The Call of Duty: WWII private beta is under way, and I’ve been playing for a few hours. That means I’m a veteran at this game, at least as much as anyone else is.

I’ve leveled up to rank 10, mostly by playing matches where I get one kill for every three deaths. That’s about normal for me as far as a kill/death ratio goes. During my play, I’ve fought almost exclusively in the team deathmatch battles on Pointe du Hoc, Ardennes, and the newly announced map, Gibraltar. I’m a longtime Call of Duty fan, and I even liked last year’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which wasn’t as popular as other games in the series.

And so far, WWII has a lot going for it. I haven’t seen absurd kill/death ratios that imply some kind of imbalance that expert players are exploiting. It is a slower-paced Call of Duty, where you don’t rack up kills as fast as in the sci-fi games because World War II weapons are shorter range, and they have slower rates of fire. That helps equalize the play for more sluggish players like me. It’s not all about reaction time.

I also like the sounds in this game. We hear some of the usual battle chatter and other ambient sounds of distant artillery. But the weapons themselves have a nice pop, even though the sound designers on the Sledgehammer Games team had to come up with creative ways to reproduce the sound of some of the weapons. One nice touch is the echo that you hear when a gun goes off inside a bunker.


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I’ve seen some hilarious improvisations. When you start a game, you can’t move. But you can press down on the right stick and pretend to do a bayonet charge. That makes your character grunt. So, if you want to get your team fired up before the match, you can start a session of bayonet grunting. I found that most people will follow your cue.

One of the cool new weapons is the shotgun with incendiary ammo from the Expeditionary Force Division. It certainly doesn’t seem realistic for the Second World War, and it previously appeared in Call of Duty: Black Ops from 2012. But there were some incendiary weapons used in both World War I and World War II, and that’s enough to justify the appearance of the incendiary ammo in WWII. When you fire the shells at close range, you can take out an enemy and watch him burn. He’ll scream as flames engulf him, making for a dramatic moment on the battlefield. If you fire from too far away, your enemy may still catch on fire but will only be wounded.

Above: War zone map in Call of Duty: WWII.

Image Credit: Activision

I haven’t had a chance to play much of the war mode battle on the Operation Breakout map, where you have a multi-stage battle and progress through various steps in order to escort a tank to take out a bunch of anti-aircraft guns. I played it at Gamescom and found that the Armored Division’s heavy machine gun came in very handy as it was able to shoot through walls to get at the snipers hiding above the bridge.

So far, I like the Gibraltar map the best. It has vertical elevations that allow you to get the drop on someone below. There are some long pathways where longer-range weapons can be used, and it has plenty of paths in the caves where short-range weapons rule. It’s a nice blend of everything, and it means that no single kind of weapon dominates the fray.

Pointe du Hoc is similar, with narrow trenches in the middle and wide expanses on the edges where you can fight at long range. Ardennes is pretty similar, but there isn’t much reason to move into the short-range area in the middle of the map.

While most of the videos I took are from team deathmatch games, I will likely play more of the domination mode since you can score points by taking territory and don’t have to rely exclusively on getting kills to win. In fact, the only time that I came out on top of a game so far was when I scored the most territory wins in a domination map. I can already tell there is something better about the multiplayer this time around. I want to play it, and I’ve already played for longer stretches of time than I played in Infinite Warfare. That’s a good sign.

Here’s my best match to date on the Gibraltar map.

Here’s a team deathmatch battle on the Ardennes map, where the action focused on camping with the fixed machine gun and assaulting the bunker with it. The full Call of Duty: WWII game debuts on November 3 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. I played it on the PS4.

Here’s a team deathmatch battle on Gibraltar. I found a nice little shack with an implanted machine gun. It was useful as it provided a stable base for shooting at enemies coming down several paths. But the enemies were on to it, and they quickly came in behind me whenever I was shooting the machine gun.

Here’s another battle on the Gibraltar map.

Here’s the opening private beta battle on the Pointe du Hoc map. I played this one with a rather slow-draw Armored Division heavy machine gun.

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