games / Previews

E3 2017: Call of Duty: WWII Theater and Gameplay Preview

June 30, 2017 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

It’s been almost 14 years since the first Call of Duty game was released in October 2003. The original game, developed by Infinity Ward, featured a World War II setting. Since that time, Call of Duty has grown into a huge worldwide phenomenon and one of the biggest game franchises in history. However, it’s also drawn its fair share of criticisms with how its arguably diverged off the beaten path. Recent installments of Call of Duty have taken the franchise in the direction of science fiction and fictional warfare settings set in the future. This has altered Call of Duty into more of a sci-fi FPS game series and seems to have gotten away from the game series’ roots of showcasing realistic, conventional warfare. That all changes with Call of Duty: WWII, which seeks to bring the franchise back to its roots of conventional, realistic warfare, but with modern gameplay sensibilities. During this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, 411mania was invited by Activision to check out an early, behind-closed-doors theater preview of the game, along with an a multiplayer gameplay demo.

No matter how you feel about the newer editions for Call of Duty, it’s definitely a nice change of pace for the series to go back to a more historical, period setting. The new game is being developed by Sledgehammer Games, which previously worked on Modern Warfare 3 and Advanced Warfare. This looks like it could be a nice throwback for the franchise, similar to how Battlefield returned to a period setting with Battlefield 1, which was set during The Great War (World War I).

The demo theater presentation for World War II featured a showcase for the game’s single-player campaign. The story for WWII is set in the European Theater from 1944-1945. Players assume the role of Private Ronald “Red” Daniels starting with D-Day. The story will take players through France and Belgium as the army moves forward to Germany in a mission to access and occupy Nazi Germany. The game will feature some revamped squad abilities, and players will have to rely on their teammates.

The demo mission showed Daniels and his troupe in “Operation Coca,” during a mission in Marigny, France. In the mission, the team have to storm a church and eliminate some hostiles. There appeared to be a lot of activity during the gameplay, and the footage overall looked very immersive. After reaching the top of the church, Daniels has to take out some enemy soldiers that are ganging up on his comrades, but then the church gets bombed and starts collapsing. Here’s where the action seems to mix some cinematic-type events with the gameplay as well. The new graphics and visuals certainly looked strong, and it looks like the game is going to achieve a nice level of hyper-realism.

The demo theater also showcased WW II’s new multiplayer gameplay. The multiplayer mode features five divisions for players, including Airborne, Mountain, Infantry, Expeditionary, and Armored. All the separate divisions have their own unique features, uniform skins and weapon loadouts. Other new features showcased for the game include the Headquarters, which will be an online community feature. Players will also have access to a competitive firing range at the HQ to improve on their aiming and firing. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Call of Duty game without a new Zombies co-op mode, but those details will be revealed later on.

After the demo theater, Activision gave us access to the multiplayer demo. The first multiplayer match was a Team Deathmatch on the Point du Hoc map. I went ahead and picked Infantry as my division. I especially liked that I could add an optional suppressor to my rifle. It seemed to be a pretty standard Team Death Match game. The more exciting match was the second one, with an objective-based task. The opposing side has to attempt to build a bridge in order to advance, and the opposing team has to defend the ditch area and prevent the bridge from being finished and built. I prefer the more objective-based missions for multiplayer gameplay, and this mode seemed far more satisfying and higher stakes.

I haven’t really been a big Call of Duty fan since Modern Warfare 3, but based on the demo, I would give this game a deeper look at launch. There’s definitely some nice appeal to the Call of Duty series returning to its roots. The nostalgia for more conventional warfare in a game like this is undeniable. Call of Duty: WWII arrives on November 3. The game will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows PC.