Following their work on the Payday series, the developers at Lion Game Lion have created a period piece in the same mold. RAID: World War II never takes itself seriously, reveling in over the top cutscenes and bad punchlines. It’s this hectic spirit that gives it a different tone to the Payday games while mimicking much of what came before.
You’ve already heard the story go out there and shoot some Nazis. However, you haven’t ever heard it from the enigmatic John Cleese who plays the Mission Control character, ordering you around Europe and making sure you’re well-equipped. RAID is full of little quirks like this with equally hilarious Hitler skits and a bad ass opening cutscene. Crude jokes and dumb humor are abound in the dialogue with overly enthused Russian and German accents. The game knows not to take itself seriously as some kind of cinematic achievement, and it’s all the better for it. Although, I would totally watch a feature-length movie based on the opening cutscene.
Players choose from one of four classes that they can customize on almost every level. From weapons and perks to uniforms and challenge cards, it’s clear that the developers know what fans expect in a game like this. The progression is logical with challenges to upgrade weapons based on how much and how well they’re used, additional uniforms rewarded after mission completion, and level-specific proficiency skills that grant new abilities on the battlefield. It takes quite a while before you can try out new gear when playing alone, so it’s best to read up on specific challenges to move up the ranks a little faster.
The best part of RAID: World War II has to be the raid missions themselves. Taking place in all manner of locations, these missions make up the bulk of the experience. Whether it’s getting into a weapons depot or sneaking spies into an aircraft, these missions always end in hectic escape sequences that usually have you holding out for a period of time before making a break for the exit. It’s an exhilarating feeling to run past a hail of bullets as the clock counts down to zero.
What hurts this experience is the AI intelligence, or lack of, and the shooting mechanics. Your three allies will almost never successfully revive you and they usually fail to push back enemies from a location, putting all the burden on your shoulders. In a game so focused on squad combat, I expected them to relieve me of the responsibility of taking on an entire armada alone. The enemies are equally as brain dead, lining themselves up to be easily taken out by a single clip.
But that’s only if you can accurately move the reticle to actually connect the shots. While firing weapons feels perfectly fine, the aiming mechanics are frustrating to deal with. This is especially the case in high stress moments near the end of a mission. I didn’t really have time to fiddle with the controls and line up a perfect body shot and therefore found myself choosing to instead take damage rather than gambling on the game’s underlying mechanics to work as they should.
Made in 1945
The other unforgivable trait of RAID: World War II is both its dated visuals and non-existent animations. While one can actively ignore the less than stellar artistry of the Payday games, there’s a lot more to be appreciated in those titles. When the exciting missions in RAID are interrupted by poor mechanics, it’s particularly more damning when there’s no visual splendor to be distracted by. The game’s levels aren’t particularly expansive nor are the occasional vehicle segments that engaging. It makes for a dead world, and one where the sound cuts out far too often.
RAID World War II PS4 Review - Comedy Hour | PSLS
It also doesn’t help that you need to inspect the low-poly ground and supply crates to scour ammunition and health packs. A different take on World War II settings would have made for a far more interesting palette instead of the streets of Europe circa 1945, which we’ve seen in just about every war piece. In the age of 4K gaming and hundred gigabyte downloads, RAID: World War II seems out of place and well behind its competition. Dated visuals can only be ignored if the locales are interesting and novel, and that’s just not the case in WWII-era Europe.
But even with all its flaws, major and minor, the game is filled with moments of hilarity and high tension. Playing alone or with friends, the simplistic mission design that always has you sneaking about or sprinting for your life is a blast to take part in. There’s a deluge of customization options that is only matched by the Payday games and the humor is surprisingly consistent. RAID: World War II can be frustrating at times, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with friends.
RAID: World War II PS4 review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.