It’s pretty clear where the inspiration for RAID: World War II comes from, placing it next to a small yet celebrated niche of online co-op shooters. Having cut their teeth developing expansions for Payday 2, RAID marks the Lion Game Lion’s step into something much bigger, but in the same mould. With World War II shooters currently back in vogue, their timing is spot on, but while there’s plenty of meat on the bone, it’s a hard game of recommend when you consider the current calibre of online shooter flooding the market.
The big problem here is the shooting itself. When the majority of your time is spent looking down the barrel of a rifle, shotgun, or pistol, you want the shooting to feel good – snappy yet fluid, with a nice little kick. Sadly you don’t get that in RAID. While the weapons look and sound fine, something doesn’t quite line up.
It’s the enemies. Even when blasted at point blank range they barely flinch, making it hard to tell whether you’ve delivered a killing blow or simply chipped away at their health. Inconsistent hitboxes and the way they move around also makes them difficult to track when aiming down sights, awkwardly shuffling in and out of cover as you’re about to open fire. It’s not that the AI is too advanced, as enemies just dart around so sporadically it’s often to find your target. Either that or they stand motionless in front of you, sometimes too braindead to even return fire.
With the gunplay somewhat lacking, RAID immediately gets knocked down a tier when compared to similar co-op shooters. It gets other things right and even has one or two interesting ideas of its own, but with the shooting being such a massive proponent, we’re already limited in what praise we can offer.
As mentioned before, RAID shares a lot in common with Overkill’s PayDay series as well as earlier entries in this genre such as Left 4 Dead. As a team of four, you and your squad-mates, which can be AI or real people, will launch into a variety of missions, each one helping to destabilize the Nazi regime.
The moment John Cleese appears on-screen, you’ll know this isn’t some kind of hard-hitting war story drama. It’s a shooting gallery and one that strips out a storyline and character building in favour of one-line puns and some questionable use of live action cutscenes.
Each mission follows a vaguely similar template, dropping you and your chums behind enemy lines, tackling one objective after the next. These include blasting open doors, stealing gold, holding off waves of enemies, etc. etc. There’s actually a decent variety to the objectives, but they all involve working together as a team to gun down Nazis.
Sometimes you’ll need to highlight stronger enemies or all jump in a vehicle, but aside from these moments there’s little in the way of meaningful co-op interaction. That said, if you’re going to bother playing RAID at all, then make sure you do so online. As in Payday, the friendly AI is absolutely abysmal. Even with three operatives at your side, all they do is provide support fire, never engaging with objectives or doing anything of actual value. At times they couldn’t even be bothered to revive me, despite bleeding out inches from them without an enemy in sight.
It’s rough around edges but, as with any game of this nature, it’s going to garner a fanbase regardless. This niche audience will revel in running the same missions over and over, unlocking new perks and weapon attachments as well as outfitting their lobby with various decorations. Those looking for an additional challenge will also have fun with RAID’s card system, applying certain buffs and debuffs in order to gain more XP.
I can see how it might reel players in but for me RAID’s appeal is severely limited. Any enjoyment I actually managed to wring from it was ruined by glitches, disconnects and a game-breaking bug that completely wiped my progress. Where a lot of online-oriented games tie progress to your network ID and profiles on servers, a corrupt PlayStation 4 save file stripped me of everything down to my last experience point.
It’s a shame how RAID turned out, really. Although it arguably came out of nowhere, it’s usually games with little to no initial fanfare that can come swooping in to reenergise a gaming genre – just look at the rampant success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Still, Lion Game Lion shouldn’t be disheartened. There’s still a chance to turn RAID into something great, but it’s going to take a long, long time for that to happen.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4 Pro