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Call of Duty: WWII Review

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Let us just address the elephant in the room, maybe even two. The Call of Duty series might have been the best back in its day but slowly it has been pushed off the podium by other great FPS franchises. Last year's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was one of the worst released in the series and not only did it move the series too far into the future, it was just a lacklustre experience from start to finish. As for the second elephant, if you think that Call of Duty: WWII is a copy and paste job in any way then please stop reading this review and go back to whatever you think they copied. 

Call of Duty: WWII is one of the best and most fresh games in the series and it took me back to the days of Call of Duty 2 when my dad and I used to fight over how bad he was at the game. My father is all about World War and he gave up hope when COD moved to Star Wars so even for him, this return was exciting. World War II means that Activision and Sledgehammer games could go back to the drawing board and deliver three exciting packages in one game. Call of Duty: WWII has a superb single-player story that spans across 10 missions. The multiplayer is a slower and more focused experience, and the Nazi Zombies is yet another testament to COD's fame with its zombie survival mode.

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Single Player

It has been a long time since COD was based on historical events and the opening of the single-player campaign was proof that they should have never given up what they do best. The story follows a group of American mercenaries who are directly involved in the invasion and liberation of Europe. During the chapter-based story, I went from sneaking through the streets of London to flying a fighter plane through the skies above Hurtgen Forest. All these battles are in some way relatable to real events that took place during World War II and the pace of these missions was enough to keep me going mission after mission. 

If anything, the campaign manages to stand out on its own thanks to its great writing and lack of reliance on any other modes in the game. As you are a squad you play as a squad too and each of your platoon members helps you throughout the game. Some of them have specific abilities that you can activate in the game by pressing a button on the D-Pad. Zussman, for example, can toss you a med-pack when you are low on health, Pierson can spot enemies in the distance and cause them to glow, and Turner can give you a bag of grenades when you are low. These can only be used when you have filled up a specific bar, and come in handy when you need them the most. 

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The pace of the game is great and a few features make it feel like an old-school COD game. The return of the health bar forces you to be on edge and focusing on finding med-packs at all times, and the ability to only carry two guns keeps you wise during the experience too. The story takes you to beautiful places to do the most unspeakable things. One of the best missions was when I took over the role of French Resistance leader Rousseau as she infiltrated a German headquarters disguised as a Nazi to help take down the opposing forces from within. The mission saw me sneaking through the streets and silently killing enemies to avoid being caught.

Another mission was a tank battle in the middle of a ruined city as I rolled around blowing enemies up and other tanks too. The variety on offer in COD: WWII is its shining star here and never once did I feel as if the game was cut short in order to focus on other things. The polish and precision on detail is also another reason why I believe the series was in need of a return to basics. Sledgehammer Games just know how to build a war game and they killed it on so many levels. Every gun feels great to shoot, every vehicle is fully controllable, and every detail in the game has a sound and sight to it that brings the history lesson home to your couch. 

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There are also various things to collect and dive into if you are interested in a lesson on World War II. Notes that detail specific orders and attacks, and the general vibe created in the game gives you that feeling that there is truly a war going on and you are part of a great movement in history. While the setting of the story is great, some of the characters felt washed out and cliche. The main protagonist is unlikeable and not only does he have a face you want to punch, but his overall charismatic personality is a bit overwhelming at times. Still, what COD: WWII does well is creating a compelling campaign that is totally worth your time. It's explosive and exciting from start to finish and it feels authentic. It stands on its own without it being a tutorial for the multiplayer of Nazi Zombie mode. 

Nazi Zombies

It would not be a Call of Duty game without the walking dead getting their own game mode and Nazi Zombies is the same formula that has been in a way reskinned for World War II. While the zombies are deadly and nightmarish, the overall game mode still revolves around the same mechanics seen in past games. You need to survive the waves of undead while multi-tasking various things at the same time. 

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Nazi Zombies has removed the boarded windows and doors for a faster survival game. You never know where these zombies will come out of and they could pop in at any time from any place. The lack of predictability is great for you as a player and affects your controllable character too as he or she would even gasp at the sudden sight of a chained up undead due to the fact that you never saw it coming. 

Buffs are still a thing but the latest addition being the armour buff lets you equip yourself with a defence that you can buy with points. The more you buy in the game, the more pricey it gets so you again have to be tactical about just when you need that extra resistance. There are also new classes that have specific perks to them that give the mode a new layer of focus. Each of these classes has specific roles and abilities that can be activated when you fill up a bar. The Medic, for example, can go invisible with a camo skill for a short amount of time and zombies will completely ignore her. She can also revive players faster too which helps when you need it. 

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The different classes are one thing and then we have perks that can also be equipped onto specific loadouts. After a while, you will be able to merge the class you want with the perks you get too and create the best loadout that works with your play style. The perks range from extra ammo in guns to even being able to carry three guns around. 

I managed to get two of the three rituals completed in the game before dying but as the Nazi Zombies go, the more you practice the better you get. There is no doubt that I will be spending a few dozen hours in the game killing zombies and trying to figure out all the methods and cheeses possible to survive the longest I can. 

Multiplayer

COD's multiplayer is back to boots on the ground and we all know why you came here, to find out if it is any good, and it is. The shotgun life is still toxic, and the snipers are still a problem, but the overall experience of Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer is one hundred times better than Infinite Warfare. I have not sunk my teeth into a Call of Duty multiplayer mode since Black Ops III and I was excited to get involved in WWII. It is a lonely and terrible experience by yourself but it is do-able. 

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Spanning across 9 modes, of which War Mode is the newest and exciting as it offers objective-based gameplay, each mode is basically what we have played before. Where the game feels new and polished is how it all becomes a crucial part of the Call of Duty experience by tieing in its new maps, movement system, and of course the guns. COD is nothing without those guns and WWII has plenty. The best part about this is how great they all feel in your hand and just how fantastic they are all to master. 

From the carbine to the MP40, every gun is its own unique experience and it is best you find your path before investing in a specific class that tailors for that specific gun type. I was an infantry guy from the start and while you are tied down to a specific gun at first as you level up more and more become available and your class and loadout become part of how you play. The game is slower but we just need to be thankful that there are no people flying around in the air and that, my dear COD fans, are the best part of the game. It is Call of Duty multiplayer without it trying to be Battlefield or any other shooter in the world. 

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COD has also implemented a new social hub like Destiny's tower where you can walk around, open loot crates and make your classes while matches are being searched for and you are loading into them. You can also pick up daily tasks and challenges that let you unlock currency if you do the required task. These all in turn reward you will boxes of goodies like new guns, skins, and attachments for them. Again, nothing new with COD but we are not expecting anything as the multiplayer is just darn good already that unwanted changes might destroy it. 

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There is so much to see and do in Call of Duty: WWII that it will make sure you are busy from the moment you start the game.  Its zombie mode is fun and darker than ever, its gripping single player campaign is like playing through a Hollywood film, and the multiplayer has been stripped down to bring out the classic Call of Duty experience we have been missing for years now. 

Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro |  Release Date: 03 November 2017 | RRP: R999

This review is based off a review copy provided to us by Megarom Interactive

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