As modern tactical military shooters go, World War 3, currently in closed beta, does a fair amount right. It captures fast-paced, tactical combat in contemporary settings well and spices it up a bit with inventive gadgets and a ridiculous amount of customization options. But the work it takes to indulge in all that excess doesn’t feel worth it, and at this stage in development, it’s been rough to even connect to a game long enough to put any in.

World War 3 looks impressive. The small details in places like soldier uniforms really blew my mind. I can’t speak to its accuracy, but the micro-accessories that spot your gear appear exactly like the real-world counterparts to my untrained eyes. Not much about it, be it the gear or the environments, really stands out among contemporary shooters, though. If you’ve seen it in other modern shooters, you’ll likely see it here too.

Gunplay is largely similar in that aspect, as most weapons feel familiar to today’s simulation standards. Every weapon can be customized with a huge amount of different parts that affect both function and form. Don’t like the iron sights on your SMG? Well, you can choose from over a half dozen others that might fit your fancy, before moving down the line to barrels, grips, magazines, etc. WW3’s vast modding system will surely scratch your tinker’s itch…

If you’re willing to grind, that is. All of these parts need to be unlocked through play, and each weapon has to be leveled up to earn their mods individually – many of which are objective improvements to them. This means you’ll spend an arduous amount of time early on with very basic gear – time that will no doubt be spent getting mercilessly picked on by players with much better gear than you. Maybe there is the perfect stock out there that makes LMG recoil manageable, but you’ll have to suffer to earn it.

Connecting to a match has been a near-impossible mission. About a quarter of the matches I queued up for actually connected. The rest looked like this. When I did get my boots to the ground, frame rate drops were common, but not so dramatic that I could blame my performance on it. Bugs were also common. Particularly, sound would often distort or drop out, and occasionally I’ll clip through a wall or teleport to odd locations.

Tactical Ops was my favorite mode to play in this beta. If you’ve played a round of Domination from Call of Duty, you’ve seen this one before. The twist here is that the static 6 objectives must be captured in pairs in order to score. 20-man teams are split into smaller squads, each one having a leader with limited ability to mark objectives and points of interest. All that said, I could only get a handful of Tactical Ops games to connect for whatever reason. The majority of my play time was spent with Team Deathmatch, which doesn’t differ significantly from any other TDM mode in any other shooter.

No matter the mode, maps are big and full of buildings to stake out and rough terrain to navigate. Moving through them set a great pace between hopping from cover to cover in small skirmishes, to hunkering down and exchanging fire with ten other players. Until an armored vehicle rolls in and effortlessly murders everyone, that is. Almost any armored vehicle seems to be an overwhelming advantage for the side using them. They always seem to be incredibly abundant as well, so it’s rare when you can step out in the open for more than a few seconds without the roar of some metal beast about to turn the corner and splash you with artillery.

After working out some balancing issues, I think the core World War 3 experience could be a solid one. The shooting and soldiering feels just as good as its contemporaries and should translate pretty seamlessly to military-shooter veterans. It may take real heroics to stomach the grind of unlocking all of the mods for your weapons in order to truly take a personal approach to your kit, though. Not to mention the patience to sit through significant server issues that will prevent you from getting into a match at a decent rate in the first place.

Source: IGN Video Games All

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