I wasn’t even going to play the Call of Duty: WWII beta, but then Dane had excuses and Michael had excuses and everybody else had excuses but I didn’t have excuses, and it’s not like soldiers could have excuses in World War II either, so my experience is also totally, kind of historically accurate.

1. I suck at Call of Duty

I mean, I dunno, I think I used to be okay at it. Not amazing, maybe, but competent enough to consistently make it onto the top half of the scoreboard. In Call of Duty: WWII, I’m always at the very bottom instead, but somebody has to be in the trenches, because that’s how World War II was actually won, anyway. And nukes. But trenches too. Also, I didn’t have excuses like those other guys. I deserve a medal. I’m the real hero.

2. It’s more of the same

So it’s dropped the jetpacks and laser guns and food replicators and whatever other futuristic sci-fi conceits of recent iterations in the franchise, but Call of Duty is Call of Duty, and this one is more or less exactly what you’d expect, now with a trendy new Summer 1945 Urban Devastation Chic Collection aesthetic that’s not even new because the first three games and Call of Duty: World at War were also set in World War II. And unlike the somewhat dreary, plodding authenticity of something like Battlefield, it maintains the series’ idiosyncratic pace, keeping things fast, frantic, and much more fun, even if it’s not totally realistic. Because neither is respawning.

Buuuuut…

3. The new War mode is the bomb

Debuting in Call of Duty: WWII, War is a remix of modes like Battlefield 1‘s Operations, Payload in Overwatch, and even Sledgehammer’s own Zombies stuff, in which two teams of 12 take turns completing a series of objectives. On the Operation Breakout map included in the beta, for example, one team must capture and secure a strategic position, build a bridge, and escort a tank to blow up an ammo cache and some Nazi anti-air guns. The other team must stop them. Or something like that. I died a lot, and missed out on most of it. It’s much harder than you think, and requires undaunted determination and legitimate teamwork to accomplish. Whether that’s a sensible prospect with Call of Duty‘s camping sniper community is another matter entirely, but for people who play nice with others, it’s an innovative and exhilarating diversion from the game’s otherwise standard issue shoot-people-for-points modes.

4. Classes are out, Divisions are in

But Divisions aren’t very much different to classes. Each of the five Divisions – Infantry, Airborne, Armored, Mountain and Expeditionary – features its own custom loadout and attributes, with unique upgrades that become available as you level up. I chose the Infantry Division because it has a bayonet charge, and because I’m all about up close and personal like that, and because I don’t have the subtlety and sophistication necessary for any of the others.

5. This game is on fire, yo

BURN, BABY, BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURN.

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