E3 2017: Call of Duty: WWII returns franchise to roots with new elements

Call of Duty: WWII
One of the big E3 2017 titles that everyone has their eyes on was Activision’s latest installment of their long-running juggernaut, Call of Duty: WWII. Over the last few years, many gamers have soured on the franchise.

This hasn’t stopped the Call of Duty games from becoming the highest-grossing in the market yearly. However, the dip in the revenue for the last couple of years was enough for Activision to go back to the drawing board. It would bring back what made gamers fall in love with the franchise in the first place. From the first Call of Duty to World at War, Activision and Sledgehammer Games are diving back into the trenches of World War II. I was able to get some hands-on time with the game and its two multiplayer modes at E3.

War Mode

The first mode I played was a completely new addition to the franchise called War Mode. This mode is somewhat similar to Battlefield’s Rush or Operations mode. Each team is designated as either the attackers or defenders. Teams will have specific objectives like holding the enemy back or escorting a tank. The match I was in had me as a defender, and unfortunately, my team didn’t do too well.

I think the concept of objective-based multiplayer might take some time for some Call of Duty fans to fully get behind. It’s no secret that teamwork is usually not the largest focus when playing Call of Duty’s multiplayer. Everyone is usually focused on their own K/D ratio to really think about working together in a team. Luckily, Sledgehammer Games was smart enough to make sure that players could not get Kill Streaks in this mode in the hopes that they would focus on the objective.

Building a Bridge

I really like this mode. It was something completely different. And that’s exactly what the Call of Duty franchise needs right now to kick it back into gear. The gameplay was fun and intense. I even liked how they animated sequences during the match. At one point I could literally see a bridge being built by the other team. Piece by piece the boards would fall into place, and when we were able to push them back, the boards were slowly removed. I can’t wait to see the other maps they have for this play style.

Team Deathmatch

Aside from War Mode, we were able to get our hands on the classic Team Deathmatch. Playing this gave me a real sense of just how far the game has come. While I only got to see two different maps, they both felt familiar but at the same time completely different. It’s familiar that I felt this was a World War II game as I’m running through European streets. Not to mention it’s different in that the maps didn’t seem at all similar to any of the previous Call of Duty installments, and the layouts offered many different attack points.

Sound Design

The sound design genuinely feels like there is a war going on around you. At one point I was running through a barn and was immediately met with a scream and someone speaking a foreign language. Unfortunately, there was no NPC, but I liked what they were trying to do. It really gave the map a little more atmosphere that I don’t think we’ve seen in other online shooters. Usually, most of the online dialogue you hear is really muffled and sounds far away.

Call of Duty: WWII Goes Back to Basics

Small details aside, I really felt like this is exactly where Call of Duty needs to be right now. The franchise has struggled in the past few years balancing the game’s multiplayer, especially when it added wall running, exo-suits and futuristic weapons. Call of Duty: WII just feels right. It is the “back to basics” approach that the franchise desperately needed. No longer do I have to worry about how long I might hang in the air from a Jetpack Jump or if someone is going to kill me while I’m wall running. Call of Duty: WWII focuses on the basics: which guns are you good with and which is the best point of attack on the map.

It was easy to notice how much the speed of the action has decreased in Call of Duty: WWII. It is not as slow as the original Call of Duty games, but it isn’t nearly as fast paced as say Modern Warfare 2. The gameplay speed is enough to keep modern gamers engaged and slow enough for players to think about their plan of action. It didn’t take me long to figure out the layout of the map, and once I did, I was able to adjust my attack point depending on where I believe the enemy might be coming from.

After messing around with a few of the weapons I settled for an old favorite, the Thompson submachine gun. Equipped with a silencer, I finally started to rack up a body count.

Overall Demo Reaction

I really enjoyed my hands-on time with Call of Duty: WWII. Furthermore, it left enough of an impression that I really didn’t expect. Given my time with the E3 build, I can safely say this will be the first Call of Duty game I will pick up at launch in years. And I can’t wait to see what else the game has to offer. See you in the trenches!

Pre-order now to gain access to the Private Beta on August 25th through the 28th exclusively for PlayStation 4 players. Xbox will join the fray along with PlayStation on September 1 through the 4th, for the second run. Call of Duty: WWII hits store shelves on November 3rd.

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