Call of Duty is “going back to its roots” with Call of Duty WWII. So far we thought this statement was only reflected in the game’s settings – World War 2, where the series’ best entries took place (don’t argue).

But after playing the Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta this weekend, I’m happy to let you know that classic Call of Duty multiplayer is back. There’s no more sci-fi, no more wall-running and no more supersoldiers. This is good-old-fashion, fast-paced multiplayer. From the weapons, to the maps and modes.

Matches are still much faster than its main competitor, Battlefield 1, but it also smaller. While Battlefield 1 focuses on larger scale war, Call of Duty is still all about intense firefights that start and end in the blink of an eye. It’s nastier, grittier, and more down to earth. And I love it. The Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta was probably the best Call of Duty multiplayer experience I had since Black Ops 2, and that’s a bold claim.

Divisions Are Classes With Fancier Names

First thing’s first. Before you can jump into the action, you need to enlist in the Division. Divisions are just classes, but each has a fancier name, and a short “enlist today” recruitment video that tells you a little bit about it. There’s Infantry, which servers as you basic run-and-gun assault class; Airborne, which allows you to run even faster and use a silencer to avoid appearing on the mini-map; Armored is the heavy / support class; Mountain is your friendly neighborhood sniper; and Expeditionary is all about close combat and big shotguns.

But choosing a class doesn’t lock you out of certain weapons. You can use any type of weapon you from the get go. The difference between classes are the built-in perks. For example, Mountains can hold their breath while sniping, and Expeditionary can use incendiary shotgun shells.

Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta run and gun

Each class does suit a specific play style, but they also give you plenty of freedom within that play style. Personally I found myself switching between an Infantry / sniper hybrid for the more open maps, and an Airborne with a shotgun for when I wanted to get up close and personal.

Maps Are Smaller and Less Vertical

Since there are no more jetpacks and wall-running, the maps in the beta had less verticality to them. There are no rooftop shortcuts, no church towers for snipers, and no massive canyons to jump over. As I mentioned earlier – this is a traditional multiplayer experience, with bottlenecks, multiple lanes and machinegun nests in windows.

It also means that the maps are smaller, or at least they feel smaller than those of other recent multiplayer games. You have about 3 paths to chose from, with little to no open space between them. Some maps do have more open areas in the middle, but players tend to avoid those because of snipers. But since there are a maximum of 12 players running around on the map, it never gets too crowded, and you can always find a way to bypass any bottleneck or ambush.

The smaller scale and lack of verticality actually help keep you immersed in the action. You can reach any point on the map in less than a minute, which is great for modes like Domination or Hardpoint where the action is always moving around.

War Is Good for Only One Thing – Multiplayer

Most modes available in the Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta were pretty standard. Team Deathmatch, Domination and Hardpoint were all there. However, there was one new mode that stood out – War.

Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta war

War is an objective based mode that constantly changes as you play. One minute you’re storming a command post, and the second you’re protecting a bomb until it goes off. There are 4 objectives total, and everyone of them requires you to mix up the way you play. I found myself switching classes and loadouts quite a bit while playing War.

Overall, War is very similar to the new Operations mode in Battlefield 1, but much more dynamic. Rounds take about 10 minutes to complete, and at the end of each round the teams switches sides. That way you always get to both attack and defend in each match.

The short matches, combined with the ever-changing objectives, make War the best multiplayer mode I’ve played in the Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta. Though running around like a crazy person in Hardpoint was still my favorite thing in CoD WWII.

Weapons, Perks and Killstreaks

There are plenty of new guns, attachments, and perks to unlock as you rise through the levels. Weapons, perks and killstreaks are unlocked by your profile’s overall level, but gun attachments are all tied to a specific weapon’s level – the more you use it, and more attachement you unlock for it. As mentioned earlier, each class has its own different bonuses, and you unlock those by playing with that specific class. What I’m trying to say here is that there’s a lot of things to unlock, even when you reach the level cap.

Since this was a beta, not everything was available, but what was on hand felt pretty great. The Flamethrower killstreak bonus was one of my favorites. It gives you a deadly flamethrower for about a minute or so, which you can use to cut a line through your enemies. It doesn’t give you any extra protection, though. Other killstreaks included classics such as the recon aircraft, Artillery Barrage and Care Package.

Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta flamethrower

Still No Single-player

We know Call of Duty WWII will have a robust single-player campaign. But the beta was multiplayer only, so I didn’t get to learn anything now about it. Zombies mode was also MIA, so no new info on that either.

The Call of Duty WWII multiplayer beta was a lot of fun. It’s classic CoD multiplayer in a classic CoD settings. There are no unnecessary gimmicks – just “boots on the ground” intense gameplay fans will love.

Call of Duty WWII comes out November 3, on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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