Staff Writer Evan Collins gives Call of Duty WWII a glowing review, praising its multiplayer, maps, and game modes.

The war-based, first-person shooter series “Call of Duty” was facing a decline in recent years, stagnant from repetitive iterations of unrealistic titles set in the distant future. Thankfully, Sledgehammer Games has brought the franchise back into the war that made the “Call of Duty” series what it is today, World War II.

“Call of Duty: WWII” is a refreshing return to form for the war shooter franchise, a polished and complete package that lives up to expectations and delivers on all fronts.

The game has three playable modes: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Nazi Zombies, which have been the standard “Call of Duty” game modes over the past few games. The setting returns to World War II for the first time since 2008’s “Call of Duty: World at War,” and the gameplay brings a slower-paced, more intense style of action, rather than the twitch-based speed shooters of the series’ more recent instalments.

The game runs at a smooth frame rate and looks absolutely stunning; sunlight bounces off the hard metal of weapons, and shrapnel and debris fly out from grenade explosions. The famed WWII arsenal of weapons makes its return here, and each weapon in expertly crafted to have its own feel and handling. Weapons feel distinctly unique, and they force you to change how you play based on what weapon you have equipped.

In the campaign, you play as Ronald “Red” Daniels, a soldier for the American army, and are thrown right into the action as the Allied forces storm the beaches of Normandy. The story is a more personal tale of individual soldiers within the grand scope of the war and is played out in twelve missions. The campaign is around six hours long and has some memorable moments sprinkled into the firefights that make it worth completing. However, know that the campaign really does not bring anything new to the table; it follows familiar “Call of Duty” campaign standards that have not changed since the series’ earliest days.

When people think “Call of Duty,” they think multiplayer, and “Call of Duty: WWII” brings one of the best multiplayer experiences in the series. The famed player against player mode returns with eleven new maps, new and old modes, and a new divisions system. When starting multiplayer, the player is asked to choose one of five divisions, which each bring a special set of skills to unlock as you level up. This mechanic replaces the “perks” system of old and is something people will either love or hate.

Your division can really cater to how you play if your playstyle fits in to one of the five archetypes set by the divisions, or it can be a great restriction on playing the way you want. The new headline addition to multiplayer is War, a new mode where two teams of six compete to complete narrative-based objectives on an open map. The mode is nothing to replace the classic modes of Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and Domination, but is a fun distraction. Overall, the multiplayer is the star of the show here, and the polished gameplay and refined modes outweigh the restrictive divisions system to make it a great overall experience.

The Nazi Zombies game mode has been a fan favorite ever since its introduction to the franchise in 2008. It returns again this year and has undergone some changes for this newest installment. The mode is still a round-based survival game at heart, where the player must survive hordes of attacking zombies and other creatures, but now includes a long list of story-based objectives. This new sense of direction is a welcome addition, as it breaks up the repetition of endlessly killing zombies. Along with the new story element comes a class system where players can pick from one of four roles: Offense, Control, Medic, and Support, along with perks to choose from.

While it is fun to play alone, the best way to play is with three other friends, all working together to fight the undead. Playing cooperatively brings hectic moments filled with yelling and laughing, and creates some truly memorable moments. The overhauled zombies mode is one of the best iterations of the mode to date, the objectives and added customization further improve the incredibly addicting rush of mowing down hordes of zombies.

Overall, “Call of Duty: WWII” is a fantastic installment in the “Call of Duty” series, but does not break any new ground to truly evolve the franchise.

The campaign is solid, and for the first time in recent years, is worth playing all the way through. The multiplayer is still the staple of the game, and alone is worth the price of admission with the new maps and modes, although not all may like the new divisions system. Nazi Zombies is the best it has ever been, and you can spend hours trying to survive as long as possible with friends.

There is no denying the familiarity of this game to past “Call of Duty” iterations, but that does not hold it back from being a blast to play. “Call of Duty: WWII” is a fantastic return to the series’ roots in World War II, a game worthy of your time and money.