As someone who's been a longtime fan of the Call of Duty series, I found myself less and less entertained with the games as they ventured further into the future. Although the franchise has remained a financial success, many question some of the creative decisions made in recent years. Sledgehammer looks to turn all of that around with their upcoming Call of Duty WW2. I played 30 minutes of multiplayer at E3 and was surprisingly impressed at how much fun I was having with a franchise I once believed I had grown out of.
Back to its Roots
It felt silly hearing developers repeatedly speak the phrase “back to our roots” during the official Call of Duty WW2 reveal, but after playing the game, I couldn’t think of a better way to describe the cosmetic and gameplay changes. Taking the franchise back to the World War 2 era for the first time in ten years allowed them to improve upon and reinvent the aspects that made the earlier games so compelling.
Running through the trenches looking for enemies, as bullets whiz by your head and explosions send debris flying across your screen, creates a legitimate sense of chaotic warfare not often captured in games. The sound design helps to make everything feel authentic, down to the cry of an enemy soldier when you skewer them with a bayonet.
One glaring component that is completely absent from this years game is the exo-suit or thruster pack. This is a more-than-welcome change. Although boosting around added a verticality aspect to combat, there’s something sweet about everybody being grounded, forced to fight horizontally to secure an objective.
An All New War
Easily my favorite part of playing Call of Duty WW2 was the newly added War mode. War is a three-stage battle in which one team fights to destroy an important supply, defended by the other team. In the game I played, my team first fought (literally) uphill to secure a building, similar to what’s done in a game of headquarters or hardpoint. Once completed, there was a brief cutscene of our team loading onto the back of a truck and riding into a nearby town. Once we got there, we had to build a bridge to the other side of the town as enemies fired upon us from the opposite side. After successfully building the bridge, it was time for the final phase of battle. We had to escort a tank across the bridge and into the Enemy team's base to destroy their ammo and mortar supply.
This part gave off a strong Overwatch vibe. At one point I even muttered the words “can somebody get on the payload?!”
This new mode does an outstanding job at showcasing everything good about Call of Duty in the WW2 era. Throwing everything on the line, fighting tooth and nail for a series of small victories in order to complete a larger goal really emulates how desperate and gritty war can get. Having a larger map broken up into three stages also keeps gameplay fresh and forces all players to adapt and restructure their combat strategy.
Though I had been skeptical of the claim, my time with it won me over. Call of Duty WW2 may be a return to form for one of the most iconic FPS franchises ever.
Be sure to check out our interview with Sledgehammer about multiplayer in Call of Duty WW2!