Liberate Europe with The 1st Infantry Division In Call of Duty: WWII

Though I am still working on finishing up the game, Call of Duty: WWII by Sledgehammer Games has been good so far.  As far as the single-player missions the game is worth playing but I did find some pitfalls and parts that could have been done better or left out of the game. For those waiting to play the game and have seen the commercials it does go back to the roots of Call of Duty and the graphics are just as epic as seen in the trailers. Combat is for the majority of the game enhanced by the graphics and made for some very epic moments.

We wore our gaming clothing to review this one, so we could really get into the spirit of the new Call of Duty. Though the game is good, there was room for improvements, especially with the characters, storyline, and emotional responses to the gameplay. I either had those moments of feeling like a hero or adrenaline surge from the combat, to being bored at times, or just frustrated and annoyed by the game. At times certain members of my squad kept shouting the obvious or objectives while I was fighting my way through dozens of German soldiers.  It would have been appreciated if the objectives were on the screen to avoid the constant reminder.  On top of that I kept hearing “got a first aid kit for you.”

Preparing to storm the beach of Normandy with your Platoon.

Remember how previous Call of Duty games had you recoup health by getting to cover and waiting a few seconds. Forget that now, because players must rely on a squad mate, Zussman, to give you first aid kits or find them within the map. It threw me off on the beach of Normandy when I was losing health rapidly and couldn’t get past the German machine gun fire. I guess it was a way to add realism to the game and to use your platoon for resources, though I think that was all they were good for. After awhile you get use to it and it seems to work out, especially when more first aid is available in game along with ammo. Though if it isn’t then you need to conserve aid and ammo because cooldowns seem to take forever when in combat and being inundated with artillery, gunfire, and machine guns.

There are also flamethrowers to watch out for, which need to be taken out immediately to save your fellow soldiers. As far as sniping, without using breath control it’s difficult to get one shot one kill. Then again the weapons weren’t that great to handle but we are talking about WWII weapons.  By the way, the German soldiers wear helmets and it can take two or even three shots to take out enemies. Regular rifles take more shots.

The game’s sniper rifle.

Speaking of combat, I wish the game had just been combat with cut scenes focusing solely on the missions but they did throw in an added storyline to give it a Band of Brothers feel.  It didn’t always work and some parts were boring but the developers did successfully create a sense that the soldiers were brothers in arms who looked out for each other.  In addition, I thought the acting was good during the mission breaks with that sense of camaraderie and even tensions between officers and NCOs. Having to live through constant fighting and war takes a toll on the soldiers, especially when you lose so many fellow soldiers. It was good to see that the game had that feel to it, though I would have liked more personal feeling toward the characters.

Some characters I thought had too little of a role to care about or were put in just because. For me to really like a game, even a first person shooter, there has to be some connection to the characters and in the end I have grown to like Private Ronald “Red” Daniels and even Private Zussman, dislike Sergeant Pierson, and felt in different toward Lieutenant Turner. Then there is the rest of the platoon. They provide resources but I end up saving the day every time with what feels like little support from the rest of the platoon. Tanks are good and helpful but Private Daniels saves everyone and everyone needs him to do everything, from be a sniper, artillery gunner, and even elite Special Forces soldier.  Personally I enjoyed taking up those roles and firing off artillery at the enemy.  Infantry soldiers had to do whatever was necessary.  Also not much different from other Call of Duty games.

The 1st Infantry Division

The main character that players play is Private Daniels from the beaches of Normandy, liberation of Paris, to the advancement into Germany. As a member of the 1st Infantry Division he and his platoon sees a lot of action and has a major role to play in the war within the European theater. You even get to be a hero to the people and save innocent lives. Also you have the choice to save injured soldiers or even capture enemy combatants. I did enjoy playing as Daniels and conducting the missions of his platoon, except for the mission to stop a train. During the train mission he had to do some sneaking around with the British Special Forces. These guys were highly trained elite forces and here is a Private in the American army new to the war doing a mission with Special Forces Major Crowley and a female combatant and spy, Vivian.  Also I am not a big fan of being stealthy in war games outside of playing a sniper.

Besides Daniels, players do get to be other characters like a female French Resistance spy, though it might have been better if it was Major Crowley, just because it would have made more sense after doing a mission with him. Crowley is in the mission just not as the playable character. Vivian would of also made sense at first only because there were female British Special Forces spies that used their skills to help form the Resistance, though they did not have roles as combatants. The best thing was to be in a tank and blow things up, it also made up for the spy mission.

Fighting at night for the liberation of Paris.

Beyond the story the gameplay was great. I felt like I was in combat during World War II in France fighting the German army. It was also nice to get to fight alongside the French Resistance and British Forces instead of just the Americans fighting.  The addition of authentic weapons enhanced the feel of the game, even though the control and aim was not perfect. Being authentic, some weapons needed constant reloading. Ammo needs to be conserved in this game, as its sparsely located in maps and the cooldown for more ammo is long. Turner has the ammo but only gives a pouch before cooldown. You can also just bayonet enemies, throw grenades, call for artillery, thanks to Aiello, locate enemies using Pierson, and occasionally get to use a flamethrower. Tanks come to the rescue and can be used for cover. Combat is very intense and can get the adrenaline going. Also the combat keeps you in the game and wanting to play out the missions.

In a tank to save the day.

Missions are long with multiple objectives and locations. Without always clear directions it’s up to the player to find the path.  Don’t count on your platoon for being guides as they mostly follow you. Sometimes Pierson leads but he can be hard on Daniels and acts like he doesn’t want to save his soldiers. If he does care he seems cold about it. War requires morale boosting and Pierson and Turner are not good morale people. Anyway, if you want to be a war hero then playing WWII as Daniels would be your chance to be a war hero.

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In the end the gameplay does feel like every other Call of Duty game but there is little to change in a first person war shooter.  It’s about the different locations, new characters, and a different story that makes this game stand out.  With that said, players do get a chance to feel what it’s like to be in war and having you and your men rely on each other for survival.

Sledgehammer Games did do the war feel right, it was dark, gritty, with all the nastiness that comes along with war. It’s up to you and your platoon to liberate Europe and help each other to the end. Once you complete a mission it feels accomplished and you sit back and take a moment to have a small victory till the next sequence. The cut scenes between missions help the player recoup and get prepared for the next round. It works and it’s what makes this game good despite a few hiccups.   With a good campaign this game is better then some of the other more recent Call of Duty games.

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