Call of Duty: WWII preview – Back to where it began
The Call of Duty franchise certainly takes us on a journey through history. It all started out 14 years ago with a World War II-themed game, but quickly it started to venture further along the timeline, ultimately showing us its own version of the future in last year’s Infinite Warfare.
After the latter’s lukewarm reception at best, Activision and developer Sledgehammer have clearly decided to take another look at the franchise and find a way to reinvigorate it.
Call of Duty: WWII is the fruit of this brainstorming, and from all we’ve seen so far, it might be a really interesting and entertaining soft reboot.
Let’s see what lies in store for us.
CoD: WWII singleplayer campaign
While the main draw of Call of Duty franchise lies square in the multiplayer segment, Activision never fails to provide a singleplayer experience for those who dislike multiplayer or simply want to get used to the game’s weapons before jumping into competitive modes. The point is: Call of Duty: WWII has a story campaign, and it’s going to have more personality and probably sense than its spiritual ancestor had 14 years ago.
Not in Texas anymore
The protagonist of CoD:WWII is Ronald “Red” Daniels, a fresh-faced private from Texas, who became a part of the 1st Infantry Division in 1944. The division made several appearances throughout the franchise, and with good reason: it has a long and distinguished history going back to 1917.
Alongside squad leader Joseph Turner, sort of hardcore Sergeant William Pierson, and Red’s friend Robert Zussman, Daniels will see a good portion of the European theatre of war, following the lines of the American engagement in the conflict on that front.
Among the few bits about the story revealed so far we know there will be some ongoing drama between squad members, revolving mostly about the soldier’s duty and doing what’s right, there will be an infiltration mission. Overall we shouldn’t expect something other than what we’d expect from a high budget, character-driven war movie with a decent share of respect for the period and people who died in and survived it.
Yes, it might well be a conceptual remake, but one that is apparently going the extra mile to deliver much more than the original.
CoD:WWII War mode
The new Call of Duty will bring with it the usual batch of multiplayer mode everyone is already familiar with. We will get Capture the Flag, Domination, Team Deathmatch, Free for All, you know, the usual modes we’re getting in every shooter that isn’t Titanfall. But there is one mode standing out from the crowd, and it may really be a ton of fun to play.
It is called War, and you’ve probably deduced from the header, and it apparently aims for the same crowd that Battlefield 1’s Operations mode did.
The best description for the War mode is this: a narrative-driven, multi-stage sequence of differing objectives within a single operation. The objectives can be something like an attack-defend pattern, or it could be a payload defence, where the payload is a tank, for instance. In the one map revealed so far defending a strategically important area lets the defenders build a bridge.
Call of Duty really likes its cooperative vs zombies modes. We had noir zombies, disco zombies, but Call of Duty: WWII taps into the popcultural theme of Nazis having any luck with all the occult stuff they were rumoured to dabble in. So we have horrifying experiments, mad scientists, and shambling animated corpses… It sort of reminds one of Bloodrayne, although that’s a reference possibly lost on many of the younger gamers out there.
Slower and more dangerous
Although we got used to a very fast pace of CoD proceedings, with high mobility, twitch shooting and all that, WWII ditches that approach. Instead we’re going to get a slower, more measured pace, to better depict the period. After all there were no fancy exoskeletons and jetpacks during World War II. It may be somewhat jarring to parts of the playerbase, but slowing down your soldiers is an, pardon the pun, interesting change of pace.
Another change, this time applying only to the singleplayer campaign, is getting rid of regenerating health. Yes, the story campaign of CoD: WWII brings back the good old medkits. It is in line with the developers saying they will try to take a more serious approach. That also includes tackling war crimes of the time. We’ll see how it all pans out.
Activision and Sledgehammer certainly paint a very interesting and promising return to the roots with CoD:WWII. A more serious tone, abandoning the futuristic settings, limited movement. While it remains to be seen whether it reinvigorates the franchise, especially after divisive Infinite Warfare, it’s certainly worth paying attention to the game leading up to and post-launch.
Call of Duty: WWII release date comes on November 3 this year, leaving just under two weeks to get your preorder if you want one.