Call of Duty: World at War – Reviewed – XBox 360

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With Call of Duty: World at War (CoD:WaW), Treyarch went back to the most major conflict in world history, World War II. Its predecessor was situated in the modern day and quite a few people (me amongst them) felt that they made a mistake going back to the WWII scene. Let’s have a look to see whether this is in fact the case.

The campaign (single player & co-op) is divided between two areas in the WWII. The Soviet’s battle in Russia and their subsequent push into Nazi-Germany while the other takes place in the Pacific Ocean islands. In the Russian campaign you play the role of a private in the People’s Army, fighting along side your comrades. Beginning in Stalingrad and fighting all the way to Berlin (why you never got any kind of promotion is beyond me). In the US campaign your main role is a private in the Marine Corps, fighting in the Pacific Ocean islands, jumping from island to island all the way to Okinawa. Although at one point you do jump to a different character where you man the turrets on a maritime patrol plane. A sequence that’s very reminiscent of the bombing sequence in Call of Duty 4… just with older weapons.

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The story jumps between the two campaigns in such a way that the story progresses in a smooth manner. Overall about 4 year progress through the game, the parts you play are certain “highlights” in each characters war. Each new mission has a small introduction using actual footage that was taken in WWII. These interchapter movies are quite tastefully and artistically done and it actually gives you an idea what the soldiers went through.

Thankfully Treyarch decided to keep the controls the same as it was in CoD4, so there should be no problem familiarizing yourself to it, even if you didn’t play CoD4. The controls are easy to use and very responsive. The weapons in the game are also very well done and it looks like the developers spent quite a bit of time on them. Everything reacts as one would expect. Treyarch has added 2 new weapons, the bayonet (also known as the-sharp-thing-at-the-point-of-your-rifle) for your use in gutting Banzai’s, and the flamethrower (for all your pyromaniacs). I’ll admit that I was impressed with the way they incorporated the flamethrower. It gives you the ability to burn snipers out of trees and set grass alight so that any soldiers hiding away in foxholes can be flushed out.

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As the single player clocks in at about 11 hours, the multiplayer is where most of the people will spend their time. Having CoD4 as a strong base to work from they can only make things better… and that’s exactly what they did. The online system works exactly like the one in CoD4. You gain experience by getting kills, doing objectives etc. The experience is then used to get promoted to better ranks which allows more equipment (new guns and attachments). They added 3 new modes for multiplayer, the first is the co-op campaign, second is Capture the Flag (this was missing in CoD4 but was in previous iterations) and lastly is Zombie Nazis.

The co-op campaign is the single player campaign but only better. You can play with 3 of your friends, the more people join the more enemies are added. Then there’s also death cards, collectables in the game that gives you extra challenges or special abilities. The co-op can be played either using split-screen or online.

The Zombie Nazis mode is unlocked when you finished the campaign (or when you join someone’s game that has it unlocked). This mode sets you (and your team, if it’s online) up against a horde of zombies attacking you in waves. You are holed up in a house with various unlockable items, anything from new weapons, ammo & new areas. As you damage and kill zombies you get points, the points are then used to buy the above mentioned weapons and ammo or to unlock inaccessible areas. This mode is definitely something different but quite a lot of fun.

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CoD:WaW uses the CoD4 engine and as everyone should know is quite an excellent engine. The graphics are top notch with realistic looking grass, flames and “everythings”. The sound in the game is also extremely realistic… there’s nothing quite as accelerating as hearing “BANZAI!!!!!” and knowing that you will probably be surrounded by quite a few Japanese soldiers in the next we seconds. The music score was also very exciting… not something I would expect in a WWII game but a definite bonus.

The Call of Duty franchise has always been quite a success and this new iteration is no different. If you liked CoD4 you’ll like CoD:WaW. I definitely recommend this to any FPS lover.

Scoring:

Gameplay: 8.5/10 [Very solid] 
Presentation: 8/10 [Excellent graphics] Sound: 9/10 [Very realistic weapons and loved the background music] Value: 9.5/10 [So much to do: single player, co-op, multiplayer AND Zombie Nazis]

Overall: 8.8/10 [A definite must-have]

Last Updated: November 27, 2008

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