Another year and another Call of Duty is upon us. With their big reveal earlier in this week, developer Sledgehammer Games (developer of Advanced Warfighter) has promised to take Call of Duty back to its roots. What that exactly means remains to be seen. Beyond the reveal of the World War II setting and some minor gameplay elements, little was shown of what the actual game will be like.
I have been playing Call of Duty games since the original game was first released. Those first games were amazing. The pure spectacle of the single player campaign was unlike anything in gaming at the time. Landing on Normandy beach in Call of Duty 2 is still something I remember to this day. Then, everything changed when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out. In addition to a short, but engaging single player campaign (which included one of the best missions ever in a video game, ‘All Ghillied Up’), the game’s multiplayer was a revelation.
Now I’m sure there are many people out there, like me, who have grown tired of the franchise. The endless sequels, the games that barely feel different from the previous entry, and the phoned-in single player campaigns have led many people to stray from a franchise that once seemed unstoppable.
With that in mind, here are the 8 Things We NEED In Call of Duty: WWII and 7 Things We Don’t.
15 Need: Co-Op Campaign
Co-op campaigns almost seem like a thing of the past these days. Most games seem to fall into one of two categories. You are either a multiplayer focused game (like Rainbow Six: Siege or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) or you are a single player only game (like The Witcher 3 or Outlast 2). There seems to be very little overlap of single and multiplayer games. There are some notable exceptions, like Halo 5, whose single player was built around the idea of co-op play, but most games seem to forgo one or the other.
How great would it be to storm the beaches of Normandy with a group of friends? Or better yet, play an entirely different campaign that is built around cooperative play. It would be a good way to put focus back on the campaign side of Call of Duty, something which seems to have taken a backseat for most gamers.
14 Don’t Want: Slow-Mo Moments
Slow motion moments have been a staple of the Call of Duty campaigns from the beginning. Meant to imitate moments such as the one in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks' character is momentarily stunned during the D-Day landing sequence, these started out as a great and impactful way to focus gamer’s attentions on particularly important or traumatizing events, but has become somewhat of a joke in recent games.
Instead of putting us further in the shoes of the characters we portray, they take us further out of the game. We sit back and wait for one of these moments to occur and when they inevitably do, we roll our eyes and wait for them to be over. Though the trailer certainly hints at more of these moments, let’s hope developer Sledgehammer games keeps them to a minimum in this year’s entry.
13 Need: Great Story
World War II is a war that is imprinted on our society as a collective whole. From its iconic battles and weapons to the horrifying images of the Holocaust and countless lives lost in the conflict, it is a period of time which most people are familiar with.
This collective knowledge provides Sledgehammer Games with a unique opportunity. Instead of telling stories of the most important or iconic moments of the war, they have a chance to explore some of the lesser known areas of the war. While it seems clear that moments like D Day and the Battle of the Bulge will be in WWII, let’s hope they use this opportunity to explore other parts of the war and tell a great story in the process.
12 Don’t Want: Endless Waves Of Enemies
Anyone who has played a Call of Duty campaign knows that the games are notorious for sending wave after wave of enemy after you. It isn't challenging, it isn't fun, it's just annoying. Gamers are looking for particular challenges, with enemies who differ from level to level and who can't be subdued in the exact same way.
This new Call of Duty really needs to show off what these new consoles can do. Give us wide open battlefields in which we can take an objective in multiple ways. Make it challenging because the enemies are smart, not because there are just so many of them crowding the screen at one time.
11 Need: Varied Gameplay
Titanfall 2 didn't get as much recognition as it deserved this year. In addition to having incredibly balanced and fun multiplayer, the single player was a stand out and a big reason for that was the varied gameplay. In Titanfall 2, you weren't just mindlessly running down corridors, blasting loads of mindless enemies. You were wall running, hoping into and out of different Titans, and even switching back and forth in time to solve environmental puzzles and defeat enemies.
It was a great campaign and one WWII should learn from. The single-player game doesn't have to be very long (Titanfall 2 was only about four hours), it just has to be fun. Keep the action moving and keep players doing new and exciting things, not just shooting enemies and ducking behind cover until their health regenerates.
10 Don’t Want: Pick 10 System
The Pick 10 system for choosing your multiplayer loadout was a great system when it was first premiered in the Black Ops II game. Since then, the system has undergone several tweaks as different developers put their own twist on the system, but the overall structure has remained the same.
For Call of Duty: WWII, they need to ditch this system. It has worked well up to this point, but after so many games using essentially the same system, the multiplayer has begun to feel stale. Perhaps a more ‘hero’ based class system could work. It is a system that is very popular in gaming right now, with such notable games as Overwatch and Rainbow Six: Siege using them. It could be an interesting way to change up the CoD formula and get people excited about playing the game again. I realize Infinite Warfare got close to this 'hero' based system with its rig system, but it doesn't go far enough. By taking away some of the choices players have, such as endlessly customizable load outs, they could in turn make a game that is more team focused and fun.
9 Need: Vehicle Combat
World War II has so many great and iconic vehicles that it seems like a waste of an opportunity if players aren't allowed to at least climb into the driver’s seat of a few World War II era vehicles. Imagine driving a m4 Sherman through the fields of France or flying a P-51 Mustang through the air filled with anti-aircraft fire. It just makes perfect sense and is something that would add a lot to this particular game.
Vehicles haven't been featured in multiplayer in a Call of Duty game since World at War. Since they are bringing back World War II as the setting in the game, perhaps it is time to reintroduce vehicles into the multiplayer as well.
8 Don’t Want: Rehash Old Moments
When you think back to Call of Duty missions that really stick out to you, what do you think of? For me, it's the D Day landing sequence from Call of Duty 2 and ‘All Ghillied Up’ and ‘Death From Above,’ both from Modern Warfare.
These missions are iconic and we remember them because they were so original and they were something we hadn’t seen before in a video game or, at least, not done that well. The D Day mission stood out for its pure spectacle. It hinted at the kinds of things Call of Duty would become known for. The ‘All Ghillied Up’ and ‘Death From Above’ missions were such a departure from the normal bombastic missions of the game, that they really stood out.
Lately, CoD campaigns have been less-than-stellar and part of the reason is developers trying to rehash these iconic moments. They’re trying to catch lightening in a bottle twice and it just doesn’t work. What was fascinating and original the first time just doesn’t feel the same way the second or third time. With a war like World War II, there are plenty of moments the developer can find for new and interesting gameplay and not just try to rehash what we’ve already played.
7 Need: More Gore
Call of Duty games have been rated M for Mature for a while now, but while the stories may deal with mature content (like terrorists shooting people in an airport or just war in general), most of the games have shied away from direct depictions of graphic violence. The last game to feature a large amount of gore was World at War. In recent games, a small blood splatter is all you see whenever shooting an enemy.
Now, it may seem like a bizarre request to add more gore to a game that is already violent, but if the gore is done in the proper way, it could add to the overall story the developer is trying to tell. By not shying away from the awful violence of war, Sledgehammer might be able to show the horrors of war and not glamorize it, as has been done by so many games.
6 Don’t Want: Balance Issues
For some reason, Modern Warfare 2 sticks out in my mind as a game that was so unbalanced, with weapons and abilities so easily exploitable that it almost made the game more fun. I still remember sniping people from across the map with duel-wielded Model 1887s or how the air would become so crowded with air support, the other team couldn’t even leave their building.
As much fun as those exploits might have been for my friends and I, WWII needs to be a more balanced kind of game. Gamers are more demanding and knowledgeable than ever these days and any kind of weapons or ability issues will be called out immediately. In addition, these kinds of exploits could kill whatever pro-gaming community might develop around the game. With a beta coming out this summer, Sledgehammer Games should have plenty of time to fix any balance issues before the game comes out in November.
5 Need: Borrow From Other Games
As stated before, Titanfall 2 was a great game and certainly one Sledgehammer games should borrow from when it comes to the single player. But there are other games this new Call of Duty should take from as well.
The Battlefield games have always been known for their wide open maps. Why can't this new Call of Duty introduce something similar? Call of Duty and Battlefield are fundamentally different in their approach to the first person shooter genre, as CoD has always been about fast and frantic action while Battlefield moves at a decidedly slower pace. I'm not saying CoD should change completely, but it is time to change up the formula at least a little and introducing elements from games like Battlefield or Titanfall could go a long way in making CoD feel fresh and exciting again.
4 Don't Want: Console Or Retailer Exclusives
During the live-stream announcement, we learned that Sony's PlayStation 4 would be getting the Call of Duty: WWII beta first. For everyone except the most hardcore gamers or streamers, this will not be a problem. The beta (and game) will still be coming to the other systems.
What shouldn't happen is certain consoles or retailers getting access to exclusive content. Gamers are already putting down $60 (or more) of their hard-earned cash. Why force them to purchase a console or from a retailer they don't normally support, just to get access to all the game's content? Retailer exclusive DLC has been a trend lately and a particularly aggravating one for completionist gamers such as myself. It seems the 'Pro Edition' of the game will be a GameStop exclusive, but hopefully all the content will still be available for all gamers to pick up.
3 Need: Flawed Heroes
The men fighting in World War II weren't super soldiers. They weren't highly trained military elites. For the most part, they were just your average person called upon during a dire time to put their lives on the line.
Call of Duty: WWII's story needs to reflect that in its campaign. It needs to put a human face to the soldiers that fought and died during the war and not turn them into another video game cliché. One of the characters you play in the upcoming game is a 19 year old kid and your actions and the story should reflect your character's youth. There shouldn't be bombastic, heroic moments in this game, just a young soldier doing his best to survive and keep the men next to him alive as well.
2 Don’t Want: Endless DLC
A season pass was already a foregone conclusion for this game it seemed. Not only do most games have one these days, leaked images suggested a season pass for WWII, which was later confirmed during the livestream reveal of the game.
Fine, I get it. Season passes seem like they are here to stay, but at what point does enough become enough? Take for example a game like Rainbow Six: Siege, which has introduced Season Passes for Year 1 and Year 2 of the game. While any new maps are free and all operators can technically be unlocked through playing (though it takes a long time to do so), shelling out $60 for the game and $30 more dollars for each season pass seems excessive. So far, there are no plans for CoD to follow a similar pricing structure and with a new game coming out each year, the chances seem slim; let’s just hope it stays that way.
1 Need: Change Multiplayer In A Meaningful Way
Despite my personal cry for a better single-player experience in Call of Duty: WWII, the real bread and butter of the new game will be its multiplayer. It is what has kept gamers coming back year after year to play each new iteration of the game.
This year, though, something needs to change and I don't mean in the "We added jet packs or wall running" kind of way. I mean the multiplayer needs to change in a substantial and drastic way. I think it is a good sign they are adding a 'hub world' feature to the game similar to what we see in Destiny. However, this can't be the only thing that changes. Everything needs to change from the player load outs, to the size of the maps, to the way the game handles and feels. For this first time in years, I'm excited for a new Call of Duty game, I just hope they live up to my expectations.