What We Wish We Knew
Each new entry into the Call of Duty franchise has its share of similarities and differences to previous games, but all of them put a unique spin on everything from the story campaign to various multiplayer offerings. In Call of Duty: WWII, there are lots of small and big changes to the usual Call of Duty formula that might take players by surprise, whether they’re new to the series or returning veterans.
If you’re looking for more general multiplayer tips, you can check out our Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer beginner’s guide. You can also check out our Call of Duty: WWII beginner’s tips for War mode and guide covering how to survive Zombie Mode.
The thing is, not all of these alterations are immediately apparent to players when they fire up the various game modes. Whether you’re working through the campaign with its new squad mechanics, taking the fight to other players in the new War mode, or trying to survive and complete every objective in Nazi Zombies, these items are things you’ll wish you’d known.
Call of Duty: WWII is out now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For our thoughts about the game, check out our Call of Duty: WWII review. You can also see what other critics are saying about the WWII shooter in our review roundup. And For more on Sledgehammer’s huge title, check out our guide on how to get the Tesla Gun in Zombies Mode or take a look at the quest that rewards you for watching other players open loot boxes.
Medkits Are A Thing
Call of Duty: WWII changes things up with regards to how to keep yourself healthy on the battlefield. When you’re playing through the Story Campaign, you’ll see a health bar in the bottom-left corner of your screen that, obviously, depletes as you get shot. But unlike in past Call of Duty games, you won’t automatically replenish health by taking cover and avoiding damage for a few seconds. You’ll need to use medkits to restore yourself.
Like in older shooters, you can find medkits scattered around the battlefield–they’re marked with the medical cross–but they’re not especially plentiful. CoD: WWII adds an element of strategy to your medkits by allowing you to pick up and store as many as four of them. You can use them whenever you want by hitting the associated button (on Xbox One, for instance, it’s Right on the Directional Pad), to the tune of restoring about half your health in one go. But you’ll still need to be careful, because medkits can be tough to come by and using them carelessly can leave you vulnerable at the wrong time.
Your Squad Is Pretty Useful
You’ll almost never be fighting alone in Call of Duty: WWII–the story’s big focus is on the protagonist, Daniels, and his relationships with his fellow soldiers. You can rely on your squad to shoot enemies, but their most strategic function is in providing you with perks and power-ups on the battlefield. Each character has a different ability, represented by an icon you’ll see on them as they run around. By looking at a character and hitting a button, you can call for a spare medkit from Zussman, ask Pierson to highlight enemy positions, get extra ammo from Turner, and more.
When your squad has its abilities ready, use them. They can give you an edge in battle and keep you supplied, and much of the campaign is actually built around you using their assistance–which means that things like ammo and grenade refills might be a little thin on the ground.
Soldiers Will Call Out For
Call of Duty: WWII includes collectible “mementos” that are similar to the kinds of objects you can pick up around most Call of Duty games, if you’re hunting for 100-percent completion. But there’s another addition to the campaign: Heroic Actions. These non-essential moments include dragging injured soldiers to cover, accepting the surrender of German troops, and saving soldiers who are struggling with an enemy. Complete them, and you work toward an achievement, as well as shorten up the time until your squad’s abilities are next ready to be used.
As you work through the campaign, listen for soldiers calling for help and search for them to find Heroic Actions and complete them. Some, like the injured soldiers or the soldiers fighting enemies, are timed, so make sure you get to them quickly. Heroic Actions work like collectibles, so completing them will earn you some achievements and trophies, as well as make your battles a little easier.
You Can Use Any Gun With Any Division
Multiplayer has some significant changes from the rest of the Call of Duty franchise, and they make the new character loadout system a bit hard to parse at first. You can unlock up to five loadouts, and each one is defined by your soldier’s “Division” — like Infantry or Airborne — which determines what set of perks you can use and unlock during plan. Divisions are, more or less, your character classes, with one specializing in rifles, another shotguns, and another sniping.
Each Division specializes in a particular gun type, and you’ll get a bonus perk, such as a silencer or a bayonet, if you use the division’s weapon when you have that division equipped. But you’re not forced to use any gun. Like previous Call of Duty games, you can customize your loadout significantly. Don’t feel stuck with a rifle or an SMG just because it fits the Division you’re currently using. Use whatever you like best and which makes you most effective.
You Can Level Up For Your Play Style
The new Division system doesn’t just add specializations and perks for your guns. You’ll also “level up” your Division ranks just like you level up your character. The more time you spend playing a particular Division, the more perks you’ll unlock for it. The same goes with weapons.
Take some time early on to figure out what kind of player you want to be and what you want to focus on, and pick your Division and weapons accordingly. You can unlock all five Divisions pretty quickly as you level up, but once you know which one fits you best, stick with it. You can always try a different play style later, but the perks you’ll unlock–like faster reloading speeds or quicker sprinting–can have a serious effect on your game and strategy while you play. Best to get those perks as fast as you can.
In War, Building Defenses Is Everything
“War” is an objective-based mode that’s new to Call of Duty: World War II. It pits to teams against one another, with one group attacking different objectives and locations, and the other attempting to defend those same areas. War is full of map locations where the defending team needs to hold a position or protect objects from being stolen, destroyed or utilized by the other team. And it takes a page from Call of Duty’s long-running “Zombies” mode by allowing you to build defenses that can help.
As the defending team, you not only can set up defenses and barriers to stop the attackers, you pretty much have to. Most maps start the defending team only slightly ahead of the attackers, and all defenses, like 50-caliber machine gun emplacements and pathway barriers, are down when you start. The first thing you should do in each War map as the defense is head spread out with your team and build your defenses as fast as you can–somebody has to. If you fail to set them up, you’ll be overrun by the other team extremely quickly.
Always Bring Smoke Grenades to War Matches
Call of Duty games have included non-lethal equipment to help you obscure your position to the enemy in the past, but never before has the smoke grenade been so essential as it is in the new War mode. With players constantly crowding objectives on both sides, using things like mounted machine guns to tear up the other team, obscuring the vision of your opponents can often be the difference between winning a match and getting stomped at a tough choke point.
Be sure that at least one of your loadouts includes a smoke grenade, and if you’re heading into War with a team of buddies, it’s worth taking a moment to make sure they all do the same. It’s a newbie mistake not to have any smoke, but that doesn’t stop whole teams from suddenly finding themselves getting mercilessly sniped at the bridge in Operation Breakout or trapped on the Normandy beach in Operation Neptune. Bring smoke; you’ll be glad you did.
It’s All About Objectives In Nazi Zombies
The long-running “Zombies” mode in Call of Duty games is outwardly about surviving for as long as you can against waves of ever-stronger zombie monsters. But inwardly, it’s really about completing a series of obtuse, never-well-explained objectives in order to unlock more and more of the map and, eventually, defeat it. Objectives have never been more important in Call of Duty: WW2’s Nazi Zombies mode–they’re so important, the game gives you a journal to track them in.
Unlike previous Zombies modes, your journal means you always have some vague idea of what you should be doing and where you should be going as you play through Nazi Zombies. Pulling up the journal also often highlights objective locations, as well as objects you can interact with. Inexperienced players will get mired in fighting zombies constantly, but if you want to excel at Nazi Zombies, pay attention to the objectives and try to meet them–preferably before you’ve killed so many enemies that you’re dealing huge waves of nearly indestructible undead.
You Can Customize Your Nazi Zombies Guns
Unlike previous iterations of Zombies, Call of Duty: WW2 works some of the multiplayer progression system into its cooperative mode. As you earn experience with different weapons found on the Nazi Zombies map, you’ll unlock weapon attachments for those guns. Just like in the game’s multiplayer mode, you can set up your guns with bonus attachments to handle the way you like.
You can customize your Nazi Zombies guns on the Soldier menu tab between matches, and it works just like adding attachments to your multiplayer weapons. You still have to spend Jolts to purchase the gun on the Nazi Zombies map, but when you get them, they’ll be set up the way you like with the attachments you’ve earned.
You Can Pick (And Customize) Your Class In Nazi Zombies
In addition to picking your character at the start of a Nazi Zombies round, you can also choose a class specialization that gives you special abilities. The generic choices are Offense, Control, Medic and Support, and each gives you a powerful ability that recharges over time, allowing you to do things like dominate the battlefield or escape danger.
Classes open up a lot of possibilities in Nazi Zombies. First, they add a new layer of team collaboration that can carry you far in the cooperative mode. You don’t want four Medics, for instance, and coordinating which class you choose with your teammates can help you last as long as possible in Nazi Zombies. Once you level up a bit by playing, you can also customize a loadout for your character that fits your play style. Figure out what role suits you best and stick with it for maximum zombie destruction.
You Can Share Your Jolts
Jolts are the currency of Nazi Zombies, earned principally by killing monsters. You’ll use them for everything from unlocking new weapons to opening doors and activating objectives. Most importantly, Jolts are spent on making you and your guns stronger so you can survive and thrive as the waves of zombies you face get tougher and tougher over time. The trouble is, it can be easy to run out of Jolts at key moments, leaving you vulnerable.
But like in the Zombies mode of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, you can share your money with other players if you have an abundance and they don’t. Especially with players who don’t know the objectives well, teams often find one person is spending all their Jolts advancing the game, while others are accidentally stockpiling them. Use the D-Pad to share your Jolts with players who need them, and you’ll have a better chance of keeping everyone in peak fighting condition to stay alive as long as possible.