Welcome back to This Week @ Shack, our regular roundup of news, commentary, video, guides, and any other notables.
The Call of Duty series has been on quite a ride. Since the massive success of Modern Warfare, Activision and its various development houses have taken it in a few different directions. It started out as modern, or at least conspiratorial near-future complete with input from real futurists. More recently it veered hard into sci-fi, most recently resulting in Saving Space-Private Ryan, also known as Infinite Warfare. Whether this move was good or bad depended on your perspective and interest in sci-fi, but it was clear that Call of Duty had drifted far afield from its origins.
Remember, the series was named for a part of the phrase in the official description for Medal of Honor recipients. It was very consciously responding to another shooter set in World War 2, with the kind of hero-worship reserved for The Greatest Generation. On that note, let's take a moment to reflect that this is a group that we nicknamed "The Greatest Generation." It was a simpler formula, giving players a virtual look at the war that we all agree was justified and righteous.
So when Activision announced Call of Duty was going back to its roots, we kind of all knew what was coming. What was slightly more surprising was how straight they're playing it. No lofty title or pandering to our sense of the noble war. It's just "WWII." You could practically have named it after the setting, or just said, "Call of Duty: Yeah We Know."
I'll reserve some judgment about the game itself until I see it. The near- and far-future settings afforded Activision's studios a lot of creative freedom to reach outside the confines of actual military hardware, but video game engines and tech have come a long way since the series has featured Nazis. We may find that having a standard set of tools to replicate forces them to innovate in other ways.
Either way, we're relatively sure we'll be shooting Nazis, and that doesn't really get old.
News of the World:
- The second part of that Heroes of the Storm presentation from a few weeks back was the announcement of Genji. So when I said Cassia was a lot easier to use than "other heroes," I was basically talking about him.
- If you've been waiting to get a base-model PlayStation 4, your patience was rewarded with a bigger hard drive this week.
- Facebook showed off its VR platform with hip 20-somethings doing hip 20-something things.
- StarCraft is free for anyone who somehow still hasn't played it, Jerry. (There's a Jerry out there right now who is freaking out.)
- The discontinuation of the NES Mini made no sense, but a report of an upcoming SNES Mini sort of casts a different light.
- E3: The Flamethrower! Kids love this one.
- More changes to work visas could impact the tech (and game development) sector.
- Digital downloads are still gaining ground, and GameStop is still suffering for it.
- GTA Online's new mode is adorbs.
- Speaking of Heroes of the Storm, its 2.0 update is going to come with a pretty generous hero giveaway as long as you log in.
- China wants companies to be transparent with their loot boxes.
- I reviewed Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy, and so far my feelings are thus: s'fine.
- David reviewed Full Throttle Remastered, and some time on his old hog convinced him there's still a lot of room for gameplay in the adventure genre.
- The Disney Afternoon Collection is very precious about its subject matter, in a way that makes me happy. Respect.
- Asif's Game Trader is back with some stock advice for eager investors, especially regarding Nintendo.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may well be the second must-have game for Switch.
Guides to Life:
- Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City: How to Beat Slave Knight Gael
- How to Start Ghost Recon Wildlands' Narco Road DLC
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Shaolin Shuffle: Turning on the Power
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Shaolin Shuffle: Kung Fu Styles
- Infinite Warfare: Shaolin Shuffle - Unlock Pack-A-Punch Parts
- Ghost Recon Wildlands: Narco Road - How to Find the Dragonbreath Gun
- How Much Hard Drive Space Does Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Take?