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I am the type of gamer that is very selective when it comes to the games that I consider “quality.”  I am the majority when I say this.  It’s taken a while, but now developers and publishers have a good handle on what makes a game “Buy  Worthy” these days.  For me a game must have a high amount of replay and production values to be taken seriously.  Call of Duty: World at Wars is that quality experience.  Over that past few years it has refined itself as the definitive WW2 First Person Shooter or otherwise known as a FPS.  Though last year’s effort by Infinity Ward entered new territory with “Modern Warfare”, its core gameplay was the same one made famous by its WW2 predecessors.  Holiday 2008 saw the Call of Duty franchise return to it roots with “World at War.”  Treyarch did a fantastic job by incorporating some fresh new aspects to their already staple experience and reinvigorated a genre that many thought was dead.  By taking the fight to the Pacific Theater, World at War lets you battle WW2 in locations only previously touched upon in past titles.  Adding online campaign co-op modes, a cool Nazi Zombie mode, and building on what was awesome about last year’s multiplayer, World at War is without a doubt a “Buy Worthy” game.

Anyone who’s ever enjoyed a Call of Duty game knows exactly what to expect.  Top notch presentation and graphics, slick cut scenes, user friendly gameplay, and competent voice acting.  This iteration features A-List actors such as Kiefer Sutherland and Gary Oldman lending their throats in an attempt to heighten immersion.  Kiefer’s the main voice for for the American offensive, and Oldman is the voice for the Russian side. World at War pits you as soldiers in the American and Russian offensives, battling the Nazis and the Japanese.  World at War relies heavily on scripted events through a linear game path that plays the same every time and there often isn’t two ways to go about an objective.  To help alleviate some of this redundancy, Treyarch keeps the game moving with seemingly endless waves of enemies that force you to fight forward and keep moving.  You won’t have time to think about the fact that you are being led along a path.  As with previous COD incarnations, you could clear an area rather quickly making the game seem shorter.  With World at War, the level design might seem about the same size, but they throw about four times as many enemy soldiers at you, which will keep you in areas longer, and therefore make the game itself feel longer.  I’ve read complaints about how the single player campaign is too short, but I thought it was just long enough.  It took me between 8-10 hours to complete the solo campaign on normal difficulty, and I died a lot.  There are plenty of “wow” moments, and the action is always visceral.  The sound is as good as it always is, especially in 5 or 6.1.  Bullets wizzing on the constant and explosions that rattle your sub woofer are all present in just about every level.  Typical pitfalls persist here as they do in most FPS games, such as walking blindly backwards into some object and getting stuck, and then subsequently getting killed because of it.  Also grenade radius was something I could never get used to, but that’s mostly my fault I’m sure.

After I completed the solo campaign I was awarded with the Nazi Zombie mode.  This was a fun mode that can be played solo, splitscreen, or online co-op.  It’s premise is simple: you’re stuck in a building with hordes of undead Nazi Zombies clawing to get at you.  It’s a good time for a bit but gets a little old after a couple times through.  World at War also offers for the first time in the COD series a full campaign that can be played co-op, either splitscreen or online.  With in that co-op mode you can choose to be competitive or remain cooperative.  You can revive teammates and there are even “Death Cards” to be found.  The “Death Cards” act like co-op perks if you will.

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The obvious selling point of World at War is the vast breadth of the multiplayer experience.  Doing what COD4 did the best, World at War utilizes the same rank progressive system that keeps you motivated and excited for new perks and challenges.  Lobbies work better now with the addition “Host Migration” and don’t close as often.  The maps are big and beautiful, and express the carnage accurately.  It would be nice to see a map editor at this point in the series but it’s easy to see why they don’t.  So they can sell you DLC maps down the line or course!  Vehicles remain, but there are only tanks!  Where the jeeps and motorcycles at?  The wild dogs and air strikes are sweet, but vehicle diversity is gone.  Wonder why that happened?  It’s obvious that level design needs to cater to vehicles, but if it’s done for tanks then why not include jeeps and such?

Call of Duty: World at War breathes quality on just about every level, and is another stride for Treyarch and Activision.  Who will make the next Call of Duty game?  It’s Infinity Ward’s turn, but which direction will they take?  I think if another WW2 game happens it should go the route of Far Cry 2.  While Far Cry 2 created a huge open world sandbox FPS, it was empty and there was nothing to do.  I know that Bethesda’s next game is an open world FPS, and I’m sure they won’t make the same mistakes that UbiSoft Montreal made.  I think the Call of Duty genre could be fresh and new as a GTA FPS WW2 type game.  For the time being, I’ll stop using acronyms and see you online.

Pros:

  • Stellar Call of Duty immersion
  • Unmatched Multiplayer experience
  • Great replay value

Cons:

  • Standard FPS issues, getting stuck in blind spots, etc.
  • If you don’t like linear track based shooters COD might not be your thing
  • Kiefer’s voice gets annoying in Multiplayer

Call of Duty: World at War Xbox 360 Review

Buy it for $56.99 here










Jeff B