Dropping in like a hard-earned supply drop is Call Of Duty: WWII’s second expansive DLC pack, The War Machine. In this second helping of DLC content, Sledgehammer Games have introduced three new multiplayer maps, a new operation for the objective-orientated War Mode and hell continues to ensue in a brand new Nazi Zombies chapter. Although this expansion will no doubt test your patience with frustratingly dysfunctional spawn points, it also breathes a refreshed ambience into the franchise as we see two new settings make their way onto the playlists of the shooter series popular online multiplayer. (Read our full review of Call Of Duty: WWII here and our review of The Resistance DLC here.)
As daunting as it can be having to settle into new Call Of Duty content, The War Machine playlist will have you accustom to the three new core multiplayer map additions in no time. The map that I warmed to the least that was also guilty of inducing my obnoxious Call Of Duty rage was, Dunkirk – a name that naturally got lost amongst the other less pleasant names I resorted to calling it after a few antagonising matches. Dunkirk is a WWII appropriate setting and surprisingly enough, one that the franchise has lacked up until this DLC pack. This rectangular map is separated into two parts, one of which being a line of buildings and the other an open beach littered with beached boats, abandoned army jeeps and stripey beachfront shacks. This map isn’t a particularly large one and in turn results in some extremely bothersome spawning issues. In game modes like Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed and Domination, pushing the enemies spawn too aggressively can have them popping up behind you in a heartbeat and diminishing your killstreak in turn.
Moreover, Domination sees an objective centred in the beach half of the map and with scarce amounts of cover, it’s easy to fall victim to players with a good arm for grenade throws. In response to this, more veteran players take to sniping across the beachfront and racking up kills more wearily. In the buildings on the other half of the map, players take up their more nimble and agile Resistance/ Airborne classes and battle it out for kills. Here, they’ll lurk in the shop windows overlooking the doorways waiting to pepper you with rapid fire at the first given opportunity. As inviting as the change of scenery is, the spawns feel far too dysfunctional on this particular map for it to provide the level of enjoyment I’d hoped for.
Next up is Egypt, another fresh-faced multiplayer setting for the franchise and the map I was happiest to see voted for as I rotated through The War Machine Most Pit playlist. The first thing that ensnared my attention as I spawned into a map of gorgeous Egyptian architecture sunk into warm, golden desert sand was just how phenomenal it all looked. It defies the typical Call Of Duty setting – a map riddled with dull crumbling structures sporting every shade of grey – I welcomed that. In my first few games it was hard to focus on the task at hand as I scoured this map in hope of taking in it’s glorious detail including what is presumably The Great Sphinx of Giza looming in the backdrop. More to the point though, Egypt is a wonderfully versatile addition to the multiplayer playlists of Call Of Duty: WWII.
The majority of combat on on this map centres in the middle structure. Here shotgun and more close-quarter focused classes prove their worth as players weave in and out of pillars taking potshots at one another until one falls. It’s probably worth noting however, that this part of the map is also prone to arbitrary explosions from randomly tossed grenades. On the two outside lanes, using the likes of the Lee Enfield and other more long-range rifles pays off as players are able pick off stragglers that try to funnel into the middle section through it’s narrow corridors, desperately trying to join the heated action taking place within. A generous amount of cover is cleverly distributed across all of the map, obscuring objectives in Hardpoint and Domination and allowing for some protection against grenade multi-kills. Egypt definitely isn’t catered towards one class or play-style in specifically and instead encourages variety, making it a much needed asset to the list of existing multiplayer maps.
The final core multiplayer map is, V2 which is set in a rocket development/ test site in Germany. V2 brings the element of more fast-paced gun-play to this particular DLC and with it’s size adds to the preexisting abundance of smaller multiplayer maps. V2 is choc-full of flanking options as players take to circling the around the central tower, focusing their fire inwards to it’s upper and lower platforms. A skilled sniper could easily seek brief refuge at the top of the tower and pick off a number of unwary victims caught in the ruckus below. However, the map sort of feels like one big intersection in that all it’s paths seem to cross. Running from one part of the map is effortless and done fluidly meaning with such a lack of places to take cover, remaining on the move at all times is essential. Explosives most definitely take the spotlight in this map as grenades being tossed into the middle can almost guarantee you a kill or an assist to contribute towards attaining your killstreak rewards.
The primary concern with V2 however, much like Dunkirk is it’s dysfunctional spawning. Scarce spawn points result in a great deal of spawn killing and you’ll no doubt fall victim to being chased spawn-point to spawn-point by a greedy member of the opposition. This is a vicious cycle that becomes all the more irritating in objective-based game modes in which being overwhelmed by the enemy early on could see you with irreparable spawning issues that’ll have you pulling your hair out come the end of the match.
Introduced to the already great War Mode is Operation Husky. Although I loved the existing War Mode missions including that in the first expansion, I had even higher hopes that DLC Pack 2 would really flesh out the content in the mode and bring some new objectives. In Operation Husky the addition of Tripwires and Molotov Cocktails really aid in both breaking through enemy defence lines and protecting sly, more obscure access to objectives. The first objective is rather fun despite weighing more in favour of Axis players. Axis begin the match in a rather advantageous spot; balconies overlook the streets that the Allies must pile through in order to obtain Intel from behind enemy lines. This advantage can however, be countered by a well-coordinated team push. The narrow street-ways of the Berlin setting are packed-full of cover that provides ample protection from the Infantry/ Mountain class players that have a tendency to focus fire on them. The vast majority of my games as the Allies fell apart as individuals took to darting for the Intel as lone-wolves. Unfortunately there’s no “I” in “Team” and this approach often resulted in us being unable to complete the first objective. However, even after your team manages to snag the Intel or “flag” (a minor detail that leaves the new War Mode mission feeling a little incomplete), things only worsen as an even bigger challenge presents itself.
Moving onto the next objective, the Allies must capture an objective holed up in a small square room. Conveniently close spawns and numerous camping spots make for matches mostly favoured towards Axis (again). Much like the previous objective, coordinating a full-frontal assault when playing Allies to contest the point together as opposed to running in aimlessly like lambs to slaughter worked most effectively. More fire-based weaponry aid in taming the point of Nazi forces and in turn, assisting the Allies in collectively bundling on the objective. The third objective introduces a gameplay element alien to Call Of Duty: WWII’s multiplayer as both Allies and Axis take to piloting planes and going head-to-head in a dogfight in amongst the clouds. Here players must battle it out to be the first team to secure 25 kills. Lack of airspace makes out-manoeuvring machine gun fire from enemies exceptionally difficult as you are almost guaranteed to swing your plane out of bounds in a blind panic. It was beyond frustrating hearing call-outs demanding I out-manoeuvre as I breached the perimeter of the battle area with the plane’s wide turn radius, bright red flashing countdown obscuring my screen before consequently being blown to smithereens. Although a section dedicated to aerial-based combat was a nifty little change, it didn’t feel implemented well enough to be as interesting as it could’ve been.
The Shadowed Throne sees the return of hellish screams, blood, gore and zombie hordes. This newest instalment to the Nazi Zombies chapters takes us to the desolated remains of Berlin. The waves initiate in a dark, confined space beneath the wreckage of a building. Here you’ll battle a strong sense of claustrophobia alongside a few dozen zombies using your trusty shovel. As you progress up through the building, passing a bloody corpse that lay sprawled out across a vintage themed bedspread, the map opens up to it’s centre point. This zombie instalment upholds the very same twisted, disconcerting vibe of it’s predecessors. As you walk through rooms coated in blood, zombies feast on fallen civilians and flies linger, buzzing around rotting flesh. Finding your bearings becomes fairly undemanding after a few matches for the size of the map hardly puts in a dent in that of The Darkest Shore. Navigating through rooms adjoined by broken walls is simple enough and the white outlines of your zombie slaying comrades are easy enough to locate thanks to the darker assortment of colours that make up the map.
As always, you’ll be looking to rely on your more savvy teammates to guide you in your first few games. Keeping close and observing well can offer you plenty of insight to completing the steps you need to progress in the chapter and potentially even the Easter Egg. Melee weapons like the Combat Knife, Nail Bat and Pickaxe make carving up the onslaught of zombies a substantially easier task, even more so when they are fully upgraded. Furthermore, the Wunderbuss makes great for taking on an overwhelming horde of zombies once assembled. Darts shot from this weapon stagger enemies, drain them and ultimately charge the weapon. Once enough charge is accumulated, the Wunderbuss let’s out a blast of energy that annihilates groups of huddled zombies. Such advanced weaponry will however, not be necessary for taking on the newest type of zombie. Yes, it is exceptionally disappointing that after the grotesque and quite frankly, completely mortifying spider-zombie of The Darkest Shore that the latest zombie addition is simply a regular zombie that ignites into a flaming corpse that screams demonically at you. It’s just fortunate enough that The Shadowed Throne compensates for this let down in all other aspects of it’s gameplay.
The War Machine DLC offers a refreshing amount of new content, just perhaps content that could have been perfected and implemented a little better. Egypt aside, the core multiplayer maps suffer from annoyingly dysfunctional spawn issues that make the vast majority of matches a huge bullet hole in the rump. Although Operation Husky brings variety to War Mode with new objectives and aerial combat, gameplay teeters more on the edge of frustrating rather than fun. The Shadowed Throne doesn’t include a horrific new zombie addition, but it does include a fantastic new map for taking on zombie hordes, allowing for the intense, fan-favoured reckoning of the undead to continue.
**A code for this DLC Pack was kindly provided by the developer for review purposes**