My Call of Duty playtime has been in decline since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I think I have purchased every Call of Duty since 4 but I tend to only play the campaign these days. The last Call of Duty multiplayer I played for an extended period of time is Black Ops 3, where I played around 20 hours. I’ve just moved on to other things. The games don’t keep me interested anymore, except the campaign. I usually enjoy the Call of Duty campaigns because they are just fun, dumb action shooters. Call of Duty: WWII misses the mark.
This review is specifically for the campaign.
Normally I include a “world” portion of a review, but it doesn’t feel necessary of this game.
TL,DR at the bottom.
I feel like Sledgehammer Games were trying to tell a grounded story focused on specific people and their story. And they did. The story they told just wasn’t interesting or inspiring. It was a chore just to finish the game.
The ending was awkward and unfulfilling. The problem with the ending is that I never cared about the characters. The game just doesn’t do anything to make us interested in the story it’s telling us. We move from point a to point b and shoot some people between those points.
I feel like the issue is the writing. The characters and the dialogue are awkward and disjointed. There is no real character development. Nor is there a protagonist. The major protagonist in the game is part of your team and he isn’t even a protagonist, he’s just a guy who is misunderstood.
I feel like there’s some allusion to a possibility of a traitor in your midst that just doesn’t work. One part of your team accuses another team member of knowing things he shouldn’t and it comes across as generic and overused.
I never believed in the relationships of these characters and considering the game is about only about 5 people, it was hard to actually care about the story overall. Even for a Call of Duty, this game’s story is a detriment, rather than a necessary inclusion.
Great actors do not necessarily make a great movie, nor do they necessarily make a great game.
As per usual, gameplay is king with Call of Duty. The guns feel great and the movement feels fluid. I didn’t feel a major difference between the guns, except for some shotguns and sniper rifles. Otherwise, I didn’t have a favorite gun or something that I had to use compared to other options. Sure the Kar98k was fun to use, but it couldn’t be used in all situations.
The shooting felt good and was fun to mindlessly shoot random enemies, even if I couldn’t tell if I was using an MG42 or MP40. The minor recoil differences didn’t do enough to distinguish between weapons. To me, a weapon either had a scope or sight and that’s how I differentiate between them. Of course, shotguns exist but they were vastly underpowered compared to anything else, so they were obsolete.
The vehicle gameplay did not work for me. I dreaded any time I had to use a vehicle because the controls were awkward and clunky. I think the intention was to break up the gameplay and provide some diversity and it did that, poorly. The vehicles just weren’t fun.
The heroic actions attempted to serve the same purpose and it failed as well. I found it annoying trying to save random people or hit the right shots at the right time. Those heroic actions slowed the game down and were completely un-Call of Duty. When I’m playing COD I want to have fast, fun gameplay and those heroic actions were the complete opposite. Definitely a miss.
The game looks amazing. Although the lightning was a bit odd when during normal gameplay, it is a small problem that I have with an overall beautiful game.
Your squad and other characters who are fully voiced by actors look incredible and add to aesthetic of the game.
On the flip side, most enemies looked the same — except for minor exceptions in officers uniforms — and they very well could have been the same. I think there was some variation in uniforms but that was about it.
The trees, the water, the snow, and everything in between looked fantastic and the game felt real because of it. The realistic graphics are a close second, and maybe even better than, the gameplay considering the gameplay in this game is weaker than previous Call of Duty games.
I can’t say enough about the cutscenes. The characters and the backgrounds felt like a movie. I was sometimes caught off guard and thought I was watching a movie. I’m not joking about that. When the characters had their back to you, I would have believed I seeing this moment in reality.
And then we went from movie to gameplay and I was jarred back into reality. As I said before the game looks amazing, but when you go from hyper-realism and then to the game, the lighting differences break the immersion. You can clearly tell when the game goes from cutscene to gameplay. The lightning and the color change so drastically there is never a question of when a movie ends and when gameplay begins.
Again, both the game and the movies look really good, but the contrast between them is a bit immersion breaking when the transitions happen.
The sound is forgettable. I can’t think of any occasions where the music or the sound stood out in a positive way. There’s one scene the music doesn’t fit the attempted mood, but that’s about it.
I’ve come to appreciate music and sound more and more in games so when those two things don’t contribute anything positive to the overall experience it’s a bit disappointing.
Again with the guns. I feel like they used the same sound for each gun. Yeah sure, sniper rifles and shotguns felt a little bit different but overall they sounded similar enough so that I was unable to differentiate.
I can’t recall any cool pew pews or any awesome music that deserves a shout out. I feel like the sound is just there because it’s pretty much required for a complete game.
As I mentioned earlier, the game feels like a chore and really doesn’t do anything inspiring or interesting enough to warrant a playthrough. Just watch Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan if you want your World War 2 fix as they both present actually enjoyable experiences.
On a more positive note, I need to finish two more games before I can buy any more games. Yes, I’m going to cheat and playing something short. I’m thinking Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. That game has to be better than this Call of Duty.