Call of Duty used to be the gaming franchise that most people could enjoy in some way, shape, or form. Whether it be the action-packed campaign, its fast-paced multiplayer, or its tight controls, there was generally something for everyone in each game. In the past few years however, particularly when it delved into the sci-fi genre, Call of Duty’s popularity has started to wane, leaving most people to yearn for a return to form for the franchise. When Call of Duty: WWII was announced earlier this year, many people hoped the game would do just that. In fact, Sledgehammer Games promised that this entry would bring an intense, realistic campaign, a fast-paced, “boots on the ground” multiplayer experience, and a scary Zombies mode.
I got a chance to play through both weekends of the game’s private beta and made it all the way to level 33, which is just two away from the beta’s level cap. I played through every map, mode, and got to use every weapon at my disposal. I’m happy to say that while there were a couple of things that rubbed me the wrong way, for the most part, the multiplayer seems to be exactly what I wanted from this entry in the series.
First and foremost, Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer menu is incredibly fluid. If you want to edit your Divisions (which is the game’s Class system), check the lobby you’re in, or invite other players, all you need to do is press your controller’s bumpers, which makes it incredibly easy to find what you want. One small complaint I have however is the lack of a map voting system. Now, Sledgehammer Games has confirmed that it will be implementing this feature in the full release, but it still led to some very confusing moments at times.
But the thing everyone wants to know about is Divisions, which I can most certainly say is a refreshing improvement over the previous entry’s “Pick Ten” system. Now, you’re given five Divisions to choose from, each with their own unique abilities based around certain types of firearms: Infantry (rifles), Airborne (submachine guns), Expeditionary (shotguns), Armored (light machine guns), and Mountain (snipers). In addition to that, there are basic trainings to choose from as well, which essentially act just like Perks from the previous entry. However, you’re only allowed to select one per Division: one will allow you to reload your weapons faster, another allows you to earn Scorestreaks faster, etc.
During my time with the Call of Duty: WWII beta, I tried out each of the Division combinations: however, there were two I kept coming back to — Airborne and Expeditionary — and it seems like everyone else was as well. That’s of course not to say that I never saw someone using an assault rifle, a light machine gun, or a sniper, but submachine guns and shotguns very clearly dominated both weekends, and I think there is one clear reason as to why: the maps.
Almost every map that was made available in the beta were small, and fast-paced: the only exception to this was Aachen, as it’s a medium-to-long-range map. Even on this map however, there are still tight spaces where only SMGs and shotguns were able to excel. And while I do enjoy my fair share of these weapons, I do hope that the rest of the maps Sledgehammer Games has planned will focus more on long-ranged experiences.
That all being said, I thoroughly enjoyed each map that was included in the Call of Duty: WWII beta. Not only does each map look incredible visually, but every single one of them have their own, unique flow, which is probably the most important part of designing a map (even if they were SMG-focused). Whether it be the three lanes of Ardennes Forest, the close-quarters frenzy of Pointe du Hoc, the side alleys of Gibraltar, or the long-ranged sniping of Aachen, none of these maps felt similar in layout, which is a huge sigh of relief for me.
In terms of game modes, you of course have your usual suspects like Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, and Mosh Pit, and they all feel and play exactly the same as they do in previous Call of Duty games. The one new addition, however, is War mode, which is where I ended up spending most of my time in the beta. In the one map that was provided, Operation Breakout, you have four different objectives. If you are the attackers, you’ll have to destroy a command post, build a bridge, plant a bomb, and destroy anti-aircraft cannons with a tank: if you are on the defending side, you’ll have to stop the attackers from doing these objectives.
One of the great things about Operation Breakout is that it makes each team work together, which is something that Call of Duty has failed to do in the past few entries: if you use the same weapon or skills for all four objectives, you’ll find yourself dying a lot. One thing I would absolutely change about the mode, however, is the fact that there is a two-second delay each time you die. I honestly couldn’t figure out what purpose this delay served, and it just seemed to control the amount of players actually contributing to the objective.
One major problem I had with the Call of Duty: WWII beta is its party system. While finding your list of friends and inviting them is pretty easy, there is no major way of knowing when your friend is actually in your party. The only way of knowing is either by checking to see how many people are in your party, or by highlighting over your friend’s name. There is no party list — or hell, even a lobby list — until you actually select a game mode, which can be incredibly annoying. I really hope that Sledgehammer Games decides to change this for the game’s full release, because as someone who loves to party up with my friends, this really put a sour taste in my mouth.
All in all, I felt that the Call of Duty: WWII private beta was a great success, and I left eager for its November 3rd release date to come soon. Whether it be its great map design, or its new War mode, the multiplayer seems like it’s going to be a vast improvement over previous entries in the Call of Duty series.
But what do you think? Did you enjoy your time with the beta? Did the beta convince you to get the game this fall? Let us know in the comments below!