It’s that time of the year again and another Call of Duty title is launching in just a couple months. With many fans unimpressed with Infinity Ward’s latest entry Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, there seems to be a lot of pressure on the franchise to up the ante this year and deliver a Call of Duty experience that fans can be proud of. Thus, Sledgehammer Games is bringing us back to the franchises historic roots of the second world war. Call of Duty: WWII aims to bring back the grittiness of war and showcase some historically accurate weaponry into this long running franchise. I got to play the beta over the past two weekends (first on PS4) and established a good feel for how the game will play upon release. Even though I did enjoy most of it, not much has changed with this FPS. Let’s take a look at what did.
First and foremost, this is a First-Person Shooter. Yes, this is obvious but I want to put emphasis on this very basic fact. You see, the market is flooded with First-Person shooters and there are thousands of iterations out there, making any FPS easily muddied and overlooked. With a franchise as huge as COD, where it is guaranteed to sell copies, there isn’t much motivation to change things or make it stand out from the rest. Why bother to revamp the system if you’re guaranteed sales anyway? This is unfortunate, but true. Now, there has been some slight tweaks to the gameplay over the years, but we all know it is essentially the same game released year-after-year with a different coat of paint. This typically causes franchise fatigue and puts more pressure on the developers to reinvent the franchise with new gameplay mechanics, features, etc.. That being said, if you are one of the “fatigued” fans and haven’t picked up a recent iteration of the franchise, then WWII may be what you’re looking for.
WWII still feels like modern day Call of Duty. I say this because I was a fan of the original Call of Duty 2 and 3, when World War II games were relatively present in gaming. Although you may play one of those titles today and feel a bit outdated, they have a distinct feel to them that fits the setting and theme of the game. WWII brings the historical setting, weaponry, and theme but maintains the series “twitch” shooting and fast paced gameplay. This makes the game feel more of a reskin than an actual revamp of the series. Although it may look like World War II and sound like World War II, it doesn’t feel like it. It feels more like the arcade shooting frenzy that the series is most known for, so senior players will feel quite at home with WWII’s mechanics.
Besides the realistic weapons, Sledgehammer games is also adding a new feature called Divisions. This allows you to focus on a particular set of weapons that you can specialize in to continually rank up and upgrade. I loved the fourth division for its shotgun upgrades. Being able to attain upgrades for weapons that other players won’t have access to does feel rewarding and gives you more of a reason to rank up.
War is the new mode for the series and it was the most fun I had with the beta. This is probably the closest you will get to actually feeling like you’re playing a World War II multiplayer in WWII. This is an objective based mode where the attacking side must either destroy, build, or escort said objective while the other team defends. It plays similar to the Battlefield series Rush mode, where the attacking team must complete the first objective in order to gain access to the larger part of the map and continue with the other tasks. The beta only had one map with this mode, tasking the attackers to contact back-up via radio, build a bridge to allow tank access across the map, and escort said tank to the enemy’s anti artillery guns. No matter which side you’re playing, it’s a blast attacking and defending in this mode. I can see more teamwork being implemented into this mode than we have seen in any other COD iterations in the past, which is a great change for the series.
Another small change is the final kill cam which is now replaced with the most memorable kill of the game, which I honestly favor. It seems they’re taking a cue from Overwatch, which is much appreciated. One of my kills was spotlighted at the end, getting a quad kill with the incendiary shotgun while jumping is no easy feat, even though I ranked fifth place overall, the kill was viewed and respected by all. This is definitely a welcome change to the series.
With the beta only providing a handful of modes and one new mode, it is really tough to say if this iteration will bring Call of Duty back to its “roots.” So far, War mode seems to be the most memorable while the others seem to feel very familiar. Here’s to hoping the multiplayer receives more unique modes, complementing the WWII era and feel. With the revamp of Nazi Zombies and a highly anticipated Single Player Campaign, Call of Duty: WWII looks like a solid edition for series fans, but it needs a bit more to bring in those who have left the franchise long ago. With its imminent release on November 3, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on the latest news for COD WWII.