After Infinite Warfare, I was ready to give up on Call of Duty. I just didn't think the futuristic space setting was very compelling and couldn't bring myself to finish the campaign. Just when I thought I was out though, Sledgehammer Games has pulled me back in. For the next installment of the franchise, the title is going back to its roots: World War II in Europe. To me, the historical Call of Duty games are the best ones, and this year's installment looks very promising.
Gallery: 'Call of Duty: WWII' screenshots | 12 Photos
Here at E3, Activision and Sledgehammer are showing off the campaign in a cinematic setting while letting us put our fingers on the trigger in multiplayer. I got a look at Team Deathmatch, Domination and War Mode in my brief time with Call of Duty: WWII. Antique weapons, trench warfare and close-quarters combat make the team play here very enjoyable. There are a ton of blind corners and places to hide, so you can walk right past an opposing player without knowing it until it's too late. It happened to me a lot.
As far as the campaign is concerned, the story focuses on Private "Red" Daniels as he fights for the Allied Powers in Europe during 1944 and 1945. Yes, that includes the beaches of Normandy and D-Day. Some key aspects of campaign mode include using health packs (first-aid kits) to heal yourself and relying heavily on the members of your squad to complete objectives and avoid dying on the battlefield. As you might expect with Call of Duty, there's plenty of violence and gore, and the gameplay I saw included multiple gruesome decapitations.
Divisions also play a big role here, as you can select the job you want to have during each match. Of course, each one comes with its own weapons, uniforms and responsibilities. There's also a headquarters in the game where you can do all of those training exercises, including one-on-one combat. Unfortunately, Sledgehammer wasn't showing off that Nazi-zombies mode, but we already knew it would be part of the game.
I'll have to reserve any definitive judgment on Call of Duty: WWII until I'm able to play through the campaign and spend more time getting owned in multiplayer. Thankfully, I won't have to wait too long to do that. Sledgehammer says a private beta will be available this summer, and the full game is set to launch November 3rd on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One -- just in time to offer some respite from your holiday madness. Going back in time could bring fans back to the series -- it's just too early to tell how compelling a case Activision and Sledgehammer will make.