When you think of WW2 titles, you typically think of the original Medal of Honor series, Call of Duty World at War, Battlefield V, and CoD WW2.
These games aside from their obvious glaring historical inaccuracies (which I will not expand on) all have two major flaws:
1) They are centric around the Western/Pacific fronts – and are also very American/Anglo centric.
2) They are almost always Hollywood movie-esque, with heroes, and dramatic battles and pushes to "save the day" against the tyrannical Axis. They rarely show the true horrors of the conflict.
These factors almost always pull me out of having an authentic WW2 experience.
We aren't getting a true re-creation that we can engage with, we are being given re-runs of Saving Private Ryan with a controller.
Why is it a problem?
It's a problem because the combined efforts of the war were well beyond just a combined arms push to take back Europe, North Africa, and then ultimately Berlin. The conflict was a summation of nearly endless individual struggles against the fascist takeover. The variety of stories and conflicts that existed leaves so much room for powerful storytelling, yet they are always passed over in favor of the more action-friendly scenes we are familiar with.
I want to play as a Polish officer who watches in horror as his army crumbles around him.
I want to play as a desperate French battalion in 1941 who know they are on their last breath before submission to the Blitzkreig, knowing they failed their country.
I want to play as a Belarussian resistance fighter trying to blow up rail lines after his whole family has been killed and has nothing left.
I want to play as the small Philippines military, tasked with repelling the superior Japanese.
I want to play as a Canadian during the failed Dieppe landing.
Hell, I would even want to play as a Greek farmer needing to simply survive in the midst of his country being invaded.
There are so many stories, yet we always get: American Paratrooper, Red Army Grunt, or British Commando.
If a game would be so daring, they could expand on what Battlefield V did and even give a small installment where you play as a German soldier. This could be done easily without falling into the realm of sympathizing or Wehrabooism. It could simply be a story of what the war would have looked like from a young man from X small town being told "here's a rifle, go fight for your country". Of course, it could not be sanitized from the horrors, but it could act as an informative tool about how things looked from the inside of Germany at the time.
Why is it a problem? Because overly "fun" action packed games sanitize the reality of the war that so many people had to live through.
Before anyone reads any further – go watch the movie Come and See.
That movie was World War 2.
Not Saving Private Ryan, not Band of Brothers, not Call of Duty.
World War 2 was not a gallant cavalry charge to free the oppressed people of Europe. It was the near total and utter destruction and genocide of the East. That was the true ambition of the enemy. The Western front was just being held down for the purpose of allowing the German military to utterly destroy Eastern Europe.
Villages razed, death squads, and utter helplessness from the people in that shadow. No help or hope of survival in sight.
The reason why there are so many WW2 genre fan boys and fanatics are because we are so rarely shown the true horrors of the war.
Show it, and let us truly experience it. In a manner so disturbing and gritty that the game developer might want to add a "skip level" option.
Leave the rest of the Holocaust to the Jewish historians out of respect… but this component should be blown wide open for everyone to see and sympathize with.
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