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Review: Call of Duty: WWII - The Resistance: DLC Pack 1 (PlayStation 4)By FiDRoC At 04.02.2018 16:47

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"Right soldier, let's talk about Operation Intercept. This mission takes place on the outskirts of St. Lo in France, a town heavily occupied by the Axis forces that currently hold a number of French Resistance operatives prisoner in a pair of safe-houses located at opposite ends of the main street. Reaching these safe-houses will be tough as the entire ground approach is overlooked, so you would be advised to make a slightly safer passage through the bombed out central buildings, if possible, as they provide adequate cover, to a certain extent. As Allies, we need to break through any fortifications they may erect using dynamite if need be and ensure that each prisoner manages to escape safely before we are able to move onto the next stage of our brief, but be aware that the Axis guys have a few solid combat carpenters standing by to quickly rebuild any downed barricades.

"Should we succeed with our rescue mission, our location provides us with the perfect opportunity to hit the Axis forces hard by taking down one of their major communications hubs. We'll need to destroy every single item of radio equipment they hold by any means necessary; 25 items exactly, according to intel and make sure each item gets properly demolished as the larger radios are very easy to repair. If we succeed in taking down the Axis comms, then we can move on to the final and toughest objective of the lot... the German munitions train must to be destroyed. We have a tank that needs to be accompanied on foot, navigating a very hazardous meandering path through the train yard and you'll need to stick around as our driver is a total coward who'll put the tank in reverse as soon as he realises there's nobody by his side. I don't care how many men get killed; just walk slowly alongside the tank to make sure it gets to its destination so it can unleash its payload. Got it? Good, we're relying on you soldier!"

Operation Intercept is a solid addition to the War mode that can be surprisingly tough to win when playing as the Allied team, thanks in no small part to the clever level design by industry stalwarts Raven Software. It has done a great job of ensuring that each stage of the manoeuvre has choke points that are not entirely insurmountable but enough to favour a well co-ordinated team from either side. There are lots of nice little touches that can swing the flow of play, such as the option to deprive opponents of shortcuts through train carriages simply by sliding the door (that can only be opened from the outside) shut. War harks back to the classic gameplay of the long gone, but not forgotten, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and this mission, in particular, is an excellent showcase for any new recruits wanting to jump in.

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It's probably also worth mentioning that Sledgehammer has marked the release of this DLC with the introduction of a new 'Resistance' Division to all WWII players, free of charge. It's a class that offers up increased movement speed, with a knife pistol combo making it perfect for the more aggressive player, and a nice way to break in the three new maps on offer. Speaking of which...

First up, Valkyrie is a medium-sized map that's drawn inspiration from the Führer's Eastern Front headquarters, a top secret locale set in the woodlands of East Prussia that was infamously the sight of the failed assassination attempt on Hitler's life. Sledgehammer wisely capitalised on actual events that took place during World War II and used them for the basis of the main single-player campaign, and it appears that this is a trend set to continue with the DLC output. The so-called 'Wolf's Lair' was the bunker used during Operation Barbarossa, which was the codename of the Nazi's Soviet Union invasion, and it was eventually destroyed by the retreating German's themselves to prevent the advancing Red Army from making use of it. Who says videogame reviews can't be educational?

While it isn't going to be an entirely accurate replica of the compound (far from it), it does facilitate fast-paced, close-quarter combat through a series of narrow corridors and open chambers connecting the cluster of adjacent structures. Utilising these routes to move across the base does provide essential cover from key external vantage points, although the risk of ambush still runs high, and less wary troops will almost certainly get picked off as they emerge outdoors by a pair of strategically placed mounted machine guns at either side of the grounds. The roads provide a fairly lengthy sight line for those that like to hang back and snipe, but the majority of the action tends to happen in the central building, which has wide open doors on all four points of the compass, making it a tough room to control in an objective-based match.

The oddly monikered Anthropoid is the second map on offer and has absolutely nothing to do with apes whatsoever but does, in fact, take its name from Operation Anthropoid, an incredibly risky assassination mission instigated by the Czechoslovakian intelligence services. The main target was Reinhard Heydrich (once described by Hitler as 'the man with the iron heart') who was in Prague specifically to crackdown an anti-German sentiment and carry out countermeasures against all resistance. His brutal efficiency earned him the nickname 'The Butcher of Prague' with the locals and it wasn't because he did a good weekend deal on bulk-bought lamb chops. It was the only successful assassination attempt on a high ranking Nazi officer during the entire span of World War II as Heydrich was fatally injured on his daily commute by an anti-tank grenade landing in his convertible Mercedes. What with this and Valkyrie, it seems like Sledgehammer has been watching a lot of war movies of late.

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How, then, does all this translate into a Call of Duty arena then? Well… erm… it's basically a couple of roads that that no doubt look similar to the road that Heydrich's assassination occurred on, and while his bombed out car is there for those that care to look for it, it's a minor detail that will be missed by the majority of the murderous foot traffic passing by. It's a tenuous link for a map that isn't bad by any stretch but isn't great, either, and it definitely feels like the weakest of the trio on offer. It's classic three-lane fare with plenty of shortcuts, hiding places, and a river running right through the middle of town dividing the territories. Anthropoid is a deceptively long map and given the tiresome staggered sprint that Sledgehammer has imposed as the norm, it takes an irritatingly long time to get from one end of it to the other. There are a few buildings that offer some refuge and the multiple paths provide the opportunity to flank anybody that gets too entrenched in a particular camping spot, but this is a map purely for the snipers as it provides some good elevated views right across Prague. Visually, it doesn't do anything to differentiate itself from any of the other town-based maps included in the roster, and its overall aesthetic does seem to invoke a feeling of déjà vu.

Finally, Occupation is the token remake of the bunch and in this instance it's ever so slightly meta given that this original Modern Warfare 3 map was actually called, wait for it, 'Resistance.' Well played, Sledgehammer. The Parisian setting overlooked by the Eiffel Tower makes it the perfect candidate for a retro remix and a great deal of period detail has been lavished on this bombed out version of wartime France. All the cobbled streets lead to the town square, which is overlooked on either side by the elevated exteriors of some once bustling cafes that now serve cover from incoming bullets rather than hot beverages. The central building has inadvertently become the main thoroughfare courtesy of having one of its walls blown out and it's a shortcut that frequently becomes the ignition point of some very heated fire-fights. It's a map of many levels, with an overabundance of hidden nooks and crannies for those that like to ambush unsuspecting foes, while the many abandoned vehicles littering the streets provide cover for those that like to keep things moving.

Despite being a great addition to the fold, it's hard not to feel slightly disappointed that Sledgehammer couldn't provide three original maps for its opening salvo of content. Even now, with this DLC, the grand total of playable maps stands at twelve, which ordinarily is the number that ships with the vanilla product and, despite talk of making 'Winter Caraten' a permanent new addition for everybody, it's been noticeably absent from matchmaking thus far.

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Last, but not least, is the festering festival of rotten re-animated military grade flesh that's been cutting a swathe through the undead community since 2008. Veteran survivors will know this as the 'Zombies' mode and the second chapter of this particular story arc commences from the point that the intrepid foursome escaped the terrors of Mittelburg relatively unscathed (admittedly this reviewer was not around to witness the miraculous escape and fell by the wayside long before it got to this point). Intel has possible sightings of Dr. Straub at a mysterious island just north of Germany, so a small boat is acquired and the gang head off to (cue dramatic music) The Darkest Shore, which, as holiday destinations go, sounds pretty darn foreboding. David Tennant, Elodie Yung, Katheryn Winnick, and Ving Rhames reprise their roles as the current quartet staving off the undead Nazi hordes and it's solid, if slightly predictable, fodder that ticks all the requisite boxes, packed with a fresh batch of Easter Eggs to discover.

Coming up with a fresh scenario is something that gets increasingly harder with each new episode and it does indeed feel like this isn't the first time a mysterious island has played host to such horrific proceedings. With that said, it does succeed in creating a very claustrophobic and eerie atmosphere, which is greatly enhanced by the regular pea-souper fogs that always seem to rapidly descend at the worst possible time, killing visibility down to the barest minimum. Comprising of cliffside bunkers, treacherous hillside bluff paths, an interconnecting mine cart transport system, and an underground U-Boat pen, the Darkest Shore is perfect for those looking to up their decomposed death count.

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[i]Call of Duty: WWII - The Resistance: DLC Pack 1[/i] should appeal to the dedicated troops that have already spent serious time in the trenches and are maybe growing slightly weary of circling around the Flak Tower and the U.S.S. Texas. Sure, three fairly decent(ish) maps do feel like short change but the particularly strong Operation Intercept does at least go some way to redressing that balance. Putrefaction fans are also well catered for and should enjoy bloodying their swimming trunks on the Darkest Shore. Something for everybody, then... Viva la Resistance!

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