Call Of Duty: World at War
Title: Call of Duty: World at War
Release Date: November 11, 2008 (US) November 14, 2008 (EU) November 12, 2008 (AU)
Platform[s]: PC, PS2, PS3, Nintendo DS, Xbox360, Wii
In Treyarch’s newest addition to the Call of Duty franchise, it may seem as if they have been watching ‘back to the future‘, since where as Call of Duty 4 placed you squarely in the boots of a modern day solider, in the latest game, we travel back in time to World War 2.
The single player/co-op story is based both in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese army and across Eastern Europe, fighting the Nazi’s and both story lines encompass the gritty real life feeling of war, unlike any other WWII game has managed before.
From the tropical jungles of the island of Makin, to the rainy streets of Berlin, you will visit many varied places, each reflecting a real life battle, that has made the history books..
Now it’s your turn to step into that history, and make a difference.
Using the game engine from the award winning Call of Duty 4 : Modern Combat, Treyarch has been given a great starting point, but they have not just ‘re-skinned’ the older game. There are many advancements in not only game play but graphics, from the new dismemberment of enemy troops with either weapons or grenades, to the campaign co-op mode, which has been increased from two to four players, it has also has been built from the ground up for this release, featuring not only normal game play, but also a new completive mode, which each player getting their own XP points for kills and objectives, these points also count towards your online ranking.
The basic game play remains unchanged in the series from day one, your role in the game is to complete objectives, killing the enemy in the process, and helping your troops move closer to winning the war. During this, you will play the normal ’ run and gun’ style levels as the Americans, or more a few more stealthy levels as a Russian sniper, in scenes similar to the film ’Enemy at the Gates’ – these sniper missions help break up the very intense close quarter battles, since now in the Pacific you face a new type of enemy, one that will try and kill you at any cost.. Even their own lives.
You also have the chance to not only ride on tanks, but also control them, in several sections you are either in control of or in a vehicle of some kind, ranging from driving a tank, to manning guns of a flying boat for a level.
The vehicle sections do make a change from the very intense fighting, and even though your AI friendly troops will appear to help you out, your mostly left to shoot the majority of the enemy yourself, which can be a little over whelming on certain levels, so remember to use cover and grenades to your advantage.
On completion of the single player campaign, you will unlock a hidden bonus mode, called ‘Nacht Der Untoten’ or Night of the Undead.. Which places up to 4 players (via Xbox live co-op) up against a seemingly never ending waves of Nazi zombies.
The basic gameplay is to hold the building you start in, and defend it for as long as possible – with a short amount of time to rebuild defences, and rearm between waves – it plays like a horror versions of Gears of War 2’s hoard mode, but with the added need to bar windows and doors, to stop the Zombies from entering the building.
Online multiplayer remains mainly unchanged from the basic’s of Call of Duty 4, but with a few WWII twists… First thing you will notice is the player limit has risen to 18 players on certain modes, and the weapons and perks have also been altered to fit the era, so while you may at first be unfamiliar with them, most are almost identical to modern combats sets, just the names are slightly different, and as always practice will reap rewards.
Prestige mode also makes a return, with the levels capping at 65 this time, and 10 prestige levels will keep many players going for months. Also different this time is the award of one extra custom slot for your weapon load out each time you prestige and the award of a gamer picture on second and tenth prestige levels.
Weapons and perks unlock as you play the online modes, as before, or via the new competitive co-op mode, but when you first start, you also have a small selection of game types to play, so time needs to be invested in the game to rank up to a level that allows you to play some of the more advanced game types, such as hard core and search and destroy.
New additions to online game modes and making a welcome return from CoD 3, are tanks, which though powerful, can be blown to pieces with a little team work. Although they do not appear on all maps, these tanks are very much needed on some of the new maps – there are some simply huge maps, ranging from the battered streets of Berlin, to lush farm lands – each with plenty of hiding spots for snipers, or tunnels for tunnel rats.
Kill streak perks also return, but with the added WWII spice, 3 kills in a row will grant you an ‘Recon Plane’ which when activated, will highlight enemy positions using the on screen mini map (providing they are not using certain perks) – 5 kills in a row will allow you to launch a pinpoint artillery strike on any place on the map, so choose with care, or after a Recon Plane. And finally maybe the most debated perk..
7 kills in a row, will allow you to call in the attack dogs, which will proceed to hunt down and kill the enemy for you, or if you like you can follow them and pick off a few easy kills, while the unfortunate enemies battle the dogs. While this addition may at first seem odd, while playing the single player campaign, you will learn that dogs where used a lot during the war for many roles, so having them in the multiplayer is a welcome addition, to some.
From lush jungles to the gritty streets of war torn Berlin, the graphics are never less than impressive, there is a slight loss of texture detail, compared with other games, but the over all scale and visual style remain very, very good.
Only a few times was there noticeable slow down, but this is mainly when large explosions are happening, or several peoples limbs fly off in different directions, yes limbs…
New to the series is the feature of dismemberment when you score direct hits with grenades and some of the more powerful weapons in the game, sniper rifles can remove arms, legs etc and grenades, if placed correctly, can produce a blood fountain, with limbs flying off into the distance..
New fire effects are also put to good use not only in the backgrounds, but also in some of the weapons, such as the flame thrower – which in single player is as lethal for the user, as the people getting hosed with it – due to the explosive nature of the gas tanks, a well placed shot will detonate the tanks, and the resulting explosion of flames and blood will be one of the moments you remember from the game, yes it’s gory, but in keeping with real life.
All of the new visual effects merge with the ones we expect from the CoD4 engine, such as shards of light, with floating specks of dust catching the light.. Models are detailed, yet textures seem slightly lower than in CoD4 – maybe due to the size of the levels, but at no point does the game look anything less than impressive in single player.
Online multiplayer , the graphics still looks very good, with slightly lower texture detail than the previous game, but only very slightly but considering the size of the levels and amount of detail, they can not be faulted, indeed some maps seem twice the size of the largest maps from CoD4, when you include the tunnels etc.
Special mention should go to Nacht Der Untoten with the Zombie Nazi’s looking very impressive, not only can you blow limbs off them , and they continue to drag themselves towards you, but you can also see internal organs etc with repeated hits to the chest. It may only be a small bonus game, but the graphics on it have still been given a lot of care.
There where a few minor glitches with textures etc, and arms / legs coming through walls, but none that really could be said as game breaking.
From the roar of planes over head – to the famous actors voicing some of the major characters you will run across during the game, sound effects and voice acting is second to none, with stars such as Kiefer Sutherland and Gary Oldman staring as major support roles.
The score is also very well done, there is some slightly strange fusions of styles, with rock guitars punching their way though some of the more traditional themes, but the mix is very well done, if a little rock heavy but adds a breath of fresh air to the genre.
As you battle your way through the game, your AI comrades will shout out enemy positions and smack talk as you battle your way to victory. The enemy troops also are very vocal, and early in the game, you will fear hearing certain things from the hidden Japanese troops.. Such as ‘ banzai!’
Shots ring out with a great sense of power, especially the sniper rifles, which reverb around the surroundings, bullet hits on flesh and walls are also convincingly done, in fact your never in much doubt of when you obtain a headshot – since the sound of it is quite distinctive. The audio in the game all mixes into a very impressive 5.1 sound track, with enemy weapon fire easy to pin point, if like previously said, a little heavy on the electric guitar, considering the time scale.
Overall Score & Replayability
If you’re a fan of WWII games, from the moment the game starts – from the first slice to the final gunshot, you are in for a thrill ride, since this one of the finest games to show the conflict and scale of one of the most brutal wars. The new blood and dismemberment can seem a little over the top at times, but the general look and feel of the game is one of a top class title, Call of Duty: World at War – is one of , if not the best WWII first person shooter on the market at present. The warning about containing graphic war footage, one would assume also refers to the many bits of news reel footage used in the level intro’s which set the scene for the battle ahead, these scenes can be very graphic, but not more so than any War Documentary seen on TV.
The new pacific setting, and the Japanese troops who will run past soldiers to bayonet you, add a new dimension to the normal run of the mill game play, never again can you simply rush though open sections, since many times the enemy are waiting.
The single player campaign is a worthy successor to the other Call of Duty games, with two very interesting story lines, which this time, do not intertwine. It can seem a little short as a single player game at the lower skill levels, however veteran skill level returns and is as frustrating as ever on later levels, and will give a few hours more should you need it. Online co-op also adds to the fun, with not only competitive campaign, but Zombie Nazis to shoot, what’s not to like?
As with the previous games – there are some really stunning set pieces through out the game, and some truly amazing moments, which are equal to if not surpassing the previous games in both scale and drama.
Multiplayer is as good as ever, as long as you can make the backward leap from the modern combat of the previous game. The online game is equally as good to play as single player with weapons and perks as rewarding as they are powerful.
The many online game modes and maps will have fans of WWII returning week after week, how many fans of CoD4 move to the older setting remains to be seen, however for some the gameplay of World at War may suit you more, since the mix of weapons, large maps, perks and tanks is a winning formula.