Call Of Duty: WWII Review

Call of Duty’s long-awaited return to its World War II roots is not only a homecoming, but also a commemoration of the powerful bonds that form between brothers in arms. Yes, connecting with strangers through online matches and the Zombies mode isn’t unusual, but Call of Duty: WWII’s moving campaign also salutes the brotherhood that grows and strengthens on the battlefield. Moreover, this theme is cleverly tied to a gameplay mechanic where you rely on your company for resources. Seen through the eyes of an American soldier and a few other Allies, this affecting story offers brief glimpses of how the Nazi occupation ravaged Europe and its people, including German civilians. It’s emblematic of a game that–along with its multiplayer modes–delivers practically everything that one looks for in a pick-up-and-play shooter set in the Western Front of World War II while also breaking free of Call of Duty’s formulaic trappings.

A first-person shooter set during the journey from Normandy to The Rhine isn’t unique, but you haven’t quite experienced anything like the tour of Ronald Daniels and the 1st Infantry Division in Call of Duty: WWII. It’s a substantial, six-plus-hour trek where intense close-quarters combat complements spectacular showcase events, brought to life through excellent visuals and sound design. The booming cacophony of gunfire is fittingly accompanied by the crispness of the weapon reloads. And it’s a journey rich in scenic environments that poignantly contrast against the death and destruction that surrounds you.

A supporting cast of well-crafted personalities greatly enhances the narrative. Moreover, they directly assist you during combat based on your needs and performance. As your best friend, Robert Zussman fittingly takes care of your health pack supplies while the equally helpful Drew Stiles ensures you have enough grenades at the ready. And while the war-hardened William Pierson is an dispassionate commanding officer effectively played by Josh Duhamel, his eagle-eye skill with binoculars allows you to spot outlines of nearby enemies. These contributions are tied to a cooldown that decreases as you kill enemies. This kill-driven method of supply replenishment is undeniably gamified, but it’s nonetheless a crafty way to serve the narrative’s focus on bonding with your squad.

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While this is clearly Daniels’ story, developer Sledgehammer thoughtfully shifts your perspective from time to time by putting you in other soldiers’ boots, from Perez, a tank commander, to Rousseau, a French resistance operative. These valuable interludes relieve you of playing as the typical one-man army from start to finish. Sure, in the right hands, Daniels can be the war’s greatest sniper and an accomplished AA gun operator in the same playthrough, but this campaign is a group effort and ultimately benefits from it.

Combat itself is not about rushing forward to the next objective. It’s about hunkering down at nearly every fallen table, picking off just enough Nazis to give you an opening to the next cover point. Whether you’re toughing out every yard of forward progress with your best available machine gun, or quietly knifing Nazis in the tough-but-fair stealth sections, the campaign delivers a wealth of harrowing battles where checkpoints feel well-earned. And as you count on your squad for supplies and recon support, you feel empowered as a valuable team player in a company that has your back. The result is a level of gratification missing from the newsreel kitsch and globetrotting designs of the series’ last foray into World War II, Call of Duty: World at War.

It’s a story supported with just the right amount of emotion, playing out both during firefights and periods in between. You have the option to add to your heroic reputation by saving wounded and exposed comrades or sparing surrendering Nazis. And Sledgehammer carefully humanizes Germans with dialogue that acknowledges the country’s cultural contributions as well as having you play through a section where you help innocent civilians escape a heated warzone. Such small touches go a long way in adding heartfelt gravitas in a game focused on killing.

Naturally foregoing the future tech and superhuman mobility of the last few CoDs, the return to mid-20th century combat is especially welcome in WWII’s adversarial multiplayer. Fought across 10 diverse maps set throughout Europe, these locales accommodate all the series’ basic weapon types, although the prevalence of tight and enclosed areas makes shotguns and submachine guns the popular weapons of choice in Team Deathmatch and other classic modes like the territorially driven Domination or Hardpoint. Whatever your preferred game type, the maps offer a solid mix of symmetrical floorplans like Flak Tower or labyrinthine layouts like the Ardenne Forest.

Gridiron–WWII’s version of Uplink–proves that Capture The Flag converted into a ball carrying competition continues to have a place in COD multiplayer. Even without the advantages of double jumps and wall running, there’s much strategy at play as you weave in and out of the ruins of Aachen, Germany or the docks of London, the latter toying with the fantasy of Nazis troops on UK soil. It’s more nuanced than simply running the ball to the enemy’s goal; success lies in knowing when to pass to a teammate or throw the ball forward, allowing you to sprint until you repossess the ball. It’s also not unusual to find joy playing whole sessions in a supporting role, whether you’re making yourself a diversionary target as the ball carrier’s escort or drawing the ire of opponents by camping at your goal.

If you are a sniper fan, your talents shine the brightest in War, Call of Duty: WWII’s version of Battlefield’s Rush. As a mode where one side of attackers attempt to conquer multiple segments of a map one section at a time, its multi-phase, linear format makes it a prime battleground for long-ranged weapons, whether you’re picking off on-foot tank escorts or you’re bold enough to zero in on bunker-based machine gunners. The asymmetrical format of assaulting and defending fits the D-Day invasion perfectly as one of the three available operations. Rather than limit the attacking side with finite respawns, the pressure is time-based. While this places the burden of success more on the aggressor’s side, playing on either team presents distinct challenges and opportunities to be a valuable contributor. All operations proved involving and satisfying, no matter the side, which makes the limited selection of three sorties the one drawback of this otherwise stellar mode.

Whatever your preferred armaments, Call of Duty: WWII’s new Divisions class system excels by letting you make the most of your specific play style while offering the flexibility to diversify your loadouts. By joining the Expeditionary Force for example, you have the exclusive benefit of incendiary shotgun rounds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t switch to an assault rifle mid-match. The more you play, the more rewards you earn that can be spent to hone your personal armory and abilities to suit your needs. Adding to your identity-building are the myriad cosmetic items you unlock by opening supply crates, which are awarded regularly as you play. This blind box system plays out innocuously, with no pay-to-win shortcuts in sight, at least in the game’s launch iteration.

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Tying these adversarial multiplayer modes together is the activity-rich social hub aptly titled Headquarters. Set against the backdrop of the Allied-occupied beaches of Normandy, this lively gathering spot is an inviting site to chill and train in ways impossible in standard issue multiplayer menus. Between the cluttered user interface and the checklist of available objectives, Headquarters feels overwhelming at first, but it speaks to the richness of this area’s practical and entertaining activities. Along with completing goals related to the social aspects of Headquarters (e.g. commending your fellow soldiers) for modest amounts of in-game currency, greater rewards are in store if you activate Contracts. These timed challenges provide incentives to perform well in online matches beyond just maintaining a respectable kill/death ratio.

Headquarters itself offers its share of stimulating gunplay. A real-time score duel against a stranger at the shooting range delivers a 30-second competitive thrill, but the marquee match is in the 1-vs-1 pit. Its single-weapon stakes are socially enhanced by letting those in the queue watch current matches while they wait their turn. This spectator appeal even extends to watching others open their loot crates, effectively echoing the childhood pastime of opening collectable card packs with friends. It’s the place to feel motivated by higher ranking players who wear their prestige status icons proudly. Sledgehammer knows what a big deal prestiging is as evidenced by the fanfare and spectacle of a plane flybys when you reset your rank.

Pairing cooperative play with the appeal of a goal-driven narrative, Zombies once again proves its worth as an essential Call of Duty mode. Titled The Final Reich, this survival mode of fantastical fiction pits players against waves of the undead in a Bavarian village. It’s a setting as expansive outward as it is downward, where it can be easy to get separated in the midst of having to fend off zombies from all sides. When you’re not busy trying to stay alive, you’re completing objectives, activating switches, and uncovering the town’s occult secrets, some involving symbols hidden in paintings scattered around the map. Those who thrive on multitasking will find the abundance of action items and the near relentless influx of brain-dead enemies positively engrossing. Yet you’re delusional if you think you can complete The Final Reich after just a couple attempts.

Like the best iterations of Zombies, this latest take is loaded with different forms of carrots that compel fans to come back again and again. Chief among these motivations is how it instills the belief that you and your friends can progress just a bit further in your next session. Along with naturally gaining a better familiarity of the map and the many zombie types, repeat playthroughs reward players with a host of meaningful upgrades and quality-of-life conveniences, from passive buffs to custom loadout slots. Sure, you can amass the highest body count among the team by playing with the Offense loadout, but imagine how much more valuable you’d be if you customized your ability set with a support skill normally reserved for Medics.

Compared to multiplayer, loot crates in Zombies play a much larger, more practical role, adding to the mode’s value as a compelling showpiece at the same level of Call of Duty: WWII’s other game types. Any given pack can contain a game-changing consumable, whether that’s a few free revives or a couple zombie-obliterating panzerschrecks. Figuring out when to use these valuable enhancements is part of the fun: Do you use your best consumables now to make a modicum of forward progress, or do you save these items for when you’ve committed the map layout and objectives to memory?

Ultimately, if every shooter set in the European Theater of World War II is measured by how it depicts its D-Day landing–assuming it has such a mission–Call of Duty: WWII emphatically succeeds in its impactful designs and delivery. The sensation of riding the troop carrier as it approached the beach filled me with depression more than dread, knowing I’d survive eventually while many of my surrounding brothers in arms wouldn’t. While not equally emotional, this battle’s reinterpretation in War mode proves to be a highlight in a superb suite of competitive modes. Zombies rounds off this stellar return to form, effectively blending the ferocity of online cooperative play with the goal-driven satisfaction of found in the campaign. As one of the most comprehensive and filler-free Call of Dutys in recent memory, Call of Duty: WWII successfully capitalizes on the series’ strengths.

Reviewer’s note: Call of Duty: WWII was primarily evaluated in a controlled “review event” environment hosted by Activision. As such, we haven’t had the opportunity to fully test the online performance on public servers. Once we’re able to do so, this review will be updated accordingly.

Update: We’ve now spent a handful of hours in multiplayer matches with both the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. Though there were moments when lobbies were slow to load, and instances when Headquarters were empty, these issues were sporadic. Otherwise, matchmaking and connections have been largely stable. We’ve converted this into our final review, and have updated our score to reflect the Xbox One version of the game. – Peter Brown, Saturday, Nov. 4, 12:00 PM PST

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Review

Be sure to visitIGN Techfor all the latest comprehensive hands-on reviews and best-of roundups.Note that if you click on one of these links to buy the product, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, read ourTerms of Use.

Following our coverage and benchmarks of the Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 Ti AMP! Extreme, let’s take a look at another 1070 Ti GPU in this class from Asus. It’s the company’s ROG Strix model (See it on Newegg), making it a very close cousin to the company’sGTX 1080 Ti.

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Super Lucky’s Tale Review

Though it shares a protagonist, art style, and platforming mechanics with 2016’s Lucky’s Tale on Oculus Rift, Super Lucky’s Tale is distinct from its predecessor–at least at first. It features an entirely new set of levels and a greater focus on collectibles, but it’s still a paint-by-numbers 3D platformer that lacks depth and falls short of being memorable.

Aside from how it looks, Super Lucky’s Tale is almost indistinguishable from an N64-era mascot platformer. Lucky, a plucky fox wearing a little cape, has to save a series of four realms from a band of evil cats known as Kitty Litter. Along the way, you collect clovers to open boss doors and meet cute, if two-dimensional, characters who speak like Sims and need your help. It’s never too challenging, always sticking to its safe, time-tested formula as you jump and dodge and collect your way to becoming a hero.

Though it’s generic, Super Lucky’s Tale is certainly charming, from Lucky’s encouraging quips to the little smiles that appear on everyone’s, even enemies’, faces. Despite being under attack from the Kitty Litter, the worlds are joyous and colorful, looking a little extra sharp on the Xbox One X. The holiday-themed desert world is a standout if only for its offbeat combination of aesthetics–it features Yetis who live in a candy cane- and skeleton-adorned desert and live to wrap presents for each other.

The four worlds are split into five main levels and a handful of optional levels that earn you extra clovers. Most of the main levels are short bursts of 3D platforming, though a few are 2D, and the optional ones vary from constant runners to simple puzzles. The variety is welcome if only because most levels feel too similar; aside from a few mini-challenges in some levels, like corralling a flock of escaped chickens for a weary farmer worm, most of the time you’re just jumping past easy-to-avoid obstacles to reach an obvious end point.

There are technically four kinds of collectibles: coins, gems that function essentially as coins, the letters L, U, C, K, and Y, and clovers. But clovers are the only collectibles that matter. There are four to collect in each of the main levels, though you automatically get one just by completing the level. Collecting 300 coins will get you the second clover, the only real benefit to collecting coins; finding a secret, like a underground bonus stage, will net you another; and finding all the letters in Lucky’s name, easily the most fun collectible, earns you the fourth. The letters reward deeper investigation and a sharp eye for switches and hidden routes, though only a few of the many letters hidden throughout the game take more than a few extra moments to find.

And you don’t need to find them, because you’ll likely get enough clovers (or close to it) by playing normally, maybe returning to a level to get one of the coin clovers. You could easily beat Super Lucky’s Tale by disregarding anything that takes extra effort, which would be fine if the platforming were enjoyable enough on its own. But a limited 3D camera that doesn’t rotate a full 180 degrees and inconsistent mantling on Lucky’s part causes enough hiccups to be frustrating. Most of your deaths will be caused by missing or misjudging jumps due to a weird camera angle or Lucky just not grabbing the edge when it looks like he should have.

Across all four of its worlds, Super Lucky’s Tale doesn’t stray far from its formula. It’s consistently cute and full of smiles, but the breeziness of its atmosphere extends to its simple levels. It never builds upon itself or asks much of you, including the building blocks of a 3D mascot platformer without the feeling of accomplishment you get from learning and applying that knowledge to new challenges. It’s easy to imagine how Super Lucky’s Tale would be the highlight of a younger kid’s weekend, but it has little to offer anyone looking for an enjoyably challenging 3D platformer.

Blade of the Immortal Review

There’s nothing quite like a samurai movie where one guy carves their way through a literal army of anonymous (but probably evil) enemies. It’s a tradition that extends through films like the iconic Lone Wolf & Cub films, the classic Sword of Doom, the totally awesome Azumi, and now Takashi Miike’s blood-splattered and emotionally ripping Blade of the Immortal.

Based on a manga series by Hiroaki Samura, Blade of the Immortal tells the story of Manji (Takuya Kimura), a samurai who killed 100 men for his master, destroyed his sister’s life in the process, and then watched her get slaughtered before he could atone for his sins. Manji takes his bloody revenge but is denied his own death by an 800-year-old sorceress named Yaobikuni (Yko Yamamoto), who fills his body with disgusting bloodworms which close every one of his wounds and make him immortal.

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My Friend Dahmer Review

Jeffrey Dahmer was, by any rational estimation, one of the most horrifying human beings of the 20th century. By the age of 31 he had murdered at least 17 men and boys, and then collected, eaten or did other unspeakable things to their dead bodies.

So it’s a little hard to imagine any filmmaker eliciting too much sympathy for Jeffrey Dahmer, and to his credit, writer/director Marc Meyers doesn’t seem to have made that his goal. His new film, My Friend Dahmer, offers an illuminating look into the life of a burgeoning serial killer in the years just before he committed his first murder. And he doesn’t try to sell you on the idea that Dahmer was just a misunderstood victim of his own compulsions.

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Batman #34 Review

“Rules of Engagement is one of this series’ shorter arcs, clocking in at a mere three-issues-long. But even with that smaller scope, this story feels overly drawn-out in its middle chapter. Despite is compelling premise, this arc isn’t doing enough to take advantage of the Batman/Catwoman/Talia triangle.

Batman #3 was able to coast along partly on the mysterious nature of Batman and Catwoman’s quest. We didn’t know why the duo were breaking Justice League by-laws and invading a remote desert fortress, only that the rest of the superhero community was very unhappy about their actions. That momentum stalls somewhat in this new chapter. Writer Tom King adds some extra context to the situation and the real reasons for this showdown, but there’s little real sense of progress. As much as repetition in dialogue and imagery is a hallmark of King’s Batman run, here the repetition tends to wear out is welcome.

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AOC AGON AG322QCX Curved Gaming Monitor Review

Be sure to visitIGN Techfor all the latest comprehensive hands-on reviews and best-of roundups.Note that if you click on one of these links to buy the product, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, read ourTerms of Use.

Trying to find the right PC gaming monitor in 2017 can seem like a rather daunting task. There’s a multitude of panel types, refresh rates, response times, and of course, price levels. AOC’s AGON AG322QCX (See it on Amazon)/ (See it on Amazon UK)attempts to find middle ground between packing in all the bells and whistles a gamer could want at a price that won’t break the bank. With a 2560 x 1440 resolution, a curved 31.5 screen, AMD’s FreeSync adaptive refresh rate technology, and a 144Hz refresh rate the AG322QCX has a really impressive feature set for a $400 monitor. But does the budget price lead to budget picture quality? I put this monitor through its paces to find out.

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Super Lucky’s Tale Review

If there are two things a 3D platformer cannot have, it’s a crappy camera and sluggish controls.

Super Lucky’s Tale has guess what? a crappy camera and sluggish controls. Those problems and the general sense that you’re playing a generic Mario imitation totally blow the potential of this cute, family-friendly game.

To Lucky’s credit, the mission variety across its four worlds isn’t bad. Some stages are totally side-scrolling, while others are 3D free-roamers where you’re out to collect four-leaf clovers at the end. And it all looks nice and colorful, if a tad bland. It’s just that actually progressing through those missions is a pain, especially if you’ve recently played the outstanding Super Mario Odyssey.

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Arrow: “Reversal” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

It seems like all the Arrowverse shows are going through growing pains to some degree or another this year. In many ways, Arrow is currently struggling the most. The series has made some poor choices in following up on the Season 5 cliffhanger. And unlike Supergirl, The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow, there’s little sense of what the driving conflict is meant to be this season. That sense of uncertainty is continuing to hinder the show, even as a major Season 6 player made his debut this week.

Thanks to Reversal, we finally know what character Michael Emerson is playing this season. Emerson is Cayden James, the mysterious super-hacker whom Felicity helped free from ARGUS custody late in Season 5. As with the Damien Darhk teases in Season 3, it’s clear the writers were planning ahead on this one. Which is always nice, but the show has a long way to go before James becomes a villain worthy of the Adrian Chases and Slade Wilsons of the Arrowverse.

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Gotham: “A Day in the Narrows” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

Heh. Hi, Headhunter.

Aaaand bye, Headhunter.

The GCPD were the absolute worst they’ve ever been this week on “A Day in the Narrows” while they openly beat citizens to a pulp looking for a witness to Pyg’s cop kidnappings. It was full-tilt lunacy from the worst police department on TV, on a show that’s now retro-acknowledged its flaws by openly owning the fact that its cops are so terrible.

I can’t really decide here if things, basically, needed to get this out of hand in order for real change to occur – since, by the end, the cops (we assume all of them) sided with Gordon over Penguin – but what I do know is you can’t get away with having stupid things happen on a show just because you have other characters talk about how stupid they are. Like the delivery guys who went into the precinct with 44 blood-soaked boxes of mystery meat. Having Jim call out how dumb they were doesn’t make up for…how dumb they were.

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