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Call of Duty: WWII - The War Machine: DLC Pack 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 18.04.2018

Review for Call of Duty: WWII - The War Machine: DLC Pack 2 on PlayStation 4

Time sure moves fast in COD land. Why it was only just over two months ago that Resistance kick-started the WWII DLC programme and already The War Machine, the second of the planned content quad feed, has landed and is racking up the kill streaks. This accelerated release schedule is no doubt down to Black Ops 4's street date being brought forward a month to October in a bid to avoid a direct clash with the November release of Rock Star's long awaited follow up to Red Dead Redemption. It seems odd that Activision has gone to the trouble of moving its annual sales juggernaut from its regular release spot to an earlier, cowboy-free zone, although it is understandable from a business point of view. While there will no doubt be some market intersection between the two titles, ultimately they appeal to two entirely different crowds. Of course, an earlier release for Treyarch's upcoming entry gives it more of a chance to get its hooks into the faithful COD legions, as well as ensuring that WWII content will be coming thick and fast over the next few months, which should please the trigger happy hardcore.

Okay, so The War Machine... the usual drill applies. Sign up for the ongoing zombie saga, another multi-stage objective-based exercise for the War mode, and three brand spanking new multiplayer maps. Time to roll!

The Shadowed Throne is the third chapter in the current COD undead-a-thon, which sees the unfortunate foursome (ably realised by Katheryn Winnick, Ving Rhames, David Tennant, and Elodie Yung) jump out of the frying pan into the fire or, to be more precise, jump out of the Zeppelin into the zombie-infested ruins of Berlin. Yep, the gang has escaped from the fog-bound island with 'the darkest shore' and end up in the German capital, which is currently in the throes of a full-blown zombie-geddon. At this point, nobody is surprised. It's more of the same festering, stress-inducing gameplay, chock full of Easter eggs to uncover, and shambling corpses to behead.

Visually, Berlin looks awesome, with its rubble-strewn, bombed out streets with numerous interconnected ruined buildings to unlock, explore, and do battle with a seemingly endless stream of cadaverous predators. Admittedly, the few sessions tested during review seemed to be with players equally as clueless as this very reviewer, so bar the discovery of a radio and a painting (no doubt two parts of a bigger puzzle that requires solving to progress), the majority of the time was spent either crawling around close to death or constantly reviving some chap who had decided early on that firearms are for chumps and that using a combat shovel exclusively was the way forward (for a trophy, no doubt). In the interests of full disclosure, this critic isn't a particularly big fan of the zombie mode, but the beauty of these DLC bundles is that they cater for all three strands of the Call of Duty online experience; something for everybody.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: WWII - The War Machine: DLC Pack 2 on PlayStation 4

The excellent War mode gets another addition to its ever growing roster of short burst conflicts and this time it attempts to do something completely new and unheard of for the franchise by adding an aerial dogfighting component. Operation Husky commences on terra firma, though, as the Allied forces attempt a night-time raid in the picturesque Northern Italian town of Sicily, where they are tasked with stealing three items of intelligence from under the collective noses of the Axis team. The Allies have access to a crate of Molotov cocktails, which come in handy for dispersing an efficient defensive backline while, conversely, the Axis side can deploy a number of tripwire bombs to booby trap doors and passageways to even the balance. Should the Allies manage to obtain all three intelligence items before the four-minute timer is up, then the next stage of the operation becomes active.

The heavily guarded radio room becomes the focal point for the advancing Allied squad, who are intent on relaying the freshly gained information back to the HQ, while the Axis team goes all out to prevent that transmission from happening. The final stage of the mission (should it get that far) involves both teams taking it to the skies to duke it out in fighter planes until one of team's squadron of 25 is fully depleted. It's pleasing that Sledgehammer is willing to mix it up with an entirely new play mechanic, but the play area (or sky, as most people know it) could be a bit bigger as its boundaries are hard to spot in the heat of combat. Once a plane veers into the no-fly zone, it doesn't feel quite manoeuvrable enough to get it back into the accepted play area within the ten second limit, which often results in a loss of life. It's still pretty good fun, though. Should the Allies succeed in the third stage of this operation, the skies are cleared for the bombers to get through to drop their payloads; failure and it's off to the firing squad.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: WWII - The War Machine: DLC Pack 2 on PlayStation 4

As is now the norm, The War Machine also features three new multiplayer maps to flex, bully, die, respawn, die again, rinse, and repeat. This time around, it's all killer, no filler.

The first port of call in this trio of deadly locales is Northern Africa or, to be more precise, Egypt. It's an inspired choice that brings some much needed variety to the kill set by trading the usual cycle of muddy, blown up, battle charred arenas for a vibrant, lavishly detailed but no less deadly ruined temple setting situated amongst the Giza pyramids. Combatants get the opportunity to shoot, stab, and spill blood on the sand in a sizeable map that manages to feel both cramped and open in equal measure, all under the watchful eye of the nearby Sphinx that overlooks the whole sorry affair disapprovingly.

The large central chamber of the temple tends to be the main hotspot in objective centric Domination or Hardpoint matches as the numerous tight winding labyrinthine tunnels provide multiple entry points into the mayhem. Plentiful nooks and crannies offer campers the opportunity to lay in wait for a quick ambush but the multiple levels at play make sure that no area is safe for too long as there are always ways of very literally getting the drop on those with low situational awareness. The outskirts of the temple feel generously spacious but still provide enough cover to traverse from point to point safely and can be a useful passage to flank an opposing team that has gotten particularly entrenched in one area. It's a solid map and the highlight of this particular clutch.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: WWII - The War Machine: DLC Pack 2 on PlayStation 4

Next up is Dunkirk, the beachside harbour located in Northern France where, in 1940, a few hundred thousand retreating Allied troops were left stranded as the Axis forces bombed them from above, whilst simultaneously thwarting any attempts to evacuate via the sea. It was an awful predicament that Winston Churchill described as a 'colossal military disaster' but it set into motion a miraculous rescue operation involving thousands of fisherman in a flotilla of small boats, making multiple crossings across the channel. While the recent Christopher Nolan-directed movie of the same name perfectly captured how the human spirit succeeded in overcoming a seemingly impossible situation, it's an event that's hard to encapsulate in a Call of Duty map. It does, however, make for an era-appropriate setting that once more provides the opportunity to spill yet more blood on the sand across a lengthy stretch of heavily bombed and exposed beach-front.

Seasoned snipers will likely get excited at the prospect of finding a nice secluded spot to hunker down in, either in a quiet corner of the beach itself or in one of the overlooking balconies located in the stretch of buildings lining the boardwalk, but it's a map that also caters for the well-disciplined run 'n' gunner, too. These partially destroyed beach-front properties offer an alternate route from one end of the beach to another, although it's often the case that many a tense fire-fight will break out in the enclosed areas between buildings. Those brave enough to hit the sandy shores will find some relief by the plentiful debris scattered about in the form of abandoned boats, vehicles, and tatty looking beach huts, which do a good job of obscuring the more obvious lines of sight. However, the general narrowness of the entire map ensures that the action maintains a breakneck velocity from start to finish, which makes it a winner in this battle-weary reviewer's eyes.

Last, but not least, is V2, which is set in a rural factory located in Peenemunde that manufactures and tests the long range ballistic rocket of the same name. Blood on the sand? Nope... no sand, just hard, efficient German concrete. As the name might suggest, it's an enclosed industrialised compound made up of a lot of buildings of varying size that can either provide some respite from a nearby hail of bullets or play host to some very close quarters, contained gun-based antics. The flow of play here is pretty rapid, making it perfect for those that like to keep it moving. It's a fairly level setting, for the most part, but the central launch tower does seem to be a magnet for activity as it provides an elevated view in all four directions of the compass. Just don't expect to last too long up there as it's very easy to catch a bullet when every other player knows that training a weapon in that general direction and opening fire will likely yield results. Should anybody manage to climb all the way up to the top of the V2 rocket located in the tower and then press the big red button, it will activate a test fire that torches any other players unfortunate enough to find themselves in the lower part of the launch area. Given that this highly flammable spot just so happens to be a very busy thoroughfare, there's potential to really rack up the kills if the timing is right, although, obviously, it's a piece of action that everybody wants in on, so go in expecting a fight.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: WWII - The War Machine: DLC Pack 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The The War Machine trundles on, crushing any and all those that dare get in its way. Sledgehammer delivers yet another bulging kit bag of fresh content for Call of Duty: WWII, offering up great War and Zombies episodes, as well as a particularly strong selection of multiplayer maps. It, coincidentally, arrives during a transitional time for the title, as not only have the Divisions and weaponry customisation systems just received a total overhaul, but infinite sprint has finally been added, which might not sound like a big deal but it ups the tempo considerably. Get to it, soldier!

Developer

Sledgehammer Games

Publisher

Activision Blizzard

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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