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Hold your breath as you read these next few words. Call of Duty: WWII is the Call of Duty 2 I've been waiting for. When the series initially launched in 2003, I was one of the many PC gamers who jumped on, and even took to my keyboard and mouse as I stormed the war ravaged villages of Europe, and ventured forth with my Russian comrades through Stalingrad during the height of the war.
As someone who has been rather critical of the franchise since the days of Call of Duty: World at War, I've been a bit disgruntled with the recent approach to the ultra-sci-fi approach to jet packing, wall running, and high-speed action that defined the most recent installments. I've been one that has rather enjoyed the rather interesting slow-down that we've seen in this latest one, one that even #Battlefield1 has found staggering success with in recent days.
As the game goes back to the 1940's European Theaters of WWII, where Activision and Sledgehammer have decided to put our boots on the ground. The closed beta gave us the firm reminder that non-playable vehicles are present within the game's atmosphere. Players will get a subtle reminder of this by hearing the dull brontide of shells being fired in the distance, but it doesn't serve quite the reminder like that of running downfield with an M1 Garand in hand before impaling an enemy through for a quickly animated instant-kill.
While the game serves up a delectable dish of similarities between Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: World at War, just know that this approach to competitive play is nothing close t a remaster, but a welcomed re-imagining of a once-highly-successful title that garnished award after award upon the games release. This is where #CallofDutyWWII steps in and decides to take lead.
Like past games, Call of Duty: WWII emphasizes on players focuses upon several things: career progression through winning, losing, fragging other players, but also focusing upon your class specialization chosen through joining a division. For much of the beta I joined the armored division, specializing in heavy weaponry such as LMG's that come equipped with bi-pods that offer the chance to mow down enemies as they fortify positions.
Much like any beta, it offered a glimpse of three of the games maps and a select few modes, which included Deathmatch, Domination, and Hardpoint. All of these modes should seem familiar to those whom are veterans of the franchise. All of them even offer those of us who struggled with the past few science fiction focused titles a chance to come back and find themselves enjoying the newest mode named "War".
This newest mode is a 12-on-12, objective-based mode where the game pits the Axis and Allies against one another as they fill the map with the corpses of their dead. This mode, for the sake of the beta, took place on the map "Operation Breakout" where attackers must escort a tank across a bridge. In turn, defenders try to stop them, setting up shop across the way in order to mow their enemies down. This is where my Armored Division choice came in the best. I often found myself squatting in a window, my M15 LMG mounted on its bi-pod allowing for better accuracy, stability, and sustained fire.
The resulting chaos from my heavy gunfire being applied to the enemy forces would throw my way, easily escalating my performance into a staggering negative ratio. As the attackers began to push harder into their objectives, us defenders would fall back, and forge a new base. This would continue on much like Battlefield 1's operations, but it bodes well under the Call of Duty banner, one that will definitely will be my go-to when the game launches this November.
However, this isn't the first time Call of Duty gives a subtle nod to its origins. Offering fans a glimpse of the old blended in with the new in order to keep itself new, but familiar. Leveling up works much the same, the better your performance, the better your reward in the long run. This comes in the forms of account progression, weapon progression, and even your ability to customize your classes. Much like any other Call of Duty the game focuses on players working their hardest to prove their worthiness as they are placed in matches with pro-level players and beginner's alike.
If the beta teaches us anything, it's that Call of Duty: WWII isn't shy to go back to the basics during its beta period. If this sticks true, the game could see quite a bit of growth before its launch this November, and will provide an experience unlike any other.