Call of Duty: WWII is a first person shooter game that gives the player the ability to play three different modes: multiplayer, zombies, and campaign. I will focus on the campaign mode, specifically its immersive qualities, or lack thereof.
The game does have characteristics that make it an immersive game. Qualities such as its perspective (FPS) and the dialogue one must experience throughout the campaign only add to the environment of World War II combat. The graphics put the player into 1940’s Europe and the constant action keeps the player entertained with the game.
Yet, Call of Duty: WWII has features that takeaway from the overall immersion. It is not surprising that there are features that reduce the immersion, but it is surprising how glaring they are.
The most obvious and least bothersome is the head-up display (HUD). Most first person shooter games have a HUD, which is a status bar that relays information to the player. As the picture below indicates, the HUD shows health, number of bullets, grenades, and other possible options, like a mortar strike or the use of binoculars.
Next is the historical accuracy of the game. Although, locations and the overall narrative of WWII is followed, there are little things that add up. For example, there are females enlisted in each military, which did not occur until later. Additionally, the swastika has been censored in some parts of the game. Now it is most likely that these two things have occurred because of culturalization. Kate Edwards defines culturalization as “taking a deeper look (than localization) into a game’s fundamental assumptions and content choices and then assessing their viability both in the broad, multicultural marketplace as well as in specific geographic locales” (Edwards, 97). It is possible to assume that censoring the swastika is a message and utilizing females is to make the game more personal for female players. Another quality that take away from the immersion of the game is that some of the weapon sounds were made via software and not with the actual sounds from real life fire arms and are therefore inaccurate. A final issue with the historical inaccurate campaign is that the game starts with the invasion of Normandy, better known as D-Day. D-Day occurs on June 6, 1944, almost 5 years after the start of the war.
The most blaring characteristic that takes away from the immersion is the soundtrack. There is nothing wrong with the soundtrack except that it plays while the game is going. If I can hear the soundtrack while I am gunning down planes then that takes me out of the game.
Although there are immersive problems with the game, it is possible for a Call of Duty game to be immersive. This article ranks a Call of Duty (Black Ops) game in the “top 10 most immersive games to play before you die.” https://www.moltenice.co/10-immersive-games/
Edwards, Kate. “Culturalization.” Debugging Game History. MIT Press, 2016.
Source: Why COD Lacks Immersion