Insight Editions has published a hardback book titled Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual which released on November 3rd 2017 at numerous online retailers and high street book stores. Can Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual deliver what it sets out to in the form of producing a companion for the hit videogame Call of Duty: WWII?

Call of Duty: WWII is a first-person shooter available via retail stores and digitally on home consoles and PC. Call of Duty originated on October 29th 2003 with the release of the very first Call of Duty on PC in which the Call of Duty brand has since spanned numerous console generations and become one of the most successful and highest grossing entertainment franchises of all time as proved by sales rapidly approaching 300 million units sold, alongside the billions of hours of online multiplayer gameplay logged across the entire Call of Duty series including an unprecedented $500 million three day opening weekend launch for Call of Duty: WWII.

Call of Duty made its home console debut with the release of Call of Duty: Finest Hour on PS2 in November 2004 followed by Call of Duty 2: Big Red One for PS2 in November 2005, although both games actually provided a back story to the PC games rather than direct ports. Call of Duty 3 also received a release on PS2 in November 2006, while Call of Duty: World at War – Final Fronts released in November 2008 featuring its own set of single player missions as the final Call of Duty game on PS2. Outside of the home console environment, Call of Duty has had its portable releases in the past with the standouts being both PlayStation releases including Call of Duty: Roads to Victory for PSP in March 2007 and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified on Vita in November 2012. Call of Duty made its PS3 debut in November 2006 with Call of Duty 3 followed by the story arcs of Modern Warfare trilogy, Ghosts and Advanced Warfare as well as World at War and the Black Ops trilogy until November 2015. Call of Duty began on PS4 with a port of Call of Duty: Ghosts in November 2013 followed by Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and Call of Duty: WWII.

Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual is in well prepared hands as it is written by Micky Neilson; a two-time New York Times best-selling author with graphic novels set in the World of Warcraft mythology including Ashbringer that reached second place on the list and Pearl of Pandaria which attained third place when released in 2009 and 2012 respectively. Elsewhere, Micky has also written and self-published his own horror novels such as The Turning and its sequel titled Whisper Lake, while Ridgerunners is a unique perspective of Firefly’s and Serenity’s formula of good guys in a small crew vs. a ruthless enemy horde in a futuristic space adventure.

Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual is presented accurately as a combat issued handbook that is registered to one of Call of Duty: WWII’s lead characters named Private Ronald ‘Red’ Daniels; accompanied by his age, height and place of residence which offers a clever tie-in with the subject matter of Call of Duty: WWII’s story. As the combat handbook is assigned to Ronald Daniels; it also contains some of his personal notes such as love letters penned for his girlfriend in June 1944 onwards and a letter of response, alongside annotations of combat instructions and numerous areas of importance throughout the book.

As a combat handbook; there are various propaganda posters situated towards the front of the book featuring inspirational slogans such as united together, push for victory and fight for freedom. Meanwhile, an introduction brings awareness to the equipment and weaponry carried by each soldier and detailing enemy ordinance followed by a factual timeline of major events spanning from the origins of what sparked World War II as the Nazi Party assumes power on January 30th 1933 all the way through over 60 events until Germans surrendering in Crimea on May 12th 1944.

Combat Dress in the European Theater showcases how important it is to have a specific dress code for every soldier on Ronald’s team to standout from the opposition to reduce the potential of friendly-fire in which Ronald annotates with a handwritten note exclaiming that T5. Frank Aiello gave him the best piece of advice to remember “If they’re shootin’ at you, they ain’t friendly”. A detailed overview of the United States Forces dress code is followed by an artistic impression of how the soldier looks when in his uniform, carrying his equipment and weaponry, alongside the same treatment for United Kingdom and Commonwealth allies and offering caution that the French Resistance may be wearing a combination of Allied and German uniforms in addition to how it is expected for the German air force and navy to look during combat.

The Weapons of War chapter provides full coverage of every weapon involved in that part of World War II including pistols, rifles, bayonets, SMGs, machine guns, a knife, grenades, mines, a flamethrower, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft turrets, guided missiles and anti-tank obstacles. Every weapon has their own unique description, a drawing of the weapon and a table including specifications such as class, action, weight, length, muzzle velocity, barrel length, cartridge, rate of fire, effective and maximum firing range, caliber, feed system, variants and more besides depending upon the type of weapon.

War Machines: The Vehicles of War chapter applies the attention to detail and presentation of the Weapons of War chapter towards the vehicles used in World War II including boats of all shapes and sizes from small boats to battleships, aeroplanes, trucks that were essentially designed to be faster, more mobile tanks albeit with a lot less armour and variations of heavily armoured tanks. Every vehicle features a unique description, a drawing of the vehicle and a table listing specifications including class, displacement, length, beam, draft, propulsion, speed, range, compliment of troops and crew transported, armament, empty and loaded weight, wingspan, wing area, height, service ceiling, height, engine, fuel capacity, power to weight ratio, operational range and more besides depending upon the vehicle type.

Deadly Ground: The Environments, Locations and Terrain of War chapter accurately depicts some of the environments in which World War II was taking place such as the Atlantic Wall; Paris, France; urban warfare; and forests in wording that describes how the battle evolves due to the surface underfoot and cover afforded within each location accompanied by imagery, alongside a map showing Allied gains in Europe between June 6th 1944 until December 15th 1944.

Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual’s presentation shows quite some effort has been expended in making the book look amazing as the front cover has the title, subtitle and author all debossed into the surface of the hardback, while there are numerous drawings of soldiers, uniforms, weapons, vehicles and locations in between the front and back covers, alongside a star debossed into the back cover towards the bottom right with some incredible drawings of soldiers situated to the left.

Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual’s value is strong within its 112 pages; as it is centred around being a videogame book tie-in with a difference as the combat manual is gritty in its historical accuracy yet cleverly written and presented as Private Ronald ‘Red’ Daniels annotates with certain comments even showing camaraderie between Ronald and the soldiers that have his back. Ronald’s annotations of the combat handbook are deliberately witty to keep himself calm, whilst retaining a genuine sense of the magnitude of the situation unfolding around him. The subtext of his letters to and from his girlfriend defines that he fights for not only his country’s freedom and for the freedom of other countries to prevent them from sustaining the potential grip of Nazi occupation, but his own freedom to hopefully see the love of his life and his family once again.

 

 

Analysis

  • Title: Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual
  • Writer: Micky Neilson
  • Publisher: Insight Editions
  • Length: 112 pages
  • Cover: Hardback

 

Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, while you can also find Insight Editions’ official website including a back catalogue of captivating books and product details regarding Call of Duty WWII: Field Manual book.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Verdict
95 %
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Jason
Jason plays all genres of games and enjoys all different kinds of experiences that the games industry has to offer. Jason’s favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises throughout various eras include: Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Gran Turismo, inFamous, Killzone, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Resistance, Spyro the Dragon, Uncharted, Wipeout and various games that never became big name franchises. A special mention goes to Black Rock’s superb Split Second: Velocity as it is rather unbelievable that it will never receive a sequel. Jason now mainly plays modern PlayStation games on home console and portably, but occasionally returns to the old retro classics on the 3DO, PS1 and PS2 such as discovering Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood 20 years after its original release on PS1. Jason is happy to see gaming coming full circle with updates for retro classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog and Crash Bandicoot.

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