Hands-on Preview: Call of Duty: WWII

Remember when Call of Duty was about killing Nazis and guns that went ‘PING’?

Hands-on Preview: Call of Duty: WWII

Though Call of Duty: WWII was in development long before the Infinite Warfare/Modern Warfare Remastered debacle, it’s fortunate that Activision had enough foresight to give this game the greenlight. Could you imagine if they announced another Call of Duty set in the near future? Thankfully, we don’t live in the darkest timeline, so we get to enjoy killing Nazis in the 1940s once more.

Of course, the return to World War II wouldn’t mean anything if developer Sledgehammer Games did nothing meaningful with it. Which is why the new War multiplayer mode is such a great addition. You may recall another mode call War from World at War, but the two are barely related.

War is a story-driven, asymmetrical multiplayer mode that sees one side trying to capture points on a map, and the other trying to hold off the invasion until the clock runs out. War uses dedicated maps, not just repurposed deathmatch ones, and each of them has a little storyline of their own.

Operation Breakout was the map chosen for my play session, which follows a small band of Allied troops fighting their way across the French countryside. Their first objective was to take over a mansion and create a forward operating base, then push forward and take out AA guns controlled by Axis forces.

Just getting inside that damn mansion was a real team effort. After using smoke grenades to hide our numbers, myself and a few others covered all the entrances and shot anything that moved. It took a while, but eventually we claimed the first control point and were on the move again.

Each control point presented its own unique challenge, with the next one requiring us to build a bridge to advanced our invasion. Though there is always a narrative reason for each objective, the way you actually complete them is the same - find where you need to be, stand there, and don’t die. That’s how we built our bridge, but it would have been much easier if the other team weren’t shooting at us. Dicks.

The battle continued until our final objective which had us escorting a friendly tank to get it in range of the AA guns. Victory came down to the wire, with my team winning during overtime thanks to a few smart players sticking to the payload… I mean, tank.

Big plans are in place for Call of Duty: WWII, such as a Headquarters area for players to hang out and shoot the breeze instead of each other. There’s also an ambitious single-player campaign, and, of course, Zombies.

But in all honesty, it’s the fact that Sledgehammer Games bothered to make this War mode that has me the most excited. It shows that they ‘get it’. They know Call of Duty can be great again, it just needs a little kick in the arse. And now that the shellshock of the past year has worn off, I get the feeling that a lot of lapsed fans will have their boots firmly back on the ground come November. 

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