Another year, another Call of Duty, and this year developer Sledgehammer Games are taking their triennial swing at the shooter that will not die. Sledgehammer are gunning for a return to form with the much-bandied phrase ‘boots on the ground’ being at the forefront of their marketing and development ethos.

Boots on the ground is their marketing schpiel used to describe regular classic FPS combat and not the advanced movement features we’ve had in the past. Say goodbye to double jumps, wall running and the inexplicable ability to transform into a robot dog in last years Infinite Warfare.

Having played both beta weekends for the upcoming Call of Duty: WWII I can confirm this game will sell well, but then again I can also confirm that tomorrow will arrive and until scientists make some sort of functional animal hybrids; pigs cannot fly!

Iteration has always been at the forefront of Call of Duty with the game sticking to a tried and true formula and sadly not much has changed. This, of course, being a beta means we must give some leeway to what we’ve seen but in the past, the betas have mirrored the game at launch beyond minor changes to weapon balance.

The game looks and feels like Call of Duty. However, I fear that in hoping to appease the backlash towards the recent entries to the series, developers Sledgehammer Games may have played it too safe.

What we’re left with is Call of Duty: World at War Mark II.

Don’t get me wrong, World at War was brilliant, but it also came out in 2008.  It’s now almost a decade later and we’re presented with a game that feels like it’s could be new maps and weapon DLC.

The game looks and functions exactly like you’d expect just with some of the more modern features we’ve come to expect such as post-match taunts and gestures from the winning team – which feels out of place in the brutal setting of World War 2. They’ve also replaced the end of game kill cam with a play of the game feature much like publisher Activision’s other big shooter, Overwatch.

There’s still plenty to enjoy here, and those looking for a return to the CoD of yesterday will feel at home with a return to the classic gun on gun combat and surprisingly fair kill streaks. Fighter planes are available in which the player must strafe run and cut down the enemies themselves. Guided bomb drops also feature as well as the trusty UAV. Though these do seem like rehashes from previous killstreaks, this is my general concern across the board. Nothing is particularly offensive or broken about the game, it just feels too comfortable, like going to Disneyland in Paris, having spent your life going to Disneyland in America… The same but different, not that I know of course! But why go to Disneyland when you can stay in and write about video games?!

The create a class system is divided into what are called ‘Divisions’ each with their own advantage or perk to give you a leg up in battle or to cater to your preferred play style. For example, the infantry class pack assault rifles and have a bayonet on their gun for charging towards the enemy. If you’ve played the recent Battlefield 1 you’ll be familiar with the mechanic as it’s exactly the same, from button press down to the war cry your character wails during execution.

“Nothing is particularly offensive or broken about the game, it just feels too comfortable, like going to Disneyland in Paris, having spent your life going to Disneyland in America…”

The ‘Airborne Division’ are the first to parachute (spawn) on the map and carry submachine guns with which they can attach a silencer which stops them popping up on the enemy map when they fire at the loss of a little damage per shot. These nuances bring some depth to combat but the time to kill is so low it’s barely a noticeable difference.

The usual assortment of death matches are back but the most interesting addition is the new ‘War’ game mode in which one side attacks a changing objective and the other tries to defend. There was unfortunately only one map available for this mode but there’ll likely be more in the full title.

In War, the attackers must first capture a point located in the bottom story of a building, then they must move on to a broken bridge which they must attempt to build by holding a prompt and hammering at the bridge. Once assembled the team must escort a tank which will only move if a teammate is nearby or it will otherwise retreat and your team must reach the end of the map.

It’s very similar to Overwatch’s payload driven gameplay and is definitely what the series has been missing for a long time. You can even gun down fools on top of the tank and it’s equally satisfying mowing down enemies as it is sniping the gunner out of his seat.

I’m sure there’s still a lot we haven’t seen from Call of Duty WWII, such as more colourful clothing options, taunts and unfortunately the likely addition of supply drops/loot boxes. The main thing is that this COD feels like it’s treading familiar old ground. Here’s hoping the campaign and zombie mode don’t let us down when we get our hands on it this November.

Call of Duty WW2 is launching November 3rd on PlayStation 4, Xbox One & PC, will you be picking it up?

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Ben Messenger
31, born on Friday the 13th, mind of a twelve year old. Loves shooting people in video games (guns are really hard to come by in England.) Tall, beard wearing Geordie who has one girlfriend and four house rabbits. Find me Twittering @BenithMessenger

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