Call Of Duty: WW2 PS4 Beta Impressions - The King Has Returned

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Call Of Duty: WWII
Call Of Duty: WWII’s Private Beta was fun, challenging and refreshing. War mode and Divisions offered new ways to play with an old-school aesthetic. Call Of Duty: WWII comes to PS4, Xbox One and PC Nov. 3. Sledgehammer Games/Activision

Call Of Duty: WWII multiplayer took centerstage during this weekend’s PS4 Private Beta, and our initial impressions of the first content drop on Sony’s console suggest those hoping for some classic Call Of Duty action are in for a real treat.

Before getting to gameplay, however, let’s recap what the beta offered. The pre-order incentive gave players early access to three standard maps, (Pointe Du Hoc, Ardennes and Gibraltar) as well as a single example of the objective-based War mode called Operation Breakout. Other available modes included Team Deathmatch, Hardpoint and Domination.

With all of that content in mind, something that truly impressed me about the beta was the variety it showcased in both aesthetic and gameplay opportunities. Pointe is very much a retro-inspired, fast-paced map that’s right at home with the original Call Of Duty titles. For Gibraltar, the focus is on verticality and bright colors. Elevated rooftops ensure that death still reigns from above without a single hint of boost. The elevated areas littered with shrubbery offered something nice to look at, too. Ardennes was an equal feast for the eyes with its snow effects, and its purpose was to use that weather to encourage sniping.

Call Of Duty WWII Gibraltar
Gibraltar is one of the beta’s most memorable maps thanks to its verticality. Photo: Sledgammer Games/Activision/Gabe's Gaming

As much as I may have loved Gibraltar, however, for me the true star of the weekend was War mode. Much like Operations in Battlefield 1, War offers different sets of objectives for each team. For the beta’s Operation Breakout, allies were instructed to attack an intel location and build a bridge to escort tanks capable of destroying German artillery. The axis was charged with defense of key locations and destruction of the tank.

What makes War so fun to play isn’t just the variety of objectives in a single map, but the tug of war those objectives create. My most heated War encounters lasted upwards of 15 minutes as both sides battled for territory time and time again. Neither side was too powerful, and that will only improve as players become more experienced with each mission. War represents a new way to play Call Of Duty, and I can’t wait to see what other maps Sledgehammer has up its sleeve.

Call Of Duty WWII War Mode
War mode was a ton of fun for folks tired of standard multiplayer. Photo: Sledgammer Games/Activision/TmarTn

Longtime Call Of Duty fans will also be glad to know that Call Of Duty: WWII plays exactly like you’d expect, faithfully recapturing the best parts of earlier WWII experiences. Movement is fast enough to cater to a modern audience, but the lack of futuristic accoutrements makes each interaction substantially more challenging. In classic franchise style, time to kill was incredibly fast, and each death felt brutal and deserved. Certain Scorestreaks may have been a little overpowered, but those shortcomings can definitely be tweaked before launch.

This apparent increase in difficulty may be frustrating to new or lapsed players, but it’s something I was able to overcome. It’s been a decade since this series has focused on World War II, and that may mean having to learn a few tricks that weren’t applicable in past years. Without boost, all enemies are close at all times. That means death is around every corner.

To combat that harsh reality, Sledgehammer offered players a sneak peek at WWII’s progression system. Soldiers and weapons level up with XP, and those actions are rewarded with unlock tokens, which grant access to weapons or Scorestreaks across each of the game’s five Divisions : Armored, Mountain, Airborne, Expeditionary and Infantry.

Call Of Duty WWII Mountain Division
Divisions have a ton of freedom with encouragement of class-based play. Photo: Sledgammer Games/Activision/NerosCinema

Divisions are essentially meant to stand in for the create-a-class system of the past. Every Division can use every weapon, but they each have perks that emphasize various roles. Mountain, for example, has perks to block out surroundings and be invisible to enemy aircraft. These benefits make it tailored to sniping.

It’s a pretty solid system, but because there’s so much freedom in how it’s laid out, it feels like Divisions don’t matter as much as they could. Especially in the beta that focused on low-level progression, the perks didn’t seem to make much of a difference. The advantages of each one weren’t too clear either. As a result, I saw plenty of Mountain soldiers wielding shotguns. Call Of Duty has never needed hardcore class specialization, but I hope Divisions don’t become meaningless at the cost of freedom.

All things considered, I had a blast during my weekend with the Call Of Duty: WWII Private Beta. Provided progression is fair and microtransaction-free, this game looks like it’ll be a huge hit. The World War II setting comes with a steep learning curve, but it’s one that’s rewarding to overcome. I can’t wait to see how these systems are perfected by the pros.

Call Of Duty: WWII will have a second weekend of the Private Beta on PS4 and Xbox One starting Sept. 1. Keys can be earned via pre-orders or in promotion with XFINITY.

What did you think of the Call Of Duty: WWII Private Beta? Will you be back online next week? Tell us in the comments section!

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