For a while now, the Call of Duty franchise has been getting more and more futuristic, but it looks like we’ll be going backwards this time. I’m not talking about a small step back, I’m talking about heading back to World War II. This change to a more realistic setting is definitely refreshing.
When starting the beta, you are opted to choose one of five divisions: infantry, airborne, armored, mountain, and expeditionary. Each division has its own special perk you start with and you will unlock more as that division levels up. The level one perk is specific to the weapon type they start with. For example, infantry has a bayonet charge for rifles, airborne has an SMG suppressor, armored has an LMG bipod, mountain can hold his breath to steady his sniper rifle aim, and expeditionary has four incendiary rounds for the shotgun. In order to unlock the other divisions, you need to spend tokens that you obtain as you rank up; don’t worry, it won’t take long before you have all five of them.
As with all other Call of Duty games, you unlock more weapons, scorestreaks, and perks as you level up. For anyone unfamiliar with the series, scorestreaks are special items that become available for use after earning a specified amount of points before dying. Examples include a recon plane, a bomb barrage, and a care package, among other things. Just like the other games, you’ll need to use the tokens you obtain in order to purchase what you want after they are unlocked. In addition to the class specific perks, you can choose one generalized perk to use. I thought it was neat that this section was called basic training in an effort to go along with the war theme.
Once you’re done looking at the soldiers, it’s time to figure out what mode to play. Fan favorites such as team deathmatch, domination, hardpoint, and mosh pit return. For anyone unfamiliar with the franchise, domination involves controlling three areas in order to get points; the more areas your team holds, the faster your score goes up. Hardpoint is making your way to a point that is randomly chosen on the map; as with domination, controlling that area increases your score, but every 45 seconds or so, the hardpoint moves somewhere else. Mosh pit is just a rotation of the three modes listed above.
The last and newest mode is called war, where a battle between the Allies and the Axis is waged. There are a series of objectives that must be completed by the Allies, while the Axis tries to stop them. Each objective has a four minute time limit or else the Allies fail. Every time the Allies succeed, the Axis has to pull back and prepare to fend them off at the next objective. I played this mode a few times and it was very fun. It was a nice change of pace having varying objectives all in one match. The feeling of pushing forward and the feeling of stopping an advance is amazing. Compared to the other modes, it captures the essence of war better than just slaughtering the enemy team.
The beta only has four maps available; one is specific to war, while the other three are available in the other modes. There’s Pointe du Hoc(a battleground filled with trenches), Ardennes Forest(a wrecked base in the snowy forest), and Gibraltar( a small European town). All three maps have areas suited for short range and long range combat. Pointe du Hoc is the most compact, but that’s because it’s designed to focus on trench warfare, and it works out well.
As for the actual gameplay, it looks like they know what works for the series. The movement feels real and my soldier moves exactly how I want him to. It feels like running distance has been shortened a bit, but that isn’t a big deal. The aiming is precise and seems like it has improved since the last Call of Duty. I’ve been able to snipe headshots from across the map several times and I’ve never been the best with a sniper rifle. The flow of the game encourages me to use all five divisions for different approaches, which is easy to do because of the option to change classes before respawn. This brings me to one of the few problems I had with the game: bad spawns. Call of Duty WWII falls victim to something many online multiplayer games deal with; on occasion, you will respawn directly in front of an enemy and get killed immediately. This isn’t necessarily the game’s fault though because with everyone on the move, it can be hard to find a completely empty space to spawn you. It can still be frustrating all the same. On the bright side, you can respawn almost immediately after death. Hopefully spawn points will be improved for the full game release.
The servers are doing a good job as well. I didn’t have any issues with lag, getting dropped from games, or even finding matches to begin with. Once in a great while, I would be stuck on the scoreboard at the end of a match for longer than usual. It would take a minute, but the game would catch up and everything would be back to normal. If the servers are able to maintain the massive amount of players that will accumulate upon release as well as they handled the players now, the game will be a bigger success. I was able to find games pretty quickly, which was nice when compared to some games that take several minutes to get into a match. The beta was also updated several times in order to improve features and even raise the level cap up to 25 after the first day. If this attention to patching the beta is given to the full game as well, then everything should continue to run smoothly.
Overall, Call of Duty WWII is another great addition to the series. It keeps the same basic foundation but with its own unique additions. I’m nowhere near pro Call of Duty player status, but I had a blast playing anyway. When you’re not the best at a game and it makes you not want to put it down, that’s a good sign. The beta may be marching through the trenches now, but from what I’ve seen, it could be winning the war once it’s fully released.