For the past few years Call of Duty has focused on being a futuristic game, with jet packs and exo-suits, but this year they did something different, they went back to their roots and listened to the people that actually buy the game. By doing so, this game breathes some much-needed fresh air into a series that many thought was dying. They still have a lot to prove, and a lot to make up for, but may this is the start.
The campaign sets itself off with a blast, throwing you right onto the beaches of Normandy, fighting for your life. You storm the beaches and in true old-school Call of Duty fashion, you're the hero that gets your team off the red sand and into the Nazi lines. You're introduced to some of the new features here, most notably the new healing system. As we all know, healing in the past was done by ducking your head, finding cover, and waiting for the blood-soaked screen to turn clear again so you could go for round two. This isn't the case any longer, now you have to make use of medkits, if you have any, to fill your health bar back up. You're not alone on this quest for medkits, your squad mates will generate them and give them to you. This is somewhat of a strange addition to the campaign, but something different. Unfortunately, this is where the fun of the campaign ended for me. Its full of inconsequential missions, where even remembering details about them becomes a blur in less than 24 hours before I began to write this.
The gameplay can be unwieldy at times. Between the connection errors caused by the plague of server issues, to some terrible features (talked about below), they definitely have some major fixes to implement in before the game will be at its most enjoyable. Spawns are another talking point, being as they are absolutely terrible. If you enter a game that’s in progress, god bless you. You’ll most likely be stuck in a war zone as soon as you spawn, either getting lead rained down on you or having a lovely grenade plopped into your lap, chances are you're going to die... a lot. The hit-boxes are a walking, talking, living, breathing meme. You can be fully around a concrete corner in a kill cam, and yet a messily 9mm round out of a MP40 will drop you like a sack of potatoes.
HQ (Social Space):
One of the new features that was hyped up was the addition of the HQ. It was sold as a place where teammates could do things together instead of just in a menu, and thus far it has been a disaster. It’s has increased loading times throughout the game, and has been linked with some of the connectivity problems. While this feature had good intentions written all over it, it has been nothing but a nightmare. Maybe some changes and fixes will help this feature to a different fate, but until then, it's one of the worst features in the game.
The maps are on the smaller side, but pack a whole lot of fun into them. They have kill-zones, funnels, and sniper hides, all things that a real war zone would have. Some maps do have some major flaws that lead to easy spawn traps. For example, the "USS Texas" map has a sniper tower, the bridge, overlooking the spawn points on both sides of the map. With spawning in its current condition, it makes for a hard breakout.
Arguably one of the things I was most upset about with this game was their lack of weapon choices. They are missing WWII classics like the British Sten, or the Japanese Arisaka. If you're a big Search and Destroy player, you may be surprised to learn that silencers aren't available to any weapon type other than the SMG class, and that’s only if you're using the Airborne Division. Then there is the major issue of gun balancing. They have already released an update to start correcting this, but still, the overpowering of the BAR is more than evident.
It's safe to say that my favorite feature of any Call of Duty are the Zombies modes. While they've gotten far from their roots of just sit and defend, they’ve always been pretty decent and fun to play with a group of friends. This year's zombies are no exception of that. They did make some changes this year, getting away from the in-game perks and instead went with class loadouts where you pick your perks and in-game passive boosters to increase your effectiveness while playing. This leads to some hard choices before you're even slaughtering some undead Nazi experiments. They also debuted Jolts, which is the new in-game currency replacing the old money/cash system. I don’t see the big deal with that, as you still get Jolts the same way you’ve obtained money in past games, by killing some zombies. The Easter egg, though much easier than last years, still managed to be interesting and keep my attention. Zombies still has the issue of losing your attention after an hour and a half game of just killing zombies and finishing the Easter egg, but that’s something that is out of their control.
Overall the game looks absolutely stunning and has the music to go along with it. The game kind of gives you the feeling that a return to greatness isn't as far out of reach as many would've thought. Will it ever topple some of the previous Call of Duty's legendary work, no. Will it show the series has some life in it after all? Yes. Maybe the bleeding has stopped, and the death of this franchise was largely over-exaggerated, or maybe it’s a short reminder of what Call of Duty was, and the inevitable is still to come.
If I was asked to rank this game 1-10, I would rate it as a 7.3/10. The reason for this is due to the nostalgia factor, the zombies, the graphics, and that lovely menu music it has to offer it's players.