Call of Duty: WWII is a fantastic return to the historic WWII era, if you don't mind playing your favourite game modes on only nine maps. As I continue to play the game, I am starting to mind.
The guns and action of WWII's multiplayer feel much better after a few patches to improve connection issues. I haven't enjoyed Call of Duty multiplayer this much since Black Ops 2. I love being dropped back into the classic World War II setting, hearing the blast of artillery strikes as I rush through the trenches and bunkers of Pointe du Hoc with my shotgun. The game takes me back to early memories of Call of Duty: World at War, but now there are fewer maps to enjoy.
Call of Duty: WWII technically released with 12 multiplayer maps, but the problem is that only nine of those are for the standard multiplayer, with three being exclusively used for the new War mode, which is an objective-based game of attacking and defending as the Allied and Axis forces. War is a pleasant addition for players wanting more team-based objective modes, but it isn't a game type I can play all night because the set objectives for each map do get repetitive. I end up playing just one or two War matches per night, spending the rest of my time in classic multiplayer modes.
Nine maps just didn't feel like enough. It seemed like the same maps kept coming up over and over, and there wasn't enough variety compared to the time I'd spent in previous Call of Duty games. So I took a walk down memory lane to see if my memory was correct, and yes, it turns out there's been a marked decline in the number of default multiplayer maps over the last decade.
All three installments of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series released with 16 standard multiplayer maps. Even with a few bad apples in each Modern Warfare title, the map counts still left a dozen or so decent maps to enjoy without the need to purchase DLC. Going further down the line, Black Ops 3 and Infinite Warfare both gave us 12 standard maps at launch.
Here's what the trend over the last decade looks like.
I'm fully aware of the saying "quality over quantity", which is why I didn't initially complain over the low map count in my review. But as I keep playing the game with friends, it's clear that a few of those maps aren't well-liked.
"USS Texas" is the map guaranteed to fill my headset with the whines and groans of my teammates. It's a boat map with a layout that reminds me of Black Ops 2's Hijacked and the futuristic Black Ops 3 Skyjacked remake. I personally don't think USS Texas is that bad, but it could use some spawn adjustments.
It's another map, "Gustav Cannon", that makes me cringe every time it appears in rotation. It's a snowy mound with a huge cannon at the centre, and a true breeding ground for snipers. There are tiny buildings scattered around the outskirts with no rhyme or reason. Controlling the cannon at the centre usually means controlling the game. It's the only map that doesn't really work well for the run-and-gun submachine gun players or shotgun wielders.
A tenth bonus map exists only to Season Pass holders. If you purchase the pass, you can play the Carentan 24/7 playlist of mixed game modes. Everyone in your party must have the bonus map in order to play it, but most of my friends don't have the WWII pass yet. Many players might not buy the pass at all. Carentan is a throwback from 2003's Call of Duty, and it's a shame to see this map stuck in an exclusive playlist.
With such a rough launch and small standard map count, I think Carentan should only be a timed exclusive for pass holders, and Sledgehammer Games should work out a way to deliver a few more maps to the entire player base. I'm not sure if we'll ever see another Call of Duty title release with 16 regular maps, but I hope the number increases from nine.