The first Call of Duty private beta weekend is behind us. Not to worry, though. If you missed this past CoD WW2 beta weekend you don’t have to wait long to experience the game for yourself. There’s another beta weekend coming up starting September 1st for both Xbox One and PS4 users. This should be a better indicator of what to expect as Sledgehammer Games implements some of the changes they planned due to feedback from last weekend. I put in a few hours over the weekend and here are my thoughts:

The Good

We’re back to boots on the ground! This CoD WW2 beta was the first chance to experience boots on the ground action in Call of Duty since Ghosts. Advanced Warfare added exosuits. Black Ops 3 took things a little further with wall runs and specialists. Then Infinite Warfare built on the same futuristic gameplay style. While they all had their awesome parts, they definitely didn’t feel like Call of Duty. Now we’re back to the gritty setting of World War 2. No colorful, animated gun camo. No dabbing in the post game score screen. The gameplay puts an emphasis on your ability to maneuver the map and outplay your opponents rather than who can fly through the air and get the jump on some unsuspecting player who wasn’t expecting death from above.

CoD WW2 Beta
Image Source: Call of Duty/YouTube (screenshot)

The new “War” game mode was very fun to play. It contained a series of objectives for the attacking team to capture. Each objective felt like a new chapter in a story. If you’re an Overwatch fan like myself then you will definitely like this payload-style objective game mode. The obvious downside to this is playing with people who don’t play the objective. I recommend putting on your headset and playing with friends, if possible. Trust me, it will make for a much less frustrating experience.

The CoD WW2 beta had very good gun balancing for a beta, in my opinion. Yes, there are improvements to be made but I think those improvements are minor. For example, SMG’s dominate the battlefield right now. They could use a bit of nerf, especially when it comes to their range. I felt like sniper rifles and shotguns were actually quite useful in this game. In past games I have always hated using a sniper rifle and I have always felt that shotguns put you at a distinct disadvantage in any distance other than extremely close fights. The maps cater to each gun and you can definitely find routes and areas that play to the loadout you have selected.

There was some mixed reaction regarding the division in the CoD WW2 beta. I actually enjoyed how the division have been set up. For those that didn’t play; there are a few different divisions in the game which each offer their own perks which can be unlocked by leveling up each division. For example, the Airborne Division can attach silencers to their weapons during the game. I think the divisions add some differentiation to the loadouts without getting too ridiculous like we saw with specialists in Black Ops 3. You can play with a division that you think complements your strengths without feeling like you’re missing out on too much or getting a huge advantage over other players.

The Bad

I have to keep in mind that the CoD WW2 beta is just that: a beta. There are still a couple months to tweak the game prior to release. We also saw a limited amount of content during the beta weekend so it’s hard to give a full judgement on the game. With that said; I was not a fan of any of the multiplayer maps. Of course, they all follow the classic Call of Duty 3 lane style of design. However, I felt like Gibraltar was very disjointed. The map lacked a lot of flow, in my opinion. Also, the spawn points felt like they were too rigid. What I mean by that is that the spawn points felt like they didn’t move around a lot when they should have. I often felt like I was being spawn camped and dying a couple of times immediately upon spawning before the spawn point moved to another area of the map.

There felt like there was a lack of character customization. We went from being able to have a glowing green gun to being able to choose between a handful of faces and basic outfits. There has to be happy medium somewhere in there. Perhaps this is something where more content will be revealed after the beta in order to offer more customization.

Finally; flinch is back. And I’m not talking about a sprinkling of flinch. When you get shot, your player flinches like he’s never flinched before. Obviously Call of Duty needs to find a fine line between realism and video game. Hopefully they turn the flinch down just a bit.

There are some other issues but Sledgehammer, to their credit, has already come out with some fixes for next weekend so I will reserve judgement until then.

How to Play For Free

Of course, the CoD WW2 beta is only open to those who have pre-ordered the game… Or is it? A cool trick was revealed for those who want to play the beta without pre-ordering. Users were able to sign up for a Hong Kong PlayStation account and download the private beta without having to pre-order the game. It’s unclear if that strategy will work again for next weekend or if Xbox users will be able to utilize the strategy. We will try to keep you updated as we learn more.

Did you get a chance to play the CoD WW2 beta? What did you think of the game? Is it on your list to buy this fall or will you be skipping the latest installment of the popular first person shooter?