The only records he ever owned were The Best of Acker Bilk, and a load of war movie soundtracks. He only ever seemed to watch war movies on TV - by association I became deeply familiar with The Great Escape, Where Eagles Dare and The Guns of Navarone, and sort of absorbed a ton of info about the war just because it was always around me growing up.
Even now for Christmas and birthdays I only ever buy him books about World War 2 because, frankly, there's no point getting him anything else. I'm amazed that people can still find new things to write about the conflict, but - I guess - it was a big old war that went on for six years.
Unless you're American, of course, in which case the war didn't start until 1941.
As is too often the case, CoD: WW2 tells the war from an American perspective. An English bloke pops up at one point, and a member of the French resistance becomes the focus of one mission, but for the most part you'd think it was a war fought exclusively between the Americans and the Germans.
Maybe if the game had been a bit more inclusive we would've seen a less predictable selection of missions.
CoD: WW2 makes a fair go at trying to portray the true horrors of war. Lip service is paid to there being shades of grey on both sides of the conflict. We hear that not all Germans are bad, we see that your commanding officer is a bit of a dick, ordinary people have their lives destroyed, and the Nazis were responsible for some truly horrible things. As if that needed spelling out...
There's also an attempt at adding some emotional gravitas through the story; you get flashbacks to your character's childhood, he's got a girl and a new baby waiting for him at home, his best friend gets captured by the Germans, and blah-blah-blah. It's a grab-bag of war movie cliches, but the storytelling is so slight and musty that the climax of the game never feels truly earned.
It also doesn't help that your captured best friend - HERE BE SPOILERS - ends up being the only emaciated survivor of a liberated prisoner of war camp, a tonal shift that feels typical of the rest of the game, which leaps jarringly between earnest, behold-the-horror-of-war and bombastic action set pieces.
While I doff my hat to them for trying, they might as well not have bothered, not least when the campaign is bolstered by something called Nazi Zombies.
But, y'know, that's fine. Push all that aside and enjoy a short, but solid, campaign that is as slick and polished as anything this series has ever produced.
However, as stated above, there's nothing terribly surprising added to the CoD formula - beyond the fact that you can now only regenerate health by finding medical kits, and are able to badger your army buddies for supplies.
However, as a result of the tired checklist of battles we've seen already in games set during World War 2, it feels like I've stormed the Normandy beaches about a dozen times now, and I've lost count of the number of bridges I've secured.
Why not have a go at The Battle of Kursk, or Kharkov, or Narva? What about some of the wackier WW2 missions, such as Operation Mincemeat - in which a dead tramp was floated across to enemy lines, his pockets stuffed with fake invasion plans? That's not even a joke!
I was all for the series returning to its roots, but I'd been expecting a fresh look at WW2; ask my dad - there's an endless amount of source material. Consequently, the biggest issue faced here is one of over-familiarity and, in all honesty, a lack of ambition.
Additionally, it borrows heavily from the series' own checklist; bits where you have to crawl towards a gun, bits where you engage in a hand-to-hand struggle with an enemy, other bits where you have to hide from patrols, bits where you do some driving or flying, and moments where you play as other characters...
Despite the series having avoided World War 2 for a long time, it still feels like well-trodden ground.
Of course, no Call of Duty game is about the campaign alone. Primarily, it's a multiplayer game - this time adding to the standard CoD online battles by pinching a bit from Destiny here (the social hub) and Battlefield there (the "War" mode). A nice touch is the inclusion of classic Activision games hidden around your headquarters, and a new division/class system.
Despite having not really spent much time with the multiplayer on the last couple of CoDs, I was happy to discover that my silky skills hadn't left me. Call of Duty 2 remains the game I've spent the most time online with, and this felt like coming home.
Then there are those zombies - a co-op campaign starring David Tennant, of all people. As is now custom with the CoD zombie games, it's considerably more bonkers than the main campaign, but succeeds here in adding more of a creepy atmosphere that feels slightly more appropriate to the historical setting.
It's hard to find fault in a game which offers so much, and is so solidly put together. While it was refreshing to return to the series' basics, for some of us those first few CoD games - not to mention Medal of Honour, Battlefield, Brothers in Arms - are still all too fresh in the memory. The result is a game that is hard to hate, but nevertheless fails to surprise.
SCORE: An amount of numbers out of some other numbers.