Call of Duty: WWII review—The less things change…

Call of Duty: WWII review—The less things change…

Enlarge / Setting all else aside, the game is usually nice to look at.

Call of Duty: WWII certainly has some interesting timing. It has the dubious duty of returning the landmark first-person series to its titular roots at a time when any game centered on fascism, nationalism, and especially Nazism is under extra scrutiny. And it just so happened to release a week after another game dealt with that same subject matter head-on.

The change in setting follows the powerfully negative reaction to last year's spacey Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, with World War II representing a hard return to the series' slightly less bombastic roots. There are no spaceships, powered exoskeletons, robots, or drones in WWII. There's no wall-running or double-jumping. There are just guns and the people who hold and shoot them.

That ends up being just the start of the game's problems, though. As much as WWII peels away at the bloat surrounding the long-running series, it doesn't really replace it. Its campaign starts with the US invasion of Normandy and hits every other European theatre cliché from there. It strikes those clichés so sharply on the nose that their own mother wouldn't recognize them (even with the aid of the same Band of Brothers DVD box set the developers seemed to use for reference).

Deja vu is a French phrase

Your primary playable character is "Texas farmboy" Red Daniels, who just wants to be a hero and clings to a photo of his girl back home. His commanding officer is a shady jerk who made a mysterious, questionable decision with his last platoon. At some point your squad finds civilians but can't decide what to do with them. You snipe some people from a church bell tower. If none of this is familiar, may I suggest one of the millions of pieces of media about World War II?

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments