Raid: World War II was developed by Lion Game Lion and published by Starbreeze Studios and 505 Games. In case you didn’t know (like me before reviewing this) these were the guys who worked on DLC for Payday 2 and you can definitely see where they drew inspiration. When I first heard about Raid the only thing I had to go on was the intro video (which left a little to the imagination) but I thought Payday 2 with Nazis, ok, this could work.
The game starts you off with your handler (John Cleese) telling you that the Nazis are winning the war and as a member of a small group of misfit soldiers, you’re tasked with hindering the 3rd Reich in any way possible (mostly through theft, sabotage, and infiltration). From there you put in your base of operations which looks to be a crypt of some kind where you can change your weapon loadout, upgrade skills, and select missions.
Missions were mostly short usually 20-30 minutes if you didn’t doddle too much which was only really possible during the “sneak phase” at the beginning since after you get caught you’re faced with an almost unending wave of soldiers between you and your objectives which left little room for exploration. Objectives were mostly divided into interacting with an object, defending a point, and everyone’s favourite escorting people to safety. There is a collectible in the form of dog-tags that can be found throughout the levels but I’m not really sure what the benefit was for getting them all since I was never able to find them all in any given level. There are trophies for finding all the dog-tags in each mission so at least there should be a finite number of them out there.
Whether you complete or fail a mission you’re given some experience and a live action cut scene of Hitler receiving the news of your success or failure. There seemed to be a bunch of different scenes that were random and honestly it was almost just as good failing just to see Hitler laughing and pushing over some toy soldiers while making machine gun noises.
As your character progresses there are a myriad of upgrades available (such as faster weapon draw after sprinting or taking less damage while interacting with an object or lock) which allow you to customize how the character plays.
You can also customize weapons with better stability, damage, or more ammo capacity. These upgrades were held behind achievement walls like getting 50 headshots, or killing 250 enemies from the hip. Although, this wasn’t a bad thing since it would always give you something to work towards.
Graphically the game does the job. Nothing special to look at but the textures were decent and everything is recognizable but certainly nothing to write home about. I think the best I can say about the visuals is that the locales and vehicles are all properly dated for 1940s Europe so at least it maintains that level of immersion.
Gunplay was solid with pretty standard controls. My only gripe early on was that the grenade wasn’t on a shoulder button and instead I had to switch weapons to use them but honestly I got used to it after a couple hours of play. I love the extra care given to recoil on weapons, you could practically feel the weight of every shot and without upgrades the guns tended to bounce around as would have been expected of guns of the era. Vehicle controls were functional but personally I found the driving to be a little slippery.
Sound… yep there’s sound. Realistically there isn’t much to say here other than it was there. Guns give the proper bang that they should, Nazis screaming German as they run through the doorway, and your allies yelling “Flamer” every 5 seconds is about the gist of it. Voice acting was well done but gets a little repetitive. Music starts when things get hairy to add a bit of dramatic flair and the ambient noise makes you feel like you’re in the heart of war with bombs and gunfire going off in the distance.
This game was not really meant to be played by yourself however it is possible. A.I. controls the other 3 characters while you do 90% of the work. You can issue commands to your teammates via a simple push of a button however they regularly ignored my commands and went about standing around waiting for enemies to run through the door. Especially at the beginning of most missions where you’re given the option to sneak they really just sit at the starting zone. I can recall many a time when I was fulfilling an objective only to be jumped by a flamer because my allies weren’t guarding the door. Seriously… ? It sounds like ED-209 as it approaches. Had it been an actual player they could have communicated that there was a guy with a flamethrower on his way and the rest of the team can prepare. I guess I can’t complain too much they did shoot things within their field of view when they were facing the right direction. Speaking of bad A.I. the Nazis tended to run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They would just come rushing through the door so often I would just spray machine gun fire through the doorway to clear a path. Overall single player should be kept to trying new guns or characters or even just doing some leveling.
As with Payday 2 multiplayer is the recommended mode of play. If you have 3 friends that you can log on with and go through a few heists or missions the whole experience is vastly better. Playing online with randoms also works but is very hit or miss. Some players just like to run in guns a blazing and get way too far ahead, die, then wonder why you can’t revive them. Others might take commands and try and get the job done, but you don’t know what you’re going to get sometimes with online play.
All in all I had a lot of fun with this game and I find myself gravitating towards it whenever I have some free time to do a mission or two. This is definitely more of a niche title but if you enjoyed games like Payday 2, Left 4 Dead, or Vermintide do yourself a favour and get this game. Just make sure to get a friend or two to play with.