I’m digging Call of Duty: WWII’s multiplayer. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had playing the series online since Black Ops back in 2010. Sledgehammer has stripped the multiplayer experience back to its roots, before adding some fresh ideas of its own including a brand new social space and class-like Divisions.
Some of these additions are proving more contrarversial than others – You’ve probably already seen clips of WWII’s loot boxes, dropping onto the shores of Normandy beach before spewing out a handful of cosmetics and XP boosts. The fact that these drops occur in a social space with other players watching the crates pop open has also raised concerns. It all links back to the growing presence of microtransactions in AAA games and publishers trying to increase player spending with some attempts more brazen than others.
For me, the worst new feature in Call of Duty is something far more trivial. After years of wading through the toxic mire of video game monetisation it’s fair to say that I’ve built up a resistance. Instead, what irks me is the new ‘Bronze Star’ system.
At the end of each round, players are treated to a brief clip – a replay that is meant to showcase some daring feat or stand-out moment. In other words, it’s a complete rip-off of Overwatch’s ‘Play of the Game’.
Blizzard’s insanely popular shooter will take a snapshot of the best play, highlighting perfectly executed ultimates and multi-kills. Despite some improvements over the past year, it doesn’t always produce the best results, sometimes shunning heroic feats in favour of tedious Bastion and Torbjorn clips as they stand there, unmoving, pumping out huge amounts of damage over a short period.
In Call of Duty: WWII the results are far worse, to the point that Sledgehammer should just remove the system entirely. Nine times out of ten, players are treated to the same clip over and over: some dude aiming down sights as they blindside two or three opponents, gunning them down in rapid succession. Even worse are the ones starring sweaty, bipod-abusing campers staked out in a corner of the map.
Forget the brave shotgun-wielding grunt that manages to nail a pesky sniper or that one guy who captured the enemy flag with seconds on the clock. If you can get a few well-placed kills, your deeds will be captured for the rest of the lobby to see.
There’s no doubt that Sledgehammer had good intentions with this feature. Even today, long after the original Modern Warfare, players still love to edit their own cringey montages over generic dubstep tracks. It’s also a better way to close a round instead of simply watching a replay of whoever got the last kill. Still, the implementation is poor and only manages to highlight the no risk, KDR-obsessed mentality that COD players are known for.
Again, it’s a relatively small thing to moan about but, in its current form, the Bronze Star award feels unnecessary and makes it look as though Sledgehammer is simply ticking boxes.
Our full review of Call of Duty: WWII will be going live later this week.