Game Review: Call of Duty: WWII on Xbox One X

Call of Duty: WWII Xbox One X

Call of Duty (COD) has become a fall staple franchise in the video game industry. Since the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, COD has been focused on future warfare. However, this year’s Call of Duty: WWII release goes back to its roots: World War 2. The last time COD was set in a World War 2 environment was November 2006.

In the decade since then, gaming has moved from 720p and 1080p to 4K/UHD. Plus, 2017 brought the feature I’m most excited about—HDR. Let’s see how the first Call of Duty with next-generation graphics holds up on the new Xbox One X and a Samsung Q9F QLED TV.

Platforms: Xbox One X, Xbox One S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, PC

Developers: Sledgehammer Games, Raven Software

Publisher: Activision

Genre: First Person Shooter

ESRB Rating: M (17+)

Resolution: 4K/UHD with HDR

Release Date: November 3, 2017

Synopsis (from the Call of Duty website)

Call of Duty returns to its historical roots with Call of Duty: World War II, a blockbuster experience from Sledgehammer Games. From the beaches of Normandy to the Hürtgen Forest, experience a dramatic story highlighting some of the most dramatic and iconic moments of World War II as a young soldier facing the unforgiving reality of war alongside his brothers in arms. 


REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

Audio: 98

Dynamics: 98

Low Frequency Extension: 95

Positional/Environmental Cues: 95

Detail/Realism: 95

Dialogue/Mix Quality:  92

The audio soundfield and dynamics in this game are amazing, from beginning to end. While it’s not an Atmos mix, the surround-sound in Call of Duty: WWII is enveloping. The game is great at creating cues for determining where the enemy is, as well as matching up what you hear with the environment. There are lots of subtle sound effects that come through when played on a good system.

In the opening moments of the game, when storming the beaches of Normandy, there many explosions and bullets flying in every direction. Part the mission is to go through the trenches, which results in some engaging—even shocking—audio dynamics. For example, heavy artillery guns got louder and deeper as they approached, which is a really nice touch.

While the audio in the main campaign sounds amazing, with gun shots plus explosions rendered with jolting accuracy, playing in Zombie mode was a truly terrifying experience full of legit scares. I could make out small details like all the different groans the zombies make depending on whether they are slowly sauntering or aggressively running after you. Once again, the audio cues allowed for pinpointing where foes are coming from while the eerie music added to the sense of dread.

My only criticism of the audio presentation in COD: WWII is that sometimes the explosions and other dynamic effects were so thick, they muddy the dialog. This caused me to miss audible directives from the game.

Video: 96

Resolution/Clarity: 96

Black Levels: 96

Color Reproduction: 98

Compression: 92

The image quality of Call of Duty: WWII in 4k HDR graphics is a sight to behold. It gets a nod for likely being the best motion-capture game to date, with very realistic faces and movements. Also, the game provided seamless transitions from cutscenes to gameplay, which allows you to maintain suspension of disbelief.

If you are into console gaming, you must find an opportunity to play this game on the Xbox One X console. Microsoft provided the unit used for this review, and the new console really shows off the exceptional graphics of this game. The textures were free of distracting artifacts, with lots of detail rendered into the far distance. Plus, jaggies were nearly non-existent.

The rough ocean in the opening scene, for example, was beautifully rendered. Moreover, the sand on the beach in Normandy behaved in a realistic manner. As explosions hit and debris flew into the air, you could see the individual particles.

Call of Duty: WWII and the Xbox One X together deliver the sort of graphics you typically only see coming from PC gaming rigs with high-end graphics cards. Even complex scenes—the D-Day intro sets the tone right away—do not tax the console to the point where frame rates suffer noticeably.

With the benefit of HDR, whether you are in a regular campaign or when playing in Zombie mode, the dark corners are inky black. Yet, if you look closely, subtle details are visible, adding to the suspense. Also, bright highlights like flames, flashlights, lamps, and other light sources have the intensity that HDR brings, which adds realism and—in this context—a sense of dread to the proceedings. In all, this game shined on the Samsung 65″ Q9F QLED used for this review.

Final Thoughts

Call of Duty: WWII delivers spectacular sights, sounds, and action on all fronts. It sets a high bar for console graphics. I did miss the 3D immersion of Atmos sound, but that’s a minor complaint. The 4K HDR graphics this game serves up are unquestionably reference quality, making COD: WWII an ideal choice for showing off the capabilities of the Xbox One X as well as HDR 4K/UHD TVs.

Reference Review Systems*

65″ Samsung Q9F QLED 4K UHD TV
Xbox One X 4K HDR (provided by Microsoft)
KEF R500, R100, R50 speakers
JL Audio F112 V2 subwoofers
Denon AVR-X4300H AVR
miniDSP DDRC-88A Dirac Live processor
Crestron ProAmp 7×250 amplifier

65″ Samsung Q9F QLED 4K UHD TV
Xbox One X 4K HDR (provided by Microsoft)
KEF R700, R600, R800ds, R50, R400b speakers/subs
Marantz 7704 11.2-channel pre/pro
Emotiva XPA 5 and XPA 2 amplifiers

* This review includes observations from “Datsm” who is a gamer and AV expert who wishes to remain anonymous. The two review systems are nearly identical.

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