Call of Duty: WWII is out now around the world for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC and we’ve put together this short guide to everything you need to know before diving into the world’s most prolific international conflict. It’s been almost a decade since the series took place in World War II with the last entry being 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War. This marks the fourteenth entry in the long-running franchise.

In a way, Call of Duty: WWII is a return to roots for the series. The original few entries all took place during WWII and were a big part of what brought the franchise to fame, but since then they’ve shifted mostly towards near-future settings and away from historical warfare. With such a big game launch on the way, it’s important to make sure you know everything you need before playing. This Call of Duty features several changes, updates, and variations that even series veterans may not be familiar with.

Call of Duty: WWII’s Campaign Changes

Most people will only play the campaign once and never return to it again (if they don’t just jump straight into multiplayer that is) but it still serves as an important first impression of the game for millions of fans. Since this year’s campaign takes place during WWII, that automatically sets it apart from other entries. The story is centered around a squad in the 1st infantry Division of the United States army and follows their missions along the European Theater’s Western Front in World War II. The majority of the story takes place between 1944 and 1945, but some flashback scenes are expected as well. The epic, storied D-Day battle on the beach at Normandy will be featured in the game and is expected to be a hallmark moment for the campaign.

As opposed to previous games, the campaign is aiming to cover a wider breadth of stories from American soldiers, British soldiers, German families, and a female French resistance leader. The aim is to show that World War II was truly a global conflict between all of the Allies and all of the Axis, not just United States and Germany. As far as we can tell, it sounds similar to the vignette-style storytelling from Electronic Arts and DICE’s Battlefield 1.

The biggest alteration to the gameplay in the campaign is the decision to move away from a “lone wolf” style story that encouraged players to run-and-gun their way through levels, fighting on their own, and paying little attention to actual military tactics. One way the developers have made this change is by removing the automatic health regeneration that the series has become so well-known for. Now, the only way to heal yourself is going to be via the medics in your squad. Other squadmates will be able to supply you with ammo as well. This means if you take a lot of fire and get hit several times you can’t just go hide until your health comes back, which changes the flow of gameplay significantly.

Movement is also much slower-paced now and unlike the last several games in the series. You won’t be running on walls, double jumping, or using a jetpack to glide through the air. Instead, you’ll have to run around the map like a normal foot soldier would back in the 1940s and you can’t sprint endlessly anymore either.

Call of Duty: WWII’s Competitive Multiplayer Changes

As ambitious as the campaign sounds this time around, there’s no hiding the fact that the main reason so many people buy and play Call of Duty each and every year is the fast-paced, addictive online competitive multiplayer. This year is aiming to be no different, but just like the campaign, there are a lot of hefty changes that aim to make this entry in the series feel dramatically different than years past.

For starters, you no longer create your own class for multiplayer. Now, you join a specific division that defines the type of loadouts you can equip. Each of the five divisions offer a great amount of variety and should make it easier to strategize with a squad since everyone won’t be running with customized, often unbalanced, class loadouts. This should encourage better team composition.

As a meta-level change there is now a “Headquarters” social space before, between, and after multiplayer matches. From here players will be able to socialize, show off their gear, and even practice combat. You’ll also be able to get supply drops (these are basically loot boxes) in the HQ to augment your gear and loadouts.

One of the last big changes to Call of Duty‘s online competitive multiplayer is brand-new game mode called War. The War game mode aims to offer a large-scale evolving playspace that resembles Conquest from the Battlefield series or even the objective-based gameplay from titles like Overwatch. In War you’ll play on either offense and defense and be tasked with either completing objectives (if you’re on offense) or stopping the other team (if you’re on defense.)

One example I found on a map while playing the multiplayer beta happened when the offensive team had to repair a bridge to cross to a new area of the level before time ran out while the defensive team had to stop them. The result is usually much longer matches and more varied games since the map is evolving over the course of the match and requires different strategies as objectives change.

Call of Duty: WWII’s Zombie Mode Changes

One of the other most popular reasons to play Call of Duty is the ever-popular zombie mode. Typically, this pits a small group of players against a relentless horde of the undead as the group teams up to fortify defenses, unlock new guns and upgrades, and try to survive as long as possible. Whereas the campaign takes a serious approach to the source material and the competitive multiplayer pits players against one another in fast-paced battles, the zombie mode is a slower-paced and often much sillier cooperative experience. That is, until this game.

In the past the zombie mode had a very campy, B-grade horror movie vibe, but now the developers are targeting a more intense, survival horror style experience. Players will have to face off against sinister “Nazi zombies” as they fight for their lives and stop the undead from creating a new army. Actors like David Tennant, Elodie Yung, Katheryn Winnick, Udo Kier, and Ving Rhames are expected to appear in the Nazi zombie mode as well, lending high-caliber talent to the characters.

Call of Duty: WWII is shaping up to be one of the hottest and most popular games this holiday season. With a robust offering of both competitive and cooperative multiplayer game modes, as well as an involved cinematic single player campaign, there’s something for everybody in this blockbuster release.

Call of Duty: WWII released worldwide for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 3rd, 2017.

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