PREVIEW – Activision and Sledgehammer have pledged to bring back the good old, authentic and heart pounding Call of Duty action from the original series. With three years in the making to get the feel of World War II’s epic battles right, this game is trying to become a gritty and classic World War II entry for the COD franchise. I say trying because while both the campaign and the zombie mode look spectacular I am not sure what Sledgehammer Games is trying to achieve with the multiplayer portion of the product.
After testing all of the modes available for the beta, it seems that the multiplayer mode is a mishmash of ideas, and concepts, but executed poorly
All of the modes, none of the charm
The Private Beta had the following game types available for testing – Domination, Hardpoint, Team Deathmatch and War. Domination is the usual game mode where multiple points have to be held in order to achieve victory. Hardpoint is similar to Domination except instead of three points there is only one, so the fighting is supposed to be much more concentrated into one point of the map, and then there is Team Deathmatch which pretty self-explanatory. Then there is War which based on the descriptions before the beta sounded spectacularly fun – it seemed to be an extended version of the good old Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory – a map full of objectives. When I finally got to play with it though it turned out to be a massive disappointment, full of bad ideas, and odd balancing choices.
In the Beta, we get to play a map called Operation Breakout in which the Allies are trying to blow up an AA installation with a tank. The Nazis, of course, have to defend certain key objectives in order to halt the Allied attack. This is all well and great, but the developers decided to put some limitations for the gameplay. For one, the defenders are not allowed to go above a certain limit when moving on the map (this will trigger a five-second count down, and once it reaches zero you die), so at times when I was defending the objective, I could not flank the enemy because it would start the timer. Sure this might seem that this limitation is there to avoid spawn killing, but due to the time to kill is so quick, that it seems pointless to create such limitations.
Speaking of limitations, capturing an objective is relatively quick in COD: WWII and sadly there is no way to turn back the tide in most of the objectives. So instead of a tense tug of war between objectives, you get a lot of one sided matches, and it does not really matter if your team is good or not. Take for instance the „building the bridge” part of the objective list. As the Allies, you’ll have to build the bridge, and as the Nazis, you have to halt the construction. Classic objective, the problem?
It turns into a sniper fest because the Axis cannot cross over to the Allies section of the map. You also can only halt the progress, but cannot destroy or damage the bridge. So once again the entire objective is one sided- with the Allies having a huge advantage. Then there is the final part of the objective, stopping the tank from reaching the AA installation. Sadly you cannot damage or even blow up the tank as I have tried with grenades and explosives. Instead, the Nazis have just to stand next to it, and the tank will start going in reverse back towards the Allies. It looks laughably bad in action and makes the whole mode a bit of a joke.
It is not just the game modes that have problems, but the way we unlock weapons, and classes. Every class can pretty much use every weapon and attachment once unlocked (except if you wish to use the anti-tank weaponry that is only for the Armored Division). Most of the attachments, classes, and weapons do not matter though, as the time to kill is so quick (and with quick scoping), you end up being boxed into a particular type of build for multiplayer matches.
Still, even though there are five divisions, all of them lackluster, and do not change the gameplay up too much. As they give some minimal advantage which gets lost in the end since everyone can use all of the weapons, it ends up being superficial. Speaking of superficial, for some obscure reason using the rocket launcher is not really effective against enemy players, and all the while grenades will slaughter everyone with ease.
Muddy waters, and washed out beaches
The graphics are sub par at this point, but maybe after Infinite Warfare which was such a stylish game, it takes the spot light. Here there can be no spectacular sights, or vistas, just real life location, with a bit of dynamic scenery in the skies. The weapon sounds lack the punch, same goes for the explosions, and everything generally just feels unimpressive in terms of sound design / visual design. The environments are very grayish and have a bit of washed out color to them. The maps are varied and have a nice atmosphere to them, but due to the way, the spawn system works you end up with constant backstabbings, and having to look around everywhere to avoid getting shot. There are a small number of hot spots for conflict, but most of the maps end up with chaotic battles without any real sense of victory.
Also, it is 2017, and while we do not know if the beta runs under dedicated servers, the hit detection and lag sometimes become unbelievably horrible. It is a real shame that even for the 20th entry at this point Activision is not willing to invest for these games for a proper network setup.
In the end Call of Duty is still the same quick scoping, fast dying multiplayer game, but without any of the future stuff (it still has killstreaks), so regarding gameplay, it tries to mimic old Call of Duty games, which might be enough for some of the old hardcore fans. For me, though some of the changes are baffling, and War mode is a missed opportunity to create something great and new for the franchise truly.
These might make it a success:
+ New interesting modes to play
+ Lots of weapons and customization
+ Great atmosphere
These might make it a disappointment:
– Graphics are not the best in Multiplayer
– War is mediocre and badly handled
– Everyone can use everything in terms of weapons
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Genre: First-person shooter
Relase date: November 3, 2017