Call of Duty: WW2 is a chance to clean up the sequence’ multiplayer map designs – however will Sledgehammer take it?

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Call of Duty: WW2 simply acquired revealed throughout a buzzword-filled livestream from Activision and Sledgehammer Games. We’re advised the sequence goes again to its roots. Those roots are gritty they usually’re genuine. Visceral, even. I’m truthfully stunned no person stepped on-stage to clarify to us how this sport was constructed “from the ground up”. Where the previous couple of Call of Duty video games have had us double-jumping, wall-running, and blowing our enemies out of the air like meaty clay pigeons, Activision say it is a Call of Duty with its boots planted firmly on the bottom. 

For extra digital recreations of armed conflicts, try our checklist of the best WW2 games

This can be a return to the “grounded, fast, action gameplay that the series was built on”, say Activision. In the reveal trailer, that’s clear to see. They’re attempting to recapture the sense of awe Medal of Honor: Frontline gave us again within the day with its recreation of the D-Day landings. They’re banking on nostalgia getting gamers overrated. They’re hoping you’re warmed by a comforting familiarity, coiling its manner round you and urgent towards you in a mild embrace. ‘We’re again to the nice outdated days, guys,’ they’re primarily saying. ‘We’re again to the beginning’. 

It’s regarding, as a result of it reveals a scarcity of creativeness. As does the setting. In the sport’s single-player, we’re advised we’ll be following the first Infantry Division as they battle by way of France, Belgium, and Germany. I imply, the clue’s within the title: it’s World War 2, not European War 2, but we’re seeing the battle play out solely throughout the European theatre once more. ‘See the most famous scenes from WW2 cinema recreated in even more pixels!’ says the totally-not-made-up subway commercial.


This makes me fear that the sport may lack the creativeness or authority to do one thing courageous with the sequence’ multiplayer, too. COD’s multiplayer has been on the decline for some time. As the sequence has advanced and adjusted, sprouting jet-propelled exoskeletons, the multiplayer mode has caught rigidly as an alternative. There is likely to be a clean floor right here and there so that you can run throughout, nevertheless it’s primarily the identical outdated map layouts we’ve had since Modern Warfare: both tiny arenas or small maps sectioned into lanes. In truth, if something, the maps have gotten smaller. I blame the recognition of Nuketown. 

Titanfall’s maps work as a result of they’re intricate and constructed together with your parkour moveset in thoughts. Each wall-run will naturally stream someplace, letting you give a bit of faucet to double-jump by way of a window, or permitting you to hop onto the alternative wall for extra top. Its arenas are constructed for gamers to swirl round in a lethal ballet. 

Elsewhere, Battlefield’s maps are constructed to promote the phantasm of an enormous battle. Walls crumble, shells fall, planes snake by way of the sky, tanks roll by, and you’ll barely see for the mud. It’s a sensory bombardment created to depart the participant shellshocked. It actually works to promote the size of the factor. If something, an actual warzone can be much more chaotic however, even on its massive maps, Battlefield pulls off this magic trick with simply 64 gamers. That’s as a result of the map design is considerate, funneling gamers collectively at pure chokepoints, whereas additionally providing tantalising vantage factors to snipers so each infantryman feels at risk wherever they’re. 


COD’s maps really feel random by comparability. You simply run round and hope that you just see somebody earlier than they see you. Either that otherwise you sit in a nook hoping somebody runs previous. The solely actual concern is that somebody may spawn behind you – they usually inevitably will. There’s simply no room to breathe. COD’s maps are suffocating and hyperactive.

Sledgehammer must discover a middleground, as a result of COD’s Skittles-powered gunplay would really feel misplaced on a map on the size of Battlefield – and COD’s autos have been notoriously shit – however battling over a tiny avenue would simply really feel misplaced right here. In a sport primarily based round WW2, you need to be capable of inform the place the enemy frontline is, and it shouldn’t ever be behind you. 

Obviously I’ll wait till Sledgehammer reveal the multiplayer correctly earlier than passing judgement, however I’m apprehensive. This is a sequence that’s struggled with evolution as a result of it’s fearful of straying too removed from what made it well-liked within the first place. Activision and their numerous COD improvement groups should do one thing new whereas appeasing followers who’re proud of how it’s. It’s a tricky balancing act, so it’s no marvel the publishers are so obsessive about retaining their boots on the bottom.