CALL OF DUTY: WWII
Get chatty in the face of war as the classic shooter goes all social
It was only a matter of time before
Call Of Duty had to break the cycle of ever-more-futuristic warfare, so out go all those gravity-defying jump boosts and ridiculous sci-fi laser rifles and in comes bolt-action rifles and good old fashioned ‘boots on the ground’ action.
Okay, so that PR line might sound a little corny, but it encapsulates what Sledgehammer has tried to achieve with its first offering since 2014’s forgettable Advanced
Warfare. By dialling back the clock to the franchise’s roots, WWII has rediscovered that grounded sense of brutality that’s long been missing from the series. Every bullet fired feels weighted and hefty, making ranged sniper duels and CQC dust-ups alike more immediate in their intensity.
Taking out navigational extras like wall running might seem counterintuitive, but Sledgehammer wants to place the onus firmly on your skill with the gun. It’s a thinking that’s effectively levelled the playing field, and it’s one that will no doubt attract players who felt each successive COD was more exclusive to experienced marksmen. We tested out multiplayer at Gamescom (again – should we be concerned that we haven’t seen much of the single-player mode?); it doesn’t feel slower, but it does change how firefights develop mid-battle and takes getting used to.
Change continues to roll out with the introduction of War mode. Embracing the real-life territory battles of the conflict, this new multiplayer mode pits two teams of players against one another in a series of attack/defend objectives. Again, it was the same mode we’ve already played at previous hands-on sessions, but it was still a lot of fun. New battles Everything from planting bombs to building bridges will require you to cover a teammate with fire, while providing an escort for a tank smacks of Overwatch- esque cooperation. It’s not revolutionary in concept – we’ve been playing something similar with Rush and Conquest modes in
Battlefield for years – but it does show the series wants to expand beyond endless rounds of Kill Confirmed.
And while the core concept hasn’t changed much since the series last signed up for WWII, the world of multiplayer beyond it has had to evolve to survive. Social interaction and virtual mingling are now the name of the game, so Sledgehammer has taken a leaf out of Destiny’s emotescrawled book and introduced the WW2 Headquarters – a brand new, activity-filled social hub.
Interaction with other players is no longer confined to lobbies filled with angry tweens and snippets of heavy breathing – although lobbies do remain in their classic form – with a new explorable hub offering everything from gun ranges to a 1v1 firing pit. Set on a beach in Normandy, this operational base is basically a mud-caked take on Destiny’s The Tower, offering you a place to show off your customisable avatar to other players and earn XP to boot.
Change is never a bad thing when you’re a 14-year-old shooter franchise, and while we’re not convinced WWII is going to fundamentally rewrite the COD DNA, the new approach to the long-term appeal of multiplayer shows a series that’s at least trying to move with the times, even if the progress it’s making are only baby steps in 2017.
“Change is never a bad thing when you’re a 14-year-old franchise”