Call of Duty: WWII’s multiplayer debuted with a trailer during Sony’s E3 press conference last week. Aside from playable female soldiers, a Destiny-like social space, and the new Divisions mode, which replaces the series’ create a class system, we came into E3 knowing very little about WWII’s multiplayer.
During E3, however, I got a chance to sit down and play a few matches. I learned a lot more about Divisions and loadouts, but most notably, I got my hands on the brand-new, narrative-driven War mode. And while Team Deathmatch is still fast-paced and fun with WWII weapons, War stands out as the mode that will make me keep coming back to WWII’s multiplayer.
War casts you as either the Axis or Allies in a scripted scenario. The mission I played had the Allies escorting a tank through an Axis-controlled area with the Axis team defending. The first step as the Allies was to take control of a building by capturing a point inside. Next, we had to rebuild a bridge while under Axis fire, which is done by approaching and holding a button, similar to performing repairs in CoD’s past Zombies modes. Each objective is timed, and failure to complete a section within the set amount of time as the Allies meant an Axis victory (for this mission, at least).
The biggest difference compared to something like Team Deathmatch or Domination–which we also played in the same sitting–is that I was far more concerned with choosing the right loadout for my team rather than ensuring I had my preferred weapon. That’s not new for team-based multiplayer but is incredibly refreshing for Call of Duty, and I relished the chance to try weapons I wouldn’t have under typical circumstances. I never snipe in TDM, for example, but I got the chance to try it out in order to cover my teammates who were in the line of fire while rebuilding the all-important bridge. It’s a great way to get used to the new Divisions system, too.
Along those same lines, this structure also provides more room to take on different roles than in other CoD multiplayer modes. As a frequent TDM player, I’m very used to going for a high number of kills and a positive kill-death ratio, so providing smoke grenade support or planting explosives is a nice break from the tried-and-true modes we’re all used to. The biggest obstacle is team communication, which wasn’t possible in the E3 environment and would have improved our chances of victory quite a bit
Overall, Call of Duty: WWII’s multiplayer isn’t bogged down by a return to human–rather than superhuman–soldiers. The same classic modes are still fast and require a quick trigger finger, even with slower reload times and much shorter jumps. And some of the best sound design in the series means that gunfire and explosions feel closer and more exhilarating than before. But War is the mode that could reignite my desire to play a ton of CoD multiplayer, and I’m excited to try more during the beta in August.