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Call of Duty: WWII Preview - Back to Omaha

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By hearstDate: Oct 30 2017 Views:

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If you've been around playing shooters in the very early noughties you have probably played more than one game featuring the Allied assault on the Omaha beach. World War II first-person shooters were incredibly popular back then, and the Omaha landing was in many of them. After that we had a long period of WWII's absence in gaming.

Activision and Sledgehammer addresses that in the upcoming Call of Duty: WWII, launching on November 3rd, so very, very soon. Let's take a look what awaits us in Sledgehammer's new production.

The story campaign

Call of Duty games are known for their singleplayer campaigns as much as they are known for their multiplayer. In the case of this year's CoD we can expect a very story-heavy, grounded narrative, probably a far cry from the bombastic, modern/futuristic jaunts we've been presented with in the last several years.

The protagonist this time is private Ronald "Red" Daniels, a young man assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, also known as the Big Red One. It's a real American military unit, which celebrates a hundredth anniversary of its existence this year. Daniels is assigned to a squad with his friend Robert Zussman, Lieutenant Joseph Turner, and Sergeant William Pierson.

In a curious, but not unwelcome design decision, the singleplayer is going to ditch regenerating health the industry has gotten a bit too comfortable with, and brings medkits back from the annals of gaming history. Similarly, the fast pace and overall mobility featuring heavily in recent CoDs is gone, to match the grounded, more believable, if not realistic, mood.

Although for obvious reasons the specifics of the plot remain unknown, we know that there will, indeed, be an Omaha landing sequence, some infiltration, we'll even help the French Resistance a little bit.

Overall it seems that we are going to see a good portion of the European theatre will Daniels and company, in an internally coherent way, instead of a "greatest hits" montage of disjointed missions. Yay for modern storytelling paradigms.

War and other multiplayer modes of CoD: WWII

As far as the multiplayer segment of the new CoD is concerned, for the most part we are getting the familiar mode rotation, albeit under theme-relevant textures, models, and tuned mechanics. Among others there will be Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, a Free-for-All, and of course Domination. And while they are likely going to be as good as ever, they won't be the coolest thing to do in CoD WWII multiplayer. The game has the War mode for that.

The War mode, despite its decidedly unimaginative, if topical name, is a very interesting addition to the rotation.

War does sometimes change

What is the War mode going to be, anyway? Simply put: a multi-stage narrative-driven multiplayer mode based around attack-defend objectives. The one map we currently know is called Operation Breakout, and it's going to involve a payload escort (the payload in the form of very shooting-capable tank) and point capture (in order to build a bridge) among its stages, and that's just about a half of what's going to happen there. Although the moment-to-moment objectives will change, the end-goal is set and each partial objective feeds into that.

On the whole, the War mode is unlikely to top the popularity of other modes, but it possibly aims for a smaller, but loyal portion of the playerbase.

What may be important to some people, the regenerating health is just fine, in multi we are back to being gun-toting Wolverines, but that's fine, because it maintains what's left of the game's pace after movement got slowed down.

The Zombies

It wouldn't moder CoD if it didn't have a cooperative zombie survival mode. And this time it even fits rather well with the game's WWII theme. After all, as we all know from popculture Nazis were up to some bizarre occult stuff, throwing their lot with demons, monsters etc. Call of Duty: WW2's zombie mode tie into that popcultural perception, with zombies being put forward as a last-ditch attempt to still win the war, somehow. A pretext, really, but it works really well, even if it turns CoD into Bloodrayne.

Conclusions

Activision and Sledgehammer are really dedicated to go back to the beginnings of the franchise, first seen 14 years ago. The return of a historical conflict, movement brought down to normal, and ditching the supersoldier style all make a solid case for calling CoD: WWII a soft reboot of the franchise. Which isn't a bad thing really. Two or three more games going into the future and CoD would become Quake, we don't need that.

One way or another, the November 3 release date is closing, which means there's just under two weeks to get your Call of Duty: WWII preorder, if you decide to land on Omaha this Fall.

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