When Call of Duty: WWII was announced, the phrase "going back to its roots" came up a lot whenever the game was presented. The last Call of Duty game set in World War II was 2008's World at War and since then different approaches have been attempted to keep this annual franchise fresh.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III is where I lost interest, as the narrative went all over the place. When I heard that Call of Duty: WWII would have Sledgehammer Games bringing players back to one of the most horrible points in history, my curiosity spiked. In my time with it, there were a few things that stood out for better or worse.
Campaign Bringing Back Health Packs
Out of the three selections that stared at me from Call of Duty: WWII's main menu, the campaign was my first choice, and was thrilled to discover the return of health packs. Weird, I know.
See, in previous installments, Call of Duty made use of regenerative health which triggers whenever you manage to last a few seconds without getting hit. Peeping out just a little, to see where the fire is coming from and take cover to recover any lost health in a few seconds was something that became a key tactic for me.
Now if you are low in health, you feel the pressure to take cover and plan your moves carefully. Pop a medkit by pressing the right directional. if you don't have any, take smart shots to advance and find that sweet medkit found on the map. While some may prefer regenerative health, scrapping it for the campaign was a wise choice. I also found myself giving more attention to the details of each environment, even if I really was just looking for more medkits.
Loot Crates Are Dropping From The Sky
Ah, the controversial loot box system. Call of Duty: WWII has them in multiplayer, and while I've no issue so long as their contents remain cosmetic, Call of Duty's loot box is typical. The skins for each division and the weapons available are great. But everything else like the calling cards for your profile to the gun grip designs is fodder. Calling cards are designs you can place on your profile and will pop every time you get a kill or a play of the game. Then, you have grip designs for your gun. I have no idea why these exist since I never see them, because my character's hand is covering my epic grip design. The only time you see them is when you preview your weapon. Great.
As of this writing, microtransactions are now active and COD points, the in-game currency for Call of Duty: WWII, can be purchased and used to buy supply crates. In my experience with the game so far, you don't really need to spend a dime since there are enough supply crates earned through the daily and weekly orders (challenges). You sometimes get some through leveling too. I picked up a good amount of weapon skins and division skins by simply playing, and if luck isn't on your side, they have a collection system that if you complete one, you will unlock a weapon skin. So far timed experience boosters are the only advantage you get from these loot crates but it is not exclusive since challenges sometimes reward you these boosters.
Nazi Zombies Is The Real Mystery
Maybe I've been out of the loop with Call of Duty's Zombies mode but the map available in Call of Duty: WWII called The Final Reich has objectives to progress through the map, opening up new areas. The story for it is out of this world with Sledgehammer Games having the most fun creatively. Each run, be it solo or with random players, has me tackling it differently, learning something new about the map. I have not finished it yet and I refuse to look it up. I enjoy the mystery. Figuring out how to open the bunker entrance, assembling the Tesla gun, wondering what I could do with this head I found during one of my runs. fighting a horde of Nazi zombies is secondary, reaching the end by doing all objectives is where the real fun is at.
Just like past Call of Duty games with Zombies, the base game comes with only one map. The replayability is strong but one more map would have been perfect since there are a full progression and loadout system just for this mode. It even has its own zombie loot crates that I have yet to experience if it has anything good inside.
You Could Be Forever Alone in Headquarters
This feature is a welcome addition. Headquarters is a social hub that players enter once you opt to play competitive multiplayer. Players can interact with each other, pick up contracts and orders before they join a match, check out a few guns in the shooting range, prestige their weapon or their account, play a few mini-games, and even compete against a player in their training course. The problem is, I have yet to find someone in this social hub. I'm alone, all the time. Sure, it could be a connection issue on my end but reports like this one from Kotaku suggests I'm not the only one missing out. There's a separate progression system for Headquarters and I've yet to see what I'll earn from interacting with other players.
Multiplayer Game Modes - Team Deathmatch Still The Favorite
I'm more of an objective-based player. I prefer reaching a goal instead of worrying if my kill count is higher than my deaths. If there's one thing that was always consistent with Call of Duty, it's that Team Deathmatch is where most of the players are at. I was hoping things would change with their new mode called War but almost all the modes from Domination to Capture the Flag have long wait times compared to me instantly joining a game the moment I choose Team Deathmatch. It might be because I live in Southeast Asia but it's still a shame since I would like to run some Hardpoint every now and then to change things up.
So far, I'm having a blast with Call of Duty: WWII. The campaign is ramping up to have a good set of characters with a narrative to get invested in and the multiplayer is just as addicting as previous titles. Plus you have zombies that I will finish one day.
Call of Duty: WWII launched last November 3rd and is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.