signing in the second controller to an Xbox Live account, firing up the game and hey presto,we were both in the Local Play lobby. Not sure who’s to blame here, if its the game, or the Xbox, but this process sucked.
That’s kind of it for the list of issues, this game is full of so much to love, the complaints list is very short, speaking to the maturity of the franchise and the effort made by the developers.
Price and Availability
The game is available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Word of warning, because of the graphic nature of the violence in this game, it received an R18+ rating, which means its off limits to kids. After playing it, I think that’s justified. On more than one occasion, I found myself saying ‘wholy sh*t’ in response to what I just witnessed and experienced.
This game is an absolute accomplishment the developers should be proud of and Microsoft should be incredibly happy they have to sell the 4K graphics of the Xbox One X console. The visuals combined with great audio, mean you feel like you’re in the battlefield like never before. That sounds like a line from a marketing brochure, but ultimately its true this time, in this game, on this console. Its a combination of great story telling and great visuals that integrate you from a first-person perspective, that really brings you in.
The game is something I absolutely recommend you get right now (if you’re over 18), well worth the price tag. If it gets close to Christmas and you know a friend with an Xbox One X that doesn’t have it, they’ll love you forever if they find this under the tree.