Question is, can it regain its former glory?
We all know the story too well. Call Of Duty has been on a downfall ever since COD: Ghosts and hasn’t been able to recover its stance as THE go to first person arcade style shooter. There was a short reprieve from the fall in the form of Black Ops 3, mainly because the fanbase still clung onto Black Ops 2, but even it was a short lived event. The following games after that were a flop. Advanced Warfare and Infinite Warfare took things a little bit too far into the future with literal space battles and AI soldiers. AI soldiers. Seriously, who goes to Call Of Duty to fight freakin’ robots?
Noticing COD’s mistakes, other developers stepped up their game (pun intended). DICE and EA were the first to take a few paces back in the timeline and come up with Battlefield 1, their rendition of The War To End All Wars, or as you and I know it, World War 1. Spectacular graphics, believable dialogue, fantastic sound design, smooth and engaging gameplay, all courtesy of the Frostbite 2 engine and Battlefield’s life cycle of 3-4 years which allowed them the breathing room necessary to create something that was truly worth sinking time into. Not only did it manage to grasp the attention of nearly everyone during its launch at E3 last year, it sent a message that sent chills down every relevant developers’ spine: The World War is back in fashion.
COD never heeded the warning, and proceeded to continue on developing Infinite Warfare, believing that the futuristic approach could rake in cash. After all, if Destiny could pull it off, why couldn’t the biggest FPS franchise in the world?
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, as after the release of the first Infinite Warfare trailer, the dislike bar shot through the roof like when Justin Bieber released Baby, and the comments weren’t helping either. Infinity Ward (Studio behind Infinite Warfare) noticed this, but it was too late to pull the plug on the project and proceeded on with it. They later released a statement that they wanted to do a boots on ground game, back to the roots of Call Of Duty 3 and World At War. Fans were sceptical, after the disappointment of the last 3 games, how could it regain that trust?
Enter Call Of Duty: World War 2. August 25 marked the release of the beta. Initially reluctant to play it, I was eventually convinced to give it a try after some persuasion from friends and die-hard COD fans alike.
To put it short, all my fervorous doubts and hatred for the game were extinguished when I played my first match of the game. The feeling was reminiscent of coming back into the arms of a loved one, or balik ke kampung halaman to enjoy the refreshing atmosphere, except the refreshing atmosphere to me was fast paced shooting, plenty of shouting and cussing at Japanese and Arab players, and just good old fashioned lead based combat and none of that laser weapon bullshit. It was glorious.
The weapons were beautifully balanced, the maps were sized sufficiently to have firefights all round, the gameplay quick and full of excitement. Aside from classic game modes like Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed and Domination, there was also War, a pull and push game where one side tries to advance through all the checkpoints while the other team tries to push them back until time runs out. Essentially, it’s like a scaled down version of Operations from Battlefield 1, and proves to be a good change from the standard game modes.
I was pulled into it, spending hours in the game without even realising the time. It felt so good to be back on ground with old-fashioned weapons instead of jumping around everywhere and wall riding like a monkey. There are cues from previous titles embedded in the menu: the weapon selection menu takes inspiration from Black Ops 3, sans the Pick10 system and (flashy) camo skins. The overall simplicity declutters the selection, makes setting up your loadout much easier and stress free. The game boils down to more of your skill rather than relying on perks and aids to help the player get kills. I’m elated to say that the beta left a quite a burning mark on me, one I’d love to reignite again when the full game drops to feel the pain, the pace, and the crowning victory of defeating 14 year olds who claim to have routinely slept with my mother. COD is back, baby, and as far as the beta has been showing, the series might just reclaim the FPS throne.