When I first heard of Call of Duty World War II, I was struck by their choice to listen to the community and return to their roots. This bold move had myself and many others wondering, “can Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software truly return the game to their roots or will they create another game mirroring the one that came before it?” After two hours of playing the beta that released on August 25th, I’m pleased to say: Call of Duty is back.
When you first open the beta, the player is presented with a cutscene introducing them to the divisions of the Allied armies they could join. Each with their own special, unlockable abilities and perks, I went with the sniper oriented division, the Mountaineer Division. The customization of guns will most likely change from now until the game releases, but in it’s current state, it reminds me of the customization in World at War. Two attachments to your main gun, a pistol and a grenade option for starts. As of now, one perk or “basic training ribbon” is allowed to be equipped at a time. These ribbons are your standard Call of Duty perks.
Let’s talk gameplay. I first hopped into some 6v6 Team Deathmatch, on the map Gibraltar, and was shocked by how graphically spectacular the game looks. I felt like I was truly on Gibraltar fighting to hold it from Axis hands. Throughout my time playing, the game or server never crashed once and the game wasn’t laggy at all. After some quick deaths and sensitivity fixes, I was off to kill. Every time I died, I cycled through classes to get a feel for each. Each gun and kill makes me feel like I’m back playing the original Call of Duty games, with a fast paced feel to it. No flying, jetpacks, exosuits, just plain old Call of Duty.
All the maps in Team Deathmatch, Domination and Hardpoint are small to medium sized maps. These maps, as previously stated, graphically stunning, well planned out and easy to memorize. They weren’t to huge to where one could not remember the spots where campers could be hiding, yet not too small to where you feel cramped and dying every second. On these maps, camping is almost next to none, given the map layouts, making the game much more enjoyable.
After an two hours or so, I was level 10, had a custom class with the M1 Garand (this gun feels like it did almost 10 years ago in World at War), and decided to jump into Call of Duty’s news game mode: War. War’s play style is that of Battlefield 1’s game mode Operations, but with more of a twist (and a lot smaller). On the beta’s only War map, the Allies are tasked to push and capture a building at the outskirts of St. Lo, France, only then tasked to rebuild a bridge into the village, destroy an Axis ammo depot and escort the tank to take out the Axis Flak cannons. If you fail to capture as the allies, you still get a chance at holding against the enemy team, as both switch sides, competing to see who could do better. I found that before each game, a cinematic would play on both sides, describing the job and depicting our team walking up to the beginning area.
I played a total of 5 matches and found the capturing of the building and rebuilding of the bridge to be quite easy for the allies, but a great chance to work on sniping skills for the Axis. Of the games I lost as the Allies, it was always at the ammo depot, a heavily fortified town square where you’re tasked to plant a bomb, but the enemy could easily defuse it. In my last War match as the Allies, we exploded the depot and were tasked to escort the tank to the end of the map, which is basically a meat grinder for Allied soldiers. This is where the beta felt like Call of Duty the most; getting shot at while rotating around the tank and killing Axis troops. When the Allies prevail, a cinematic is shown depicting the tank blowing up all of the Axis Flak guns.
The Call of Duty World War II beta is very promising. When I first jumped in, I felt like I was playing a mixture of Call of Duty: World at War and Wolfenstein. Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software really hit home with this one. They managed to bring the best parts of the newer games and bring the original style and gameplay of the old Call of Duty games. Granted this is just the beta but it shows promising signs that Call of Duty is returning most of its gameplay to its origins.
I suggest to anyone who wants to try the beta, to preorder Call of Duty: World War II. The beta is currently out on the PS4 and will come onto the Xbox One soon. Dates for the beta are below.
- August 25th-28th PS4 only
- September 1st-4th PS4 and Xbox One