By: Elias Atienza
Call of Duty: WW2 wants you to believe that you’re going to play something different. And it is, in terms of gameplay, it might be. It is in terms of the feel of a war game, as if you’re going to become attached to the people you’re fighting alongside with, something that hasn’t really been achieved since Call of Duty IV: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.
But in terms of story? It’s basically Band of Brothers, Call of Duty II: Big Red One, and Saving Private Ryan all rolled up into one game. You’re storming the beaches of Normandy. You’re fighting Germans in France and Germany. And you’re playing as an American most of the time, though you will play as a French resistance fighter and a British intelligence officer in some missions. It’s the Western Front again.
What really made Call of Duty: World at War different the other ones is that you weren’t just fighting the Germans. You fought the Japanese from Makin Island to Okinawa. Sure, you fought as an American, but it was different fighting in a setting that isn’t visited in mainstream games.
In addition, they missed adding the 442nd Regiment which was made entirely of Japanese-Americans or the 761st Tank Battalion, an all African-American tank unit. For all their talk of ‘diversity’, they’re not really living up to it.
What Sledgehammer really missed though, was adding an Axis campaign. Video games set in World War II don’t touch upon the Axis in the campaign mode. They are a faceless enemy that you get to mow down. And yes, the Nazis and the Japanese committed great evils such as the Holocaust and killing millions in China, Russia, and other countries. But at the same time, they fought in the war, had dreams, and friendships. Where’s the German version of Band of Brothers in video games, especially in AAA games?
From Rommel leading the Germans in the desert against the British to the Italians invading Greece or the Japanese in China, there’s diverse settings that game developers could go to. But no one is brave enough to do so apparently. Sledgehammer games really missed the mark here. They could have blazed a new trail, but offered more of the same.
Battlefield 1 worked well because they a diverse cast and historic settings. From the Western Front, to the Italian Front, to the Middle East, they captured the scale of World War I. Sledgehammer Games will not do that.
At least Call of Duty came back to their roots. I’m still excited for this game, but I believe they had a missed opportunity to introduce something unique and powerful.