Call of Duty: World at War is a WW2 FPS with the Nintendo DS version developed for Activision by N-space, who also developed the DS versions of COD4 and Star wars force unleashed.
Although there are so many World War 2 shooters out there Activision has managed to take a refreshing look at it with some of the game set in the pacific this time. Even with the pacific featuring in the game the ANZACs play no part in the story.
There are three campaigns where you play as an American Marine in the Pacific, a British soldier in Europe and a Russian red army soldier also in Europe. The game jumps between the characters for different missions throughout the game. When you play as the Americans you fight against the Japanese and the British and Russians battle with the Germans.
The control style was quite good even though I’ve read a few complaints about it on the internet. I personally had no issues with the controls but you probably know that some reviewers can be quite picky about those sorts of things. Well anyways you basically use the L button to fire. The D-pad is used to move and crouch. The touch pad is used to aim, change weapons and pick up items. This control scheme can also be reversed for left-handed people with R being fire and movement controlled by the face buttons. Although there is now the ability to mount and climb over objects, there is no ability to jump but it isn’t really needed anyways.
The weapons in the game weren’t balanced very well. For some reason the British weapons only took a couple of hits to kill enemies but the American weapons took at least 6 or so. I’m not saying that the American weapons suck mind you, with the flame thrower it is easy to overlook these minor flaws as you watch enemies running frantically around whilst on fire. Even though the flame thrower was quite fun I would have to say that the sniper rifle was my weapon of choice whenever it was available. I loved watching their heads snap back as I nailed them right in the face from a distance. Speaking of head shots, reminiscent of with COD4 on DS it’s pretty damn easy to kill the enemies with head shots. Just looking up the stats now I found that out of 682 kills, 401 were head shots!
The AI had varying intelligence, it seems that the Japanese will throw back grenades but the Germans will just stand there shouting “GRENADA!” and not even attempt to move. Another thing about the AI is that if you shoot one of the enemies and his friends standing right next to him don’t see you they just stand around like nothing happened, even though their comrade is dying at his feet. If you’re good enough you can sometimes clear a whole area in this way without even being seen or shot at.
Another thing I found stupid about the enemies is that they all look the same! They will change for the different campaigns - as it would be weird killing Germans that look and speak Japanese - but that’s it. I’m pretty sure the clone army was in Star wars not World War two; get it right N-space! Also, even if you shoot the enemies in the balls or the leg they will act as though they were shot in the stomach. Unless of course you shoot them in the face, were the head will quickly snap back and they will collapse heavily on to the ground where they will soon disappear in a second or two.
The voice acting was pretty terrible. Americans and Russian accents don’t go that well together. The Russian accent was way too thick and over the top, I couldn’t even understand what they were saying at some points. The British accents were also very annoying. If you can picture a that little British girl that was in that family guy episode saying “alrigh’ guvna go get in tha’t tank” and “go’ ‘em” all the time you’ll see what I mean.
At points in the game you are required to complete a few mini-games to be able to pass safely or send your allies a message. One of these mini-games requires you to disarm a landmine that is in your path. This involves pulling out the pins and such, making sure you don’t blow yourself up. Another of these mini-games required you to press the screen as Morse code passed over a line on the screen. This semi Guitar Hero-ish rip off mini-game is quite difficult and really pissed me off. I had to retry it multiple times until the game realised I sucked at it and found some other imaginary way of getting the message across. Further on in the game you will come across the Medic mini-game. In the Medic mini-game you just trace lines to put on bandages and draw circles to tighten tourniquets. As you may have guessed it’s a pretty crap mini-game which is quite pointless, I mean how would bandaging some ones leg stop them from dying in thirty seconds?
In one level you get to control a Bomber plane and bomb targets whilst dodging Anti aircraft fire and fight off Luftwaffe with the big machine guns. It was a nice sort of break away from the traditional combat for a while, although the bomber was extremely slow and cumbersome making it difficult to turn around if you missed the target. One good thing about the plane was that you could switch between a bird’s eye view of the plane to looking out of the bombing bay. This allowed easier control of the plane whilst steering and greater accuracy whilst bombing the targets.
Another cool thing is that in a couple of the levels you get to drive a tank. Controlling the tank is rather awkward at times though as you only control the turret at machine gun. This can be a little difficult sometimes as the tank will move somewhere you didn’t expect and so you have to compensate which is quite tricky. Also sometimes with the tank I found myself firing the machine gun instead of the cannon as to fire the cannon you have to lift the stylus of the touch pad, which I sometimes forgot to do.
Even with the setting of a tropical coastal jungle in the American campaign you pretty much progress along well worn in tracks. I found this to be a bit disappointing really as I would have expected it be better with you actually walking through the jungle. The other campaigns are also quite linear with no real chance to explore. I found myself just following the path formed by random boxes and fences, giving you limited strategies for sneaking up on enemies and getting in some devious head shots from behind.
Also following in the latest gaming trends, everything looks dull and boring. I’m pretty sure the DS can display millions of colours, so why do they stick to the greys, browns and greens? Why can’t things be more vibrant? Like maybe they could paint some buildings bright yellow or something. It would be rather weird but at least it would make things more stimulating and engaging.
I’m not too sure how long the game is as I haven’t completely finished it yet, but so far it’s been about 4 hours so I’d say in entirety it would be around 5-6 hours for the average gamer. But this depends on your style, if you prefer to take it slow and snipe everything and collect everything you can like me it’ll take quite awhile.
This game offers no download play despite the previous title having it. But this should well be made up for with the opportunity to play online. I have not been able to try it out yet as I don’t have wireless internet but it sounds like it should be quite fun. The online play will feature the use of vehicles I don’t know which but I would assume you get tanks. Hopefully you should be ale to choose your weapons too. There will soon be the ability to look up single and multiplayer scores and stats from your computer. Just head to ds.codww.stats.callofduty.com. The site wasn’t operational when I went there but apparently it should be up and running soon.
If you’ve played other FPS games like the previous Call of duty on DS you would probably like this one too. If you do have Xbox 360, PS3, or PC etc. though you should probably go for one of those versions instead as they do offer the better graphics and online play that the DS cannot match. But if you are looking for a portable handheld title to satisfy your need to shoot and kill things I recommend that you give Call of Duty: World at War a try.