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Call Of Duty WWII's Multiplayer Is The Best I've Played In 9 Years

Back to boot camp.

Not since 2008’s Call of Duty: World At War have I enjoyed the series as much as I did while playing the very recent WWII beta. For almost a decade, Activision and its trio of world class studios have continued to poke and prod at the flagship franchise, spinning it out in all kinds of risky and bizarre directions. Last year’s Infinite Warfare pushed the series a little too far out there for core fans and while the singleplayer campaign was solid, its achievements were blotted out by those of better, more ambitious shooters.

In comparison, Call of Duty WWII has been stripped all the way back. Players no longer strut around with an excess of perks and gun attachments, letting off a killstreak every few seconds. The loadout system has been streamlined considerably, offering up one primary weapon, one secondary, one piece of equipment, and one ribbon by default. Up to three killstreaks can also be equipped.

As someone who wants to jump right in without obsessing over gun stats and loadout optimisation, this is exactly what I want from a Call of Duty game. When I down an enemy – or they down me – I want to know that it was timing, precision, and smarts that locked in the kill instead of who fussed over their character build the longest.

That’s not to say Sledgehammer isn’t bringing some new ideas to the table. This time around you have five “Divisions” available, each one tied to an archetype, favouring a particular weapon through perks that are unlocked as you level up. For example, the Mountain Division builds itself around long-range plays and using the game’s clutch of Sniper Rifles. Meanwhile the Expeditionary Division is geared towards a frontline role, spewing incendiary rounds from their shotguns and entrenching themselves in the heart of every battle.

That’s something else that surprised me about Call of Duty WWII: no matter which weapon class you decide to play with, they all work extremely well. Through a combination of excellent map design and weapon balance, you can tear up the battlefield using any gun instead of being that boring grunt that glues themselves to the bog standard assault rifle or a particular SMG.

For me, the shotguns really stood out and had me playing Call of Duty in a way I never had before. Weaving through alleys and trenches, I could nail one, sometimes two enemies with a single incendiary shot, the flaming rounds conferring a delicious damage over time effect. Even if you get mown down charging an enemy, a well timed shot could still set them alight, killing them moments after.

That addictive progression arc is still there too. Weapons level up over time as does your rank and Division, unlocking new loadout options to experiment with. Die hard fans of more recent iterations will find themselves somewhat more limited, but the feel and flow of WWII’s gameplay is far more compelling.

Also gone are jet the packs and wall-running mechanics first introduced by Sledgehammer in their Call of Duty debut. Truth be told, I really wasn’t a fan of the added speed and verticality this leant each multiplayer encounter as I simply couldn’t keep up. By the time last year’s instalment came around I had honestly had enough. The number of times the phrase “boots on the ground” has been used to describe WWII is meme-worthy yet feels entirely appropriate.

Another, more divisive change being made is the introduction of the War game mode. This isn’t the same as World At War’s larger style competitive mode, instead mimicking the attack and defence scenarios we see in the likes of Battlefield, Overwatch, and other shooters. Broken down into multiple stages, one team of defenders will try to disrupt their opponent’s’ attempts to carry out objectives such as capturing checkpoints, escorting tanks, or building bridges. It’s a dramatic change in pace compared to vanilla Call of Duty, but I can definitely see it attracting bigger groups of players wanting to do more than just hit up their usual TDM or Domination matches. At the same time, adding this mode does little to hurt those staples of the series.

Sledgehammer’s pursuit of an authentic World War II setting is commendable. The weapons, sounds, and gritty aesthetic all harken back to an era the series had long forgotten, but that isn’t the real highlight here. Alongside this thematic throwback is a return to Call of Duty’s origins, before it went completely over the top.

It won’t be for everyone. On the one hand, you still have a very low time to kill in this game, rewarding lightning reflexes and punishing those who desire a slower experience, and on the other, there will be fans of the last few years of COD who won’t want to take this step back to WWII. For them, it’s not all bad news, as Treyarch or Infinity Ward may stick to their guns with the post-future settings and the servers are still fired up for both Black Ops III and Infinite Warfare.

However, for me, Call of Duty WWII is a must-have game on day one and that’s only from what I’ve seen of the closed beta.

  1. Sad Panda
    Since: May 2010

    I completely agree with you, the beta was the most fun I’d had on a COD multiplayer in years.

    I find it strange that The only line of the whole article I disagree with is the very first one, I didn’t like World at War.

    Comment posted on 05/09/2017 at 13:24.
  2. Tony Cawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    I didn’t play the beta, but I know I won’t like this because the time to kill is just way too fast. Destiny is where it’s at for me, other than the sniper rifles, it’s not instadeath, and for me that’s important.

    Comment posted on 05/09/2017 at 16:51.
    • Jim Hargreaves
      Since: Nov 2009

      TTK is better than Infinite Warfare and feels much closer to the original MW and WAW. Destiny is a wee bit meatier but that sometimes annoys me – sometimes gives enemies an unfair escape window.

      Comment posted on 05/09/2017 at 18:44.
  3. wonkey-willy
    Since: Jan 2010

    i think you closing comments really summed this up well.
    i don’t think this years cod is for me i am to used too the super jumpy wall running cods from the last few years,boots on the ground is just a tad boring.
    unless this come with a stunning single player i might grab it but could be the first time i don’t buy call of duty

    Comment posted on 05/09/2017 at 20:12.
  4. Pixel_nme
    Since: Mar 2014

    Really enjoyed this yeah I got my arse Kicked mostly but still enjoyed,brought back memories of WaW thought the maps where decent also look forward to it.

    Comment posted on 05/09/2017 at 21:33.
  5. Nate
    Since: Apr 2010

    Very tempting, I have grown to hate the high mobility, constant death from above killstreaks that CoD has become. Would love a return to the more simple MW days.

    Comment posted on 05/09/2017 at 21:56.

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Call of Duty: WWII
  • Developer:Sledgehammer Games
  • Publisher:Activision
  • Platforms:PS4, XBO, PC
  • Release Date:03/11/17
12 hours ago

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