The Call of Duty franchise has been somewhat in a state of turmoil over the last couple years. Infinite Warfare‘s trailer became one of the most disliked videos in YouTube history. Adding fuel to the fire, EA announced that while Call of Duty pressed further into the future, they would be taking the Battlefield franchise back in time to World War I. This sparked a fanboy war that left many fans skeptical of more futuristic jetpack action.
Things took a turn in Activision’s favor when they announced the franchise would be headed back to Europe with Call of Duty: WWII. While there were claims that the war game giant was aping its competition (which feels absurd given Sledgehammer’s 3-year development cycle), public opinion offered a genuine sense of intrigue. Could Call of Duty return to its roots after already shooting for the stars? With a renewed sense of hope and a player base that’s never experienced CoD with an M1 Garand, they set forward. Now we’ve gotten to spend some time with the game’s beta and can offer up some thoughts.First and foremost, this is a Call of Duty game. The movement feels great and the gunplay is tight and satisfying. None of that should come as a surprise. Fans of wall running may be disappointed as the pacing feels a little slower, but it’s still nothing to scoff at. Whether you’re getting in a round of Team Deathmatch or trying to hold down zones in Hardpoint, the combat is still fast and frenetic.
The beta offered a substantial bit of multiplayer content to consume. From trench warfare to snow-covered ruins, Sledgehammer made it clear there will be significant variety with the game’s maps. On top of the standard Team Deathmatch mode and Hardpoint, the beta also offered a look at Domination (capture and hold 3 points), Mosh Pit (which mixes everything), and the game’s newest addition, War.War is the most mechanically diverse mode in the beta by far. It has the Axis defending objectives along a single front while the Allies press the attack, taking each objective and pushing the Axis back before their reinforcements can arrive. Essentially, Allied forces have four minutes to secure each objective, whether its securing a house, building a bridge, destroying enemy supplies, or more. It offers a more immersive World War II experience than the standard modes while giving players a variety of tasks along the way. I just hope there are several maps for this mode when the full game releases.Of course, Call of Duty wouldn’t be itself without the ability to customize your loadouts. WWII trims things down a bit from the 10 point system fans have come to know. On top of a primary and secondary weapon, players will get to choose a division and basic training for each as well as appropriate grenades. Basic training essentially gives each soldier a single perk (like foraging for ammunition) while the division is much more significant. Each division offers some basic guidance for how to build your character out: Mountain division offers sniper bonuses, Infantry get firearm perks, Airborne can move faster and get some SMG bonuses, and so on. As you level up, you’ll unlock more perks for each division, making you more effective in combat. Beyond the division perks, WWII keeps the trend of your guns having their own progression, letting you earn new attachments and bonuses to equip as you see fit.All in all, my experience with the private beta was a positive one. I believe Sledgehammer’s decisions to trim much of the bloat back will ultimately make for a more focused, exciting game when it launches November 3rd. On top of the standard multiplayer, Call of Duty games have always had excellent stories and I expect WWII may be one of the best yet. Fans of the franchise’s zombies mode have reason to get excited with the game’s revamped Nazi Zombies mode as well. Call of Duty: WWII could be the much needed breath of air Call of Duty fans have been begging for.
Preview copy provided by PMK•BMC
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