Finally, COD returned to its World War roots with last year’s game, a welcome respite from the future-war themes the series had been experimenting with over the last few outings. No more Advanced Warfare/Infinite War/Black Ops proved to be a good thing, with WWII earning its share of positive reviews from gamers and critics alike, even if its initial multiplayer map variety left much to be desired.
While it wasn’t groundbreaking, it was safe and comfortable.
Anyone hoping the game’s first DLC pack would do something to stretch WWII beyond that comfort will be disappointed. It’s essentially more of the same, with two fairly large disappointments that are likely to annoy parts of the fan base more than anything else: another remake of an older map and the fact that this pack doesn’t include four new maps as has been the norm with COD’s DLC packs since 2009.
The Resistance DLC adds two new maps to the game, Anthropoid and Valkyrie, a remake/remaster of the Resistance map from Modern Warfare 3 (Occupation), and a fourth map that’s limited to War Mode called Operation Intercept. Check out the official video below:
It also brings the newest Zombies episode, called Darkest Shore, which unfolds on a fog-filled, Nazi-zombie-infested island. And while you can play as the new Resistance class in the DLC, that’s not officially part of this pack as it was added to the base game as a free update.
First, the good: the two genuinely new maps are a lot of fun to play. Valkyrie was my favourite of the two, as its Wolf Lair-inspired design encouraged my favoured play style with its bunkers and tight corridors that made for some truly satisfying gunplay, especially with shotguns. The flow of the map is particularly good, too, even though its limited spawn points occasionally led me into a spawn trap. I just love how frantic the action always is on this map, as that’s what I want from my COD multiplayer experience.
Anthropoid is the biggest of the new maps, featuring great locations to snipe from but also plenty of cover and paths for flanking manoeuvres as it plays out in the ruins of Prague. I found I would often go for a little swim so I could do some sneaky sniping from the river, which would earn me a few free kills until the enemy team got wise to it. Ruined Prague is gorgeous, even on WWII’s engine, having taken inspiration from Operation Anthropoid, the Allied operation to take out high-ranking German officers in Prague on 27 May, 1942. There’s a lot to like about this map, although I still enjoyed playing on Valkyrie more.
And now the disappointments (sort of, see below): the sniper-friendly Occupation map, and Operation Intercept. While I can appreciate the developers’ desire to further polish and refine fan-favourite maps and include them in future releases, Occupation feels like a cynical cash grab. I want new maps in my paid-for DLC, please, not old maps.
And besides, this is the second remake of Resistance, as another version also appeared in Infinite Warfare’s third DLC, Absolution, called Ember. C’mon, guys.
Still, Occupation’s long open spaces and sniper-dodging can be fun and challenging, but more often than not I came away annoyed at the many, many sudden deaths I suffered; that could be my own fault as I like the sprinting and shooting that COD is known for, but that tends to make me an easy sniper target. Skilled snipers can definitely have a ball pwning everyone, though, and the new visuals are undoubtedly pretty, but the sense of having done this all before is very strong here. As a result, I played this map the least.
Ripping on Operation Intercept is a bit more complicated, as while it is a disappointment from the perspective of it replacing a full-blown multiplayer map that all of COD’s modes can be played on, it’s actually pretty good otherwise. That’s because of War Mode has players fighting for an over-arching narrative objective as opposed to just shooting everything in sight – this time, it’s freeing French Resistance fighters from the train they are on, destroying 25 radios to help cover their escape, and then escorting a tank that’s trying to stop an Axis train loaded with munitions from reaching its destination.
Enemy teams fight to stop the Allies from pulling this off, natch, and can repair damaged radios (which are spread liberally around the map) and close boxcar doors on the train to stop Allied progress, making the challenge fun regardless of which team I was on. Often, winning or losing came right down to the wire, adding a welcome layer of tension to matches that I thoroughly enjoyed.
So much so, that I played Intercept far more than the other maps in the DLC, and forgave Activision for having it replace a regular MP map. So while it was initially disappointing, the execution kind of made up for it.
Don’t worry about the header – the new Nazi Zombies mode in this DLC is actually pretty damn good. But holy hell those zombies are ugly, so I thought it appropriate.
The Darkest Shore starts out with a creepy boat ride to an even creepier island. It’s shrouded in fog, too, which comes and goes and obscures enemies who’d give me a fright when they inevitably reappeared (just about every damn time!). The island is also aggressively defended by the German airforce and navy, so your poor four-person team is really in for a hell of a fight. At least you get to take Ving Rhames along for the ride. Ving Rhames is cool.
The map this time around is a bit smaller and more claustrophobic, but just as disgusting and fraught as it was in The Final Reich, full of unapologetic gore and puzzles players need to solve before progressing. Players face down wave after wave of zombies, earning Jolts through kills, with which to open doors, get ammo, upgrade weapons and unlock helpful abilities, all in their pursuit of Doctor Straub – Nazi Zombies’ main antagonist.
I’ve seen some players ranting online about how much they didn’t enjoy this game’s Zombie mode, citing what they feel is a lack of effort put in by Sledgehammer (probably due to the abilities this time around being largely the same as in TFR), but I loved it. It was fun even on my own, if a bit frustrating until I learned its layout and how to best take advantage of the upgrade/unlock system. Once I had the Ripsaw, I was in heaven!
A mixed bag?
At first glance, this DLC is a bit of a mixed bag. The lack of four full multiplayer maps is a bit of a turn-off and I wasn’t nuts about Occupation, the Resistance re-remake, but Operation Intercept really did a lot to get me to forgive Activision for that. The Darkest Shore was also a genuinely fun addition to the over-arching Zombies narrative Sledgehammer has crafted for WWII (plus I like co-op), so ultimately I have to say this pack is worth the cash.
It’s not groundbreaking, by any means, but more of the same of a formula that’s proved it has legs is hardly a bad thing. Right? In my book, that earns it a solid 7.
This DLC was provided by the local distributor of the game, and played on Xbox One. It retails separately for R239 (base game required), and also comes as part of COD: WWII’s season pass (R716.50). It’s also available on PC and PlayStation 4.