Call of Duty: WWII Multiplayer Preview
Observations on Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer action from the closed beta.
'History repeats itself'. For the longest time I thought for sure the Call of Duty series was never going to revisit a World War and yet here we are. Maybe it was spurred partially by the Battlefield 1 take on WWI, but regardless we have CoD in a WWII setting, history does in fact repeat itself. To some this might be a cop out but others (like myself) are thankful CoD is going back to its roots. I knew CoD was headed in this direction and knew I wanted the experience to speak for. Though I recently saw a commercial for the game and was hooked, I just had to get my hands on it. Half of me wants to judge the beta as if it were the final product though the other half knows a lot can change. Ultimately, first impressions make all the difference.
Of course right off the bat the unlocking system rears its head, not much has changed there. There are several loadouts to unlock and as always the standard ones you can choose from. However I believe that unlike previous CoDs the standard loadouts are limited in that you cannot earn certain experience when using them. Not sure why they are limiting that when they never have before. The standard loadouts to me never provided a huge advantage so why isolate them? The biggest change comes in the form of five factions or divisions that you can unlock and choose from. Each division has unique perks or skillsets to achieve over the course of leveling. Each division has multiple perks to unlock which include sprinting faster, seeing enemies better on the mini map, being undetectable from score streaks, and unlocking special weaponry. Each division loadout is unique though once unlocked you can choose from any of the previous weaponry you have unlocked before. The only thing that doesn't change is the perks. There are also ribbon-based perks which are the same across all divisions, but unlock separately and are mostly tactically-based and designed to give smaller advantages. There are probably ideal combinations to choose from, though I am not a person that has mastered that and typically look to others for suggestions. In the end I think so highly of my skills that those combinations don't necessarily give me a greater edge during combat. The only gotcha is the division perks must be unlocked while using the desired division in combat. The experience earned doesn't accumulate across the board, choose wisely or just play till your heart's content and eventually unlock them all! We are starting to see more and more of this style of unlockable so this didn't come as a surprise or a small shock.
As for the types of games there are your standards such as Team Deathmatch, Moshpit, Domination, and Hardpoint, and a new one, War. I typically start with Team Deathmatch or Domination and immediately could tell the gameplay and maps were meant for close quarters combat with a hint of stealth and long range in certain areas. The blend is always nice, but can still feel a bit cramped. After playing a few rounds in those game types I started to feel like things were a little unbalanced with the weapons and maybe even the perks. There just seems to be some random hit boxes and slight advantages in the weaponry which I am sure will get balanced out over time. Overall when you find the weapon you enjoy the most stick with it and glory will come. After several rounds of the old game types I finally switched over to War which is now my favorite mode. The concept is assault and defense with mini objectives. The beta only had one map, but at the start the assault's objective was to take control of a house and of course the defenders had to prevent the attack. This portion was very confined but seemed to be well-balanced and enjoyable. The second objective is to build a bridge which is a little more open and lends itself to a sitting duck scenario as there is very little cover for the assault team to build. In order to build you must reach a toolbox on the bridge and one person must press and hold a button to continue to build. The progress is accumulative so if someone dies someone else can pick back up where the build left off. This area becomes more tactical on both sides and is a lot of fun. The next objective is to plant/diffuse a bomb which is pretty straight forward and finally the last objective is to escort a tank to the finish line which one person from assault can get in the tank and man the turret ' but you are basically putting a target right on your face. Whenever the defense can prevent the assault the round will be over but as long as assault progresses with each objective the round will continue. Each match you will play a round of defense and assault. Overall the matches seemed very balanced though there does tend to be noticeable bottlenecks and can be frustrating if on the losing end. The only plus side is there are no score streaks and only supply drops. In the supply drops are flamethrowers which are a blast to use, but have fairly limited range and leave you exposed. This mode was by far the most enjoyable for me in the beta and you could easily rack up 50-60 kills in a match to quickly grind through the unlockables.
Overall, history has indeed repeated itself. We have what seems to be a great start to the CoD WWII game. There might be some noticeable balancing issues rearing its head and maybe some repetitive gameplay, though the minor changes and additions have sparked a revitalized interest into the series from my perspective. My only hope is since this was a private beta the general public will also get their chance at it sooner rather than later.
For a look at the single player campaign in Call of Duty: WWII, check out our preview from E3 here.
Transmitted: 9/28/2020 9:36:32 PM