Call of Duty WWII feels like a welcome return to this era. There’s something compelling about games set during any world war. Especially during WW2, presumably as it’s the closest to current times and technologies. Whilst not glamorising or trivialising those times, there has always been a large customer base for this genre of games.
I recall the original Medal of Honor games from EA back in early 2010. This ended up morphing into the Battlefield series, again, another AAA franchise. I enjoyed playing on all of them when based in the WW2-era. Crisp gameplay, detailed graphics and realistic sounds made all of them enjoyable games. Call of Duty WWII follows this route and doesnt dissappoint.
Call of Duty WWII makes a swift return from that space jumping future war disaster of a game they released previously and thank goodness they did.
What makes this feel like a true WWII reboot is the cinematic experience that has been implemented throughout the game. Snippets of well rendered cut-scenes with an unforgiving harsh reality help set each mission scene. You will know the mission purpose, the outline of action and get to bond with your squad members. Its a nice touch and the team have clearly spent a lot of time on the scenes and the story.
The story is based around the US joining the already raging world war and has the infamous D-Day landings to participate in. It was an exillerhating experience but also humbling to get a sense of what that day must have been like. The commotion, confusion and rounds and rounds of MG42 fire raining down on you from the get go.
The mechanics in Call of Duty WWII are as you would expect in this series. Simple enough actions to get behind cover, climb over obstacles, prone and crouch. Firing from cover was the icing on the cake as it’s usually left out from most AAA FPS games, but in this scenario, its essential. Its not totally accurate on console vs PC as I was taken out a few times when in cover after peeping, but generally it works well.
Common with all Call of Duty titles, the action takes place between some colourful characters from the US and UK intelligence agencies. Combined with the cinematic experience, it really feels like you are part of the story this time round.
A wide range of usable vehicles are provided in Call of Duty WWII. From Jeeps and tanks through to anti-aircraft and fighter planes to control throughout the storyline. I’d feel cheated in a game such as this to missout on any of these vehicles. It would have been better to fly in 3D-cockpit mode, but it was acceptable to have the external chase-cam version provided. The flight model and zoom feature during dog-fighting I found sluggish. Its laughable to bounce off other planes mid-flight too.
Hero on the way!
Call of Duty WWII introduces a new trait around heroic actions which is a great idea. Throughout the game, some of your lesser skilled AI comrades will find themselves injured or locked in a fight to the death. It requires someone with nuts of steel to storm the battlefield and drag them to safety. In the case of a death struggle, steady your aim and shoot the right person.
In storymode, that hero is you, although its also optional. I’ve played a few times to hear “Help me, I need a medic” and found the poor guy who needs rescuing. I’ve also played and heard the same, only to spend 10 minutes searching for the calls and just given up. Anyone not in a location half-way to being rescued, thats natural selection as far as I’m concerned. Likewise, I’ve probably shot the same number of people locked in physical fights that I should have saved, which isnt too bad if you think about a life and death ratio.
Teaming up with your buddy Zussman, there is such a bond that you can call for health packs to be thrown at you based on a scheduled timer. There’s no auto-health, so keeping your mate close is a must when playing on the harder difficulties.
Others in your squad can replenish you with specific items too for Ammo restocks, grenades or even artillery targetting smoke. You need to take extra care with that last one because any friendly fire will see you kicked back to the last checkpoint. Seargant Pierson is handy to spot enemy locations which then semi-highlight when in camera shot. Pierson is by far one of the most entertaining yet chilling characters in the game. A crazed, guilt-ridden man in power, he adds plenty of depth to the objectives.
Playing the game on PC versus PlayStation 5, it understandable the PC version still renders better even in 4k on a now ageing 1080Ti. The PS5 version lacks changeable visual options and has a grain mode applied throughout. It didnt detract from the game, but was clearly more apparent in slower, less-busy scenes.
The PS5 version does run a lot cooler than my PC version when outputting 4k, so it somewhat made up for its shortfall. Having played on both formats, its no surprise that I prefer it on PC as the graphics can be tweaked for a crisper output.
The sound quality on the PC version also carries more heavy notes from environmental effects, but more importantly in the gun department. This was my only main gripe on the PS version. The sounds on that platform were flat and lacked range. Clips firing out of your M1 have a satisfying ping, followed by the reassuring clicks and bolt slides of the reload. The PlayStation version sounds like you’re banging on pots with different sized wooden spoons.
A modern take on the WWII game genre which pulls off both the cinematic and gameplay elements almost perfectly. As a Call of Duty title, its true to the series, letting you play as multiple characters, drive every wartime vehicle and even fly the odd plane every now and again. Plays better on PC than console due to fuller, richer sounds and increased visual options. The fact I own it on multiple platforms and many replays later is testament to how much enjoyment can be had.