“You have been here before, landed on these beaches before...”
November 7, 2017 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Call of Duty: WWII – War Is Still Kind of The Same [Gaming Bolt] “Since 2003, Activision has released sixteen full-length Call of Duty games, if you count standalone spin-offs like Call of Duty: Finest Hour and Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. Games in the series have been created by original developer Infinity Ward, Treyarch (who has made the franchise’s most commercially successful games with the Black Ops sub-series), and newcomers Sledgehammer Games. The series has traveled from the beaches of Normandy to the rivers of Vietnam and even into space. [...] The goal is here is twofold: to return the series to its boots-on-the-ground roots, which were lacking in the last two titles, and to the conflict that defined the series before its excursion to a technology-focused future for a change of pace.” [YouTube][Trailer]

• “...desire to tell a realistic, compassionate story is constantly at odds with the desire to make an engaging first-person shooter,” [Polygon]
“While most of the gameplay mechanics feel wholly familiar, a few new elements have been added to the Call of Duty formula. For the first time in over 10 years, health packs have returned, replacing the regenerating health that had become a mainstay of the series. This change works better than expected. Don’t count on ducking behind cover whenever you’ve taken a bunch of shots to the torso. You need to be more cautious and forward-thinking, collecting health items and putting yourself in safe spaces to survive. Feeling semi-powerless when you’re low on health with no healing items stored adds a nice level of tension to otherwise typical scenarios. Another addition: your squad mates possess unique abilities that recharge as you rack up kills. One squaddie will hurl you health packs, another can toss you a smoke grenade to call in a mortar strike.”
• “It’s classic Call of Duty—even if the game obviously borrows some ideas from Activision Blizzard’s other shooters Overwatch and Destiny.” [Kotaku]
“WWII does, if briefly, touch some topics such as segregated squads and the absolute horror of the Holocaust and concentration camps, but mostly those subjects are tiptoed around. There was often the tense tug and pull of moral debates among the soldiers, questions of showing mercy or whether they should risk the mission to save civilians. I would’ve liked more history lessons packed in, but neither did I ever feel like I was just mindlessly killing enemies for fun. There was always enough context to remind me: holy shit, this was real. Overall, the campaign is about six hours of solid gameplay, and eleven missions will get you from D-Day to The Rhine. (The story doesn’t touch on Japan, or the atom bomb, or anything outside of your journey from France to Germany.) The story still carries all the typical Call of Duty set pieces such as over-the-top driving sequences, a flight mission, and stealth, but there are several moments that deliver more emotion than we’ve seen in recent installments.”
• “Sledgehammer takes Call of Duty back to its roots, refining rather than redefining the series,” [Eurogamer]
“It begins, unsurprisingly, on the beach. The throwback to a throwback, from Call of Duty World War to Call of Duty 2, from Medal of Honor Allied Assault all the way to Saving Private Ryan. As the bullets whistle past your ears and thud into the churning sea, as sand scatters and machine guns rattle, as soldiers scream and shout and run, there's more than a feeling that we've done this all before. And of course we have many times over, but not like this, at least not for a while. WW2, the 14th mainline Call of Duty, is a reclamation of the series' fundamentals - an eschewing of sci-fi tropes, of Black Ops conspiracies, Kit Harrington and the Ghosts, whoever they were. This is Call of Duty as it once was, or at least that's what the marketing would have you think. In actual fact, this is Call of Duty refined if not entirely redefined - a slick, luxurious and impressive triple-A product, forged in the image of Sledgehammer but shameless in its lifting of ideas, concepts and mechanics from both the series past and any number of its competitors. And it's all the better for it.”
• “Every year, Call of Duty presents a multifaceted package catering to every possible playstyle.” [Game Informer]
“Call of Duty: WWII, which features a historically-focused campaign, a zombie mode designed to puzzle and scare, and classic multiplayer combat rooted in class-based playstyles and a brand new social hub. Of the many features on deck, only the campaign falters. The rest of the package is as solid as ever, and for old-school fans of the franchise tired of laser beams and jetpacks, the title provides an epic return to form to classic warfare. Through the eyes of a Texan kid out for glory, you land on the beaches of Normandy, battle through occupied France, and eventually bring the fight into the heart of Germany. While the experiences you face are huge WWII battles captured with appropriate grandiose backdrops, the only chapter that truly stands out is one where you don’t fire your weapon at all – an infiltration mission that takes you deep into the heart of Gestapo HQ. The characters in your squad are forgettable cardboard cutouts, a throwaway cast that seems like a slipshod assemblage of Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and Platoon. The people you meet from British and French factions are far more interesting, and steal the show when they are around.”
• “...offers a solid if unsurprising experience, but the three elements within feel like wildly different games,” [The Guardian]
“CoD: WWII is three games in one. A single-player campaign that shows a unit of US soldiers winning the war; online competitive multiplayer with a dozen modes; and then Nazi Zombies. Call of Duty is a series with annual releases, with multiple development studios working on staggered schedules. As a result, it has crystallised into a certain structure. CoD: WWII covers all the bases that players expect. It is also something of a return to the series’ roots of more grounded infantry combat, following the advanced-movement-style introduced in future-based entries (think supersoldiers with jetpacks). CoD: WWII makes us grunts again, with relatively slower movement and more “realistic” capabilities. But this is married to a generous aim assist and assorted impact effects that, simply put, make shooting things wonderful.”
posted by Fizz (42 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
16!
posted by Fizz at 10:36 AM on November 7


Call of Duty: WWII – War Is Still Kind of The Same

Are they suggesting that war...never changes?
posted by jedicus at 10:45 AM on November 7 [30 favorites]


Man I remember playing the first Call of Duty way back in '03. Completing that first parachute mission really made me feel that this was a different type of game, and combined with MOHAA from a year earlier made me love multiplayer ww2 games. To think now of the juggernaut that the games have become and how much that style dominates is really crazy, though I don't think in a good way. These days I tend to play much more 'realistic' shooters (if realism is truly a thing that's possible to be simulated by a wasd + mouse setup) like Verdun and Rising Storm. That said I'm almost tempted to go back to the old CoD and see how well the reboot actually does in merging the old gameplay style with the newer series refinements.
posted by Carillon at 10:47 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]




which is the one where you are in space doing murders in zero gravity bc that looked p cool
posted by poffin boffin at 11:17 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


moonraker?
posted by Carillon at 11:25 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


which is the one where you are in space doing murders in zero gravity bc that looked p cool

This is the one you're thinking of: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. [YouTube][Trailer]
posted by Fizz at 11:30 AM on November 7


Ctrl-F "loot crate"
>> No results found.
O RLY.
posted by introp at 11:32 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


This is the one you're thinking of: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

Man, every time I look at clips from Infinite Warfare, I think it looks pretty cool, but I also think of Titanfall 2, which plays by similar rules, and its long, long matchmaking times. It's really a shame that EA put that one out at the same time as Battlefield 1 and Infinite Warfare, because its player base has never been big and concentrated enough to come close to more popular games' less-than-a-minute matchmaking.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:35 AM on November 7


Ctrl-F "loot crate"
>> No results found.


How loot boxes work in Call of Duty: WWII [PC Gamer]
“Call of Duty: WWII includes its own take on loot boxes called Supply Drops that fall from the sky and burst open to shower the player with a few goodies. They're flashy and feel as good to open as any package of Magic cards, but are they exploitative? With about 15 hours of multiplayer under my belt, my early conclusion is that they're just fine, with one major exception.

What loot boxes contain
The contents of Call of Duty: WWII's loot boxes are almost entirely cosmetic, rewarding gun skins, emotes, callsigns, and soldier apparel. You might find timed XP multipliers in the mix, which will grant bonus XP earnings for a weapon or Division alignment. However, in the zombie mode, supply drops may also contain consumable powerups, which grant temporary status effects during play.

How do you earn Supply Drops?
You can earn supply drops without spending money by......receiving them as a random reward at the end of a match....completing Contracts, timed challenges (get X kills, get X headshots, etc.) you purchase with Armory Credits (which you can earn for free on a timer or through completing certain challenges).”
posted by Fizz at 11:39 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


These days I tend to play much more 'realistic' shooters (if realism is truly a thing that's possible to be simulated by a wasd + mouse setup) like Verdun

What's the gameplay of Verdun like? Hours of sitting around waiting for someone to poke their head up in no man's land, and then getting blown to hell by an artillery barrage?
posted by asterix at 11:40 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]


The mobility stuff in Infinite Warfare is ass compared to Titanfall 2. I think Titanfall 2 might actually have more active players on PC anyway.

I think of CoD the same way I think of certain PC MOBAs: an excellent oubliette that keeps the most toxic online players in games I don't like.
posted by selfnoise at 11:41 AM on November 7 [4 favorites]


Man, every time I look at clips from Infinite Warfare, I think it looks pretty cool, but I also think of Titanfall 2, which plays by similar rules, and its long, long matchmaking times.

The campaigns for both Infinite Warfare and Titanfall 2 were really good and very enjoyable. There was a bit of generic SF tropey-ness but I played through both and mostly stayed away from multiplayer cuz that's not really my thing. If you just want fun space action with a robot buddy. You'll enjoy both of these campaigns.
posted by Fizz at 11:42 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


The SF tropey-ness was more in Infinite Warfare. Titanfall 2 did some really unique things with level design.
posted by Fizz at 11:43 AM on November 7


I loved the Titanfall 2 campaign and I hate corridor shooters. Everyone should play it. In fact, I kinda want to go home and reinstall it right now.

The MP is excellent as well but is full of insane ninjas who will wear your skin as a cape, so I didn't last long.
posted by selfnoise at 11:46 AM on November 7 [4 favorites]


Who can forget the stirring tales of Omaha Beach, where American men faced severe German fortifications, all in order to watch loot crates fall from the sky.

Watch people open boxes to get more points!
posted by zabuni at 12:00 PM on November 7 [7 favorites]


Watch people open boxes to get more points!

So we've allowed this form of gambling/pure capitalism to enter into the actual story. There's no pretending it only exists in a sub-menu. For fucks sake!??!
posted by Fizz at 12:01 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Sorry for the Titanfall 2 derail.

I like that Call of Duty has returned to its roots - those first two games' biggest flaw, accepting the inherent limitations of corridor shooters, is their shameless plagiarism from war movies of their period - but at the same time, it seems, from the coverage I've read, that it follows its sources too closely, cribbing from the same set of war movies as the original games. Why not set the action in the Italian campaign, or interpret the standard D-Day setting in a new way?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:07 PM on November 7


Why not set the action in the Italian campaign, or interpret the standard D-Day setting in a new way?

Sniper Elite 4 did just this. It set the entire game in Italy.
posted by Fizz at 12:11 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


And it's a very fun game to play. Highly recommended if you're looking for a shooter that is set in this time period but a little bit different in its setting. Though be forewarned. Sniper Elite 4 has a very gory/gimicky x-ray kill cam. The slow motion death by bullet may not be for every one.
posted by Fizz at 12:19 PM on November 7


There are a bunch of 20th century wars I want to see get the game treatment.

CoD: Russo-Japanese War
CoD: The Balkan Wars
CoD: The Boer War
CoD: Spanish Civil War
CoD: Russian Civil War

Those last two especially can be done because Americans volunteered to fight in them. What is heeding the call of duty more than volunteering to fight in a foreign war?
posted by Groundhog Week at 12:26 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


There are a bunch of 20th century wars I want to see get the game treatment.

CoD: Russo-Japanese War
CoD: The Balkan Wars
CoD: The Boer War
CoD: Spanish Civil War
CoD: Russian Civil War


The Battlefield series has gone to some interesting places. Bad Company 2: Vietnam was very interesting. And one of the more recent DLC for Battlefield 1: In the Name of the Tsar also did some interesting things with its story/setting.
In the Name of the Tsar focuses on Russian Empire during the Great War. The Scout class for the Russian faction features as a female soldier representing the Women's Battalion. Four maps in the expansion follows in the Eastern Front; Lupkow Pass, Galicia, Brusilov Keep, and Albion, while two other maps are set in the Russian Civil War between the White Guard and Red Army; Tsaritsyn and Volga River.
posted by Fizz at 12:33 PM on November 7


I've also used the word interesting too much in that last comment. I need a thesaurus.
posted by Fizz at 12:33 PM on November 7


I'm holding out for CoD: Grenada '83
posted by Burhanistan at 12:43 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


I think In the Name of the Tsar could have made for an extremely interesting "War Story" single-player campaign. Follow the same soldier through a set piece battle against the Germans, joining the Revolution to extract payback for the slaughter they witnessed in the first battle, then agonising over what side to pick in the Civil War.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:50 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


from the coverage I've read, that it follows its sources too closely, cribbing from the same set of war movies as the original games. Why not set the action in the Italian campaign, or interpret the standard D-Day setting in a new way?

I mean they're playing it safe. I think they saw how successful Battlefield 1 was and how the FPS fan base responded. It's still doing quite well and we're about a year out. Whereas Infinite Warfare did not do well and it was released within a few weeks of Battlefield 1.
posted by Fizz at 12:54 PM on November 7


One criticism I've heard is that CoD:WW2 feels too modern with the way the guns handle, the shooting, the mechanics are too streamlined and smooth like their more futuristic games. I have no way of knowing if this is accurate but it wouldn't surprise me. They've been making so many of these games, it's probably difficult to go backwards.
posted by Fizz at 12:55 PM on November 7


CoD: Early Modern Warfare: You shuffle across the field in the middle of a hundred-man infantry square, occasionally catching glimpses of the battle through the forest of pikes surrounding you.
posted by Iridic at 1:00 PM on November 7 [9 favorites]


CoD: Early Modern Warfare: You shuffle across the field in the middle of a hundred-man infantry square, occasionally catching glimpses of the battle through the forest of pikes surrounding you.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare has you covered.
posted by Fizz at 1:10 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


What's the gameplay of Verdun like? Hours of sitting around waiting for someone to poke their head up in no man's land, and then getting blown to hell by an artillery barrage?

Crouching in a trench next to your groaning fallen fellow soldiers who are bleeding out, praying you don't get hit by endless artillery and gas barrages, until a squad of enemies coming from your flank shoots you with a pistol and bayonets you to death.
posted by hexaflexagon at 1:33 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


What's the gameplay of Verdun like? Hours of sitting around waiting for someone to poke their head up in no man's land, and then getting blown to hell by an artillery barrage?


It's more wave based, each side gets 5ish minutes (I think) to capture an enemy trench. If they do capture it, then they have to hold it for a similar amount of time. After that some maps have more extensive support and reserve trenches to fight through, some have more open terrain behind them. Overall, I wouldn't say it's 'slower' per se, as certain parts can be quite twitchy, but it's more a question of when to run forward, have your snipers taken out the mgs first, can you get in range to throw grenades, should you wait until you have 4-5 people to take the trench as a group, can you sneak in and enfillade them by surprised, that sort of thing.
posted by Carillon at 2:25 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


CoD: Early Modern Warfare is also covered by Warband! That's pretty much pike and shot era and multiplayer. Not sure about the actual simulation of gunpower smoke though.
posted by Carillon at 3:46 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


CoD: Early Modern Warfare is also covered by Warband!

GLOUCESTER: “Now is the winter of our discontent!”
14 YR. OLD IN BASEMENT: “You fucking camper, git gud!”
posted by Fizz at 4:39 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


The first couple of CoDs blew me away as a kid. I've played the others on and off, campaign only, and while they've always been okay-to-good, none of them has had that impact on me since.

I traded in a bunch of games (including the frankly underwhelming Wolfenstein II) and picked up WWII yesterday. It does recapture some of that magic, to some small extent, but the characters are absolutely awful and I feel no connection with any of them on any level - not even as "humans", since the facial animation is so spludgy. I mean the game literally starts out with an Aryan-American (our "hero") calling the French "frogs" which...oh god whatever.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:10 PM on November 7


turbid dahlia, One of the better representations of war (at least from a character and story driven POV) was Mafia III and Lincoln Clay's return from Vietnam. Mafia III isn't perfect as a game and its a different genre altogether but if you're looking for an interesting take on character, consider picking that up on sale. It's a fun game.
posted by Fizz at 5:19 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


including the frankly underwhelming Wolfenstein II
I'm still playing through it, but I'm curious what bugs you about it. The only other FPS I play is Destiny, and while I definitely prefer the mechanics of Destiny Wolfenstein II is still fun. Although it doesn't really feel like II is much of an advance on the first one.
posted by asterix at 8:14 PM on November 7


Who can forget the stirring tales of Omaha Beach, where American men faced severe German fortifications, all in order to watch loot crates fall from the sky.

Yes, this has long been considered by WWII historians like Beevor and Hastings as one of the biggest, deadliest missteps of the landings. The sustained loot crate barrage had originally been planned to start earlier, last longer, and be walked at least a kilometer inland, onto actual Axis hard points, materiel, and infrastructure. Instead you had a bunch of them bursting open on the beach at random intervals, and if the landing parties wanted more they had to speak to their CO, and have their pay docked.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:21 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


I'm still playing through it, but I'm curious what bugs you about it

A few things. I did play through the full campaign and quite enjoy myself, but I found the pacing really inconsistent and oh god what I would have done for a proper objective marker. I get it, old-school vibes and all (including throwbacks to throwbacks by reusing music from the recent Doom remake), but some of those levels were pretty convoluted, and not just right-angles and hallways.

The tone was really weird as well. It started off serious, with some pretty serious (and, for me, as an animal lover, upsetting, in a virtual and extremely transient way) stuff, BJ's folks and so forth, and then got...Wolfensteiny...which was great, but the game didn't know what it wanted to be.

I also thought the difficulty curve was a bit pants. I usually play FPS games at the middle difficulty or one above, but the difficulty on this one was just insane and I think I ended up stepping down to one difficulty level above the lowest. Which, fine, I guess I'm just old and fat and slow and stupid, but I did ok with Doom, I did ok with all the CoDs, etc.

Characters were pretty cool though, overall, and it had reasonably strong writing, good shooting, plenty of action. The Enigma machine was a bit shit but a cool mechanic and a fun little side-challenge. Overall 6/10.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:30 PM on November 7


Although it doesn't really feel like II is much of an advance on the first one.

Story and character are greatly advanced, but gameplay and the environmental design feel a bit samesy. Still a glorious achievement but it's the story that really jumped up a level from the previous.
posted by Fizz at 8:30 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I usually play FPS games at the middle difficulty or one above, but the difficulty on this one was just insane and I think I ended up stepping down to one difficulty level above the lowest.
It's hard for me to judge because I'm relatively new to console FPSes, but yeah, I can't play on any of the higher difficulty levels and I had to bump the controller sensitivity as low as it would go to have a fighting chance. And I still suck at shooting down drones.
posted by asterix at 8:39 PM on November 7


Those drones were the worst.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:47 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


“Call of Duty: WWII Game Review”Reviews on the Run, Electric Playground
posted by ob1quixote at 9:33 PM on November 8


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