Passable Folly Named Call of Duty: WWII

Storming the beaches on D-Day

The Virtual Second World War starts this year right from the dessert. I don’t know if it’s the tenth or twentieth time they offer us to storm the famous Omaha Beach, but it’s still difficult to resist the temptation. The landing in Normandy is a truly cult and significant scene among the playing population, so we are ready to welcome any quality interpretation of it with open arms. Especially in the conditions of prolonged shortage of projects of the corresponding theme.

Especially if Call of Duty takes it on again.

Braving the snowy battlefield

You can’t call WWII unequivocally high-quality, but there is no doubt about its visual and staging mastery. Under the gloomy French sky, it creates a full-fledged blockbuster, polished and captivating with the convincing portrayal of action. It is no longer a circus of a dozen extras pretending to be brave allies and evil fascists, but a carefully directed spectacle. With high-polygon actors, juicy explosions, and dramatic splashes of blood against the backdrop of a restless ocean.

In the new Call of Duty, the influence of last year’s game is clearly evident. Battlefield 1 Not that the series has never paid attention to the fact that “war is bad”, it’s just that now the message crowns the whole spectacle, dressing it in a melancholic palette devoid of the usual bravado. If before the conflict was presented more as an entertainment platform for tough guys with guns, now it’s a collective nightmare, the consequences of which are not limited to combat losses. The game regularly reminds us of this, drawing our attention to the backdrop. Bombed cities, hanged farmer families, victims of concentration camps, and German refugees in basements – this is also war, terrifying and inevitable.

Seeking refuge in a church
Intense combat scenarios

The screenplay supports the universal human drama with the drama of the specific, telling the story of the First Infantry Division of the United States, but many of its experiences are filtered through the old good popcorn prism. That is, people suffer, but they do it with Hollywood pathos, an inexplicable thirst for self-sacrifice, trains flipping in the frame, and other clichés of an expensive action movie. But more is not needed.

What is more concerning is how predictable WWII is. Not in the decorations or plot twists, but in the specific gameplay situations that connect them. When the initial excitement of the first chapters subsides, somewhere in the depths of the subconscious, an intrusive thought begins to form: this has already happened.

Gameplay-wise, the campaign is, excuse me, too much like Call of Duty, exaggerated to the standard points of the annual program. Sniper mission? Check. Tank rides? Yep. Stealth behind enemy lines? Disguise games? We’ve seen those too, not only in some ancient Medal of Honor, but also just a year ago in the execution of Infinite Warfare The episode with anti-aircraft guns, the episode with airplanes, the episode with “I’ll lie down without strength while debris of local architecture falls on me” – all of this has already been done. In the context of WWII, considering the setting, the worn-out sketches hardly change, while something truly new is only offered with rare exceptions.

A soldier named Booker

Somewhere in the multiple universes, one Booker nodded approvingly.

Even the praised return of life bars and medkits, I must admit, doesn’t change the weather. It was probably assumed that without regeneration, there would be an incentive to play risky, without hiding in shameful corners, and that it would result in a clever contrast of aggression in the name of safety, like DOOM Thanks to the companions who throw supplies. But in Call of Duty, you can’t play differently by default, because the scripts don’t activate themselves, and on higher difficulty levels, one wrong move always means going back to the checkpoint. With regeneration or without.

Of course, there is no tragedy in this. Driving on polished blockbuster rails, gazing at the first-class picture, is still great for various reasons. In some places, the direction really pulls, sometimes it grabs, dare I say, an ordinary plot, once or twice it squeezes out a muffled “wow” from you – and even the immortal shooting range occasionally entertains as it should. Moreover, the pace of WWII is so lively that you simply don’t have time to catch your breath or think.

And it couldn’t do without a clear sense of nostalgia. I never thought I would say this, but I missed the Second World War in games. The chatter of a landing craft on the occupied shores of France, the rattling German machine guns, the torn swastikas, pin-up art on massive bombers, and the sound of a discharged “Garand”. And here you go, all the joys of life in a beautiful and modern AAA wrapper. The unspoken taboo, imposed after the monstrous oversaturation of the market about ten years ago, is finally broken, and it can be confessed without a guilty conscience – we missed all of this.

Battling flames of destruction
Armor-clad tanks in the war

However, the reincarnation of the classic aesthetics of the series should not be so, um, pedestrian. The war itself never changes, but it can be shown from so many different perspectives that it is slightly disappointing to miss out on the potential. The long-awaited return to the trenches of World War II is accompanied by unexpected banality in terms of methods and material covered, which diminishes the overall value of the WWII lineup. Yes, it is vivid, atmospheric, and engaging – but without any revelations.

And no, please don’t make me talk about the multiplayer. I beg you. Just not about that horrible, dreary multiplayer…

Multiplayer NPCs in action

Year after year, I cherish hope for a renaissance of the online mode of Call of Duty, even regularly participating in various beta tests – but they usually last long enough to become completely disgusted or at least understand that the renaissance will be delayed. The current iteration is no exception. Something in the native “CoD” broke a long time ago, and it is being fixed with extremely questionable means.

For example, the new mode “War”. In it, you can personally see that «Overwatch»: strung on mechanics of a completely different nature, it will not work. The skill-centric teamwork of Call of Duty, placed at the forefront of ‘War’, is inherently alien, so any movements in capturing a point or escorting a cart are always the result of random circumstances. Just like in any other mode, but with a clear imbalance in favor of defense.

Or here’s the ‘Headquarters’ – the dumbest and most massive gadget in the entire series. It’s something like a social hub where players can meet, wave at each other,to build lovecollect “dailies”, gaze at leaderboards, and open loot boxes to the delight of onlookers. Right now, I really need you to imagine symbiosis. Splatoon 2 “And MMO-casino in the setting of World War II.

And they tried to answer the question: For What?

Headquarters in multiplayer mode

Where are your bingo tournaments here?

Given that communication in Call of Duty rarely extends beyond discussing intimate relationships with strangers’ relatives, we were unable to determine the true functional role of the “Headquarters”. The only thing it does is contribute to transforming the once concise interface into a true user nightmare. Advanced Warfare At Sledgehammer Games, there were no special problems with the logic of button placement, but here it reaches absurdity. Now different NPCs distribute several different types of tasks through several completely different menus, for the completion of which they give certain types of in-game currency, which in turn is spent on corresponding upgrades by completely different NPCs. Some actions are duplicated in the main character window, while others are only available in the “Headquarters”, which needs to be loaded every time for a second routine. In other words, in terms of ergonomics, WWII has come close to applications for “Facebook”, if not to “Facebook” itself.

Intense combat in multiplayer
Reliving epic moments in replay

Well, all this fuss is played out exactly the same as in the last few years, minus jetpacks and other exo-gadgets. Although, honestly, without the ability to run on walls or escape from gunfire in elegant turbo slides, the designers’ poor imagination in map design has become even more noticeable. The blatantly idiotic three-lane structure, which not even a full arsenal of cool gadgets could save, deprives any tactical space in grounded realities and reduces shootouts to a primitive reaction game.

Equally troubling is the exclusive multiplayer functionality. If the crashes, which are complained about in reviews, don’t happen too often, spontaneous freezes are quite common, despite a stable frame rate of around 80 frames. And there is no way to trace any patterns in their occurrence: the current build hangs both during shootouts and in the calmest moments.

A pistol-wielding soldier
Explosive multiplayer action

Here are all sorts of oddities like sticky keys or, for example, a strange bug that caused the game to not recognize the raw mouse signal. You can enable acceleration, smoothing, and other profanity – please, but no other way. And playing a shooter with mouse movement smoothing, you know, is only within the power of a rare masochist.

In general, a strange set has been obtained this year. Taking Call of Duty: WWII for the multiplayer – a priori not a very successful idea, however, the campaign is not stellar either. On the other hand, there is no other big-budget game on a similar theme expected in the near future. If you really want to spend an evening or two in the surroundings of Normandy, why not.

On a completely different note, maybe it would be better to satisfy the hunger. wonderful melody performed by the ringing “Garands” ?

Call of Duty: WWII
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, Co-op, Multiplayer
Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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