It’s fair to say that interest in Call of Duty among the fans has waned a little in the past couple of years. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was great, but last year’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s space combat failed to impress. Fans wanted that “boots on the ground” combat experience and floating around in space with jetpacks certainly wasn’t it. But Call of Duty: WWII definitely is – in particular the Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer.

Call of Duty: WWII, as the name suggests, is taking COD fans back to World War II for the first time since Call of Duty: World at War in 2008. It’s ditching the space warfare in favour of a gritty, realistic look at the horrors of the Second World War. It also means that while the more recent series’ entries have tried to go down more of an eSports path with their respective multiplayer components, Call of Duty: WWII is stripping back in other ways too, similar – dare we say it – to the direction EA and DICE took with Battlefield 1.

We got a chance to go hands-on with the Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer at E3 and are pleased to report that it’s the kind of straightforward, easy to jump into multiplayer that the series has been missing for so long.

Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer keeps boots firmly on the ground

In our extended Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer demo we were shown a trench-based map in the traditional Team Death Match mode along with a good look at the brand new multiplayer mode called War Mode.

The map for Team Death Match was fantastically sized, with a central trench-filled area ringed by bombed out attack posts with mounted guns and even the ruins of a rural home. It was just about the right size for a multiplayer map to have intense close quarters action, spots for snipers and the need for a little bit of teamwork.

But where the teamwork really comes in is the War Mode. Similar to the Operations Mode in Battlefield 1, War Mode for COD: WWII sees the German team attempting to hold a series of objective points while the Allies try to move forward capturing each on en route to the main end goal. The map we were shown first saw you attempting to take a simple capture point in a picturesque house, which can be protected from all sides by windows and open doorways by the enemy if they work together.

Call of Duty: WWII

If you managed to do that, you could move onto trying to rebuild a bridge across a heavily bombed river in order for your tank to cross it. The actual bridge itself is incredibly exposed, leaving you little choice but to use smoke bombs to cover you and your buddies as you repair. The enemy meanwhile has a tonne of sniping spots on its side of the bridge along with mounted guns that make tactical teamwork your only choice.

And if you manage to get past that point, you'll have to work together to arm a bomb inside the enemy's arsenal, which again can be protected from multiple angles, leaving your team powerless to do anything but form some kind of strategy. It's brilliant when you get it right, either defending or attacking because everything is against the clock and leaves you fighting your foes in close proximity.

Finally, the attacking team needs to escort their tank through the European streets, with the behemoth only moving if one of your team is near it. Be apart from it too long and it'll stop, or worse, start rolling backwards.

Call of Duty: WWII

It's much more fast-paced than Operations Mode from Battlefield 1, and is more akin to something like an Overwatch Payload map, which is definitely not a bad thing at all. Combine all that with some blood and gore and you've got some of the best Call of Duty multiplayer we've had in years. This really could be a true return to form.

We didn't really get to explore the new Divisions system, which is replacing the classic Create A Class, but we're pleased to see that the health regeneration is still there in multiplayer, even if it has been ditched for the campaign.

As for the single-player campaign, Sledgehammer Games promises it will be "grounded, human, and intimate", with the lack of health regeneration just part of what is claiming to be a realistic story experience. From what we've seen so far, it's going to blend that realism with expertly choreographed set pieces full of dismembered bodies and blood in glorious HD colours.

Will Call of Duty: WWII be any good?

From what we've seen of the Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer, developer Sledgehammer Games has heard your criticism of the latest COD titles, and is bringing the series back to its roots in all the best ways. Gore, fast-paced combat that keeps your boots on the ground and brilliantly tight maps, this could be Call of Duty's year to really shine.

Samantha Loveridge
Sam is the UK Gaming Editor at Fandom. She's been addicted to games since she first got her paws on a GameBoy and hasn't looked back.