A few years ago I bit the bullet (pun intended) and purchased an Xbox 360. The major driving force behind the purchase was COD4. The game rocked my socks off with its outstanding game play and best of all its online multiplayer delivered the replay most gamers only dream of. When I received an email offering me a promotional copy (disclaimer: I didn’t have to return the game) of COD5 for review I jumped at the chance.
COD5, or Call of Duty: World At War, is set in the latter years of the WWII. Throughout the game you alternate between the Red and American Army during your campaigns. In both instances you’re a private and take instruction, although its not mandatory, to follow from a senior officer. You CO, or commanding officer for the American Army is Kiefer Sutherland. Those familiar with the 24 series will enjoy his baritone rustic voice. The Russian commanding officer is played by none other than Gary Oldman. Unfortunately, his voice isn’t discernible given its mask, a Russian accent.
Let me start with my gripes. Much like COD4, you play on ‘a wire’ or set path. So you can forget about jumping over or through an enemy’s barbwire or flanking the enemy when its not incorporated into the board’s design. I experienced this particular frustration on a number of the latter boards, especially when I could see a goal (or ammo dump) just feet away.
In COD5, you play with an AI team. At times they assist you on your missions, but for the most part prove useless if not inhibiting. For instance, if you place yourself in a corner between a set of sandbags and a wall, your teammate might stand next to you and box you in. If there is no where to move backwards you could ‘get stuck’ and literally have to commit video game suicide.
Another notable drawback to the game is the redundancy. Yes, by the very nature of video games this is true, but it’s made more apparent in COD5 due to its variation in entertainment. At times the game moves right along and entertains you with a variety of ‘cinematic’ like scenarios. During other times the game’s pacing slows largely due to the ‘kill and move forward format’. If you remain in a locked position while killing enemies, well, they just keep coming – lame.
Nothing beats a game with blood and gore, and let me tell you, COD5 has it. The explosive nature of the limbs and blood varies with the ammunition. Suit up with a Tommy gun and you’ll see your foes splattered into pieces. Line the Nazis up in your sniper sites and you’ll surely see the bodies, sans heads, hit the floor.
The experience doesn’t stop at the blood and gore. The variety of weapons, realistic audio and overall game play are a fantastic mix that only increase the game’s immersion.
Some of the notables boards includes the plane and trench board. The plane board places you in the rear of the plane running between the aircraft’s guns. Although you don’t voluntarily run from gun to gun, it was still fun to fire a weapon other than a pistol or machine gun. The trench board pits you against the Japanese who hover above you. Fortunately, your equipped with a flame thrower, which allows you to clear out large numbers of enemies and shoot off an unlimited amount of firey fuel.
And what kind of FPS would COD5 be with out multiplayer. The game picks up right where COD4 left off. The boards are widely varied, offer great design and ambiance and practically make World At War cost pennies on the dollar given the increased replay value. Also added is the ability to play the game in Coop mode. Unfortunately, my Xbox box rep (i.e. friend list) is so small I don’t have an opportunity to test this.
I must admit that I did make a mistake while review COD: World At War. I set the difficulty to ‘hardest’. As a result I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the game, especially on the last board which pits you again the Nazis inside an abandoned building. If you don’t follow an exact path you get slaughtered in seconds. To add to the frustration the board restarts down a set of stairs and facing the wrong direction. With that said, I’ve heard that anything less than the aforementioned setting will mean no more than 4 or 5 hours of game play depending on your aptitude for FPS.
At the end of the day, or war, COD: World At War is a pretty killer game. The action is fast paced, although sometimes redundant, and the added bonus of movie star voices can surely bring a sense of movie like realism. Not picking up a copy of World At War is like blasphemy; every COD fan should have this game not just stocked but copied to their Xbox’s hard drive.