Call of Duty: World At War

It’s been a tough start to the summer. Our needs as consumers have emptied our wallets, part time jobs at Burger King reluctantly picked up, credit cards maxed. The quality titles are here, and unfortunately Call Of Duty: World At War is one more to add to the bunch - albeit one that could potentially lose out in the sea of competition. After all, folks have been skeptical: the game was developed not by Infinity Ward, the team who brought us the celebrated COD: Modern Warfare, but by Treyarch, the team who brought us the poorly received COD 3. And after the (alarmingly relevant) Modern Warfare, who wants to return to stuffy, rehashed WW2? It was grim. Grandpa told us so. We get it.

However, in a nice play by the underdog, Treyarch have produced a confident, accomplished shooter. World at War may not reach the dizzying heights of the innovative Modern Warfare, but within its limitations it succeeds admirably, and races along at such a pace your skepticism will be forced into reluctant recession. Oh, how we love to hate, don’t we?

 
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The single player campaign works around some of its historical restrictions by focusing on some of the lesser known fights in WW2 set in the Pacific and Eastern Europe. The campaign is split into two stories - in the Pacific, you are an American fighting the Japanese, in Europe a Russian fighting the Germans, and the game jumps regularly between the two until its epic conclusion.

As with any Call of Duty game, World at War is narrative heavy, and follows a linear story that covers the usual war themes of revenge and camaraderie etc etc. In comparison to Modern Warfare’s devastating and engaging plot, the new game flails slightly in the narrative department. Hokey dialogue abounds (‘their SACRIFICE will NOT go UNAVENGED!’), accentuated by lazy delivery from Kiefer Sutherland as American Miller and predictably OTT accent from Gary Oldman as Russian Demetri. With all this clichéd talk of brotherly love, would it be too much to ask for a hint of tongue in cheek homo-eroticism? Not in this title, where everything is as sincere as a hallmark bereavement card. Oh well, war is hell, and you’ll be far too busy looking at the pretty graphics anyway.

Indeed, World at War does looks amazing. The set pieces are beautiful and painstakingly detailed, particularly in the Pacific, where jungles are splashed with striking greens and reds. Environments are so stunningly rendered you swear you were there, and then as the bullets start flying, you thank God you’re not. Characters are well animated, inches away from pure realism without dwelling too much in that Oblivion-style uncanny valley. Audio, too, is pretty top-notch. PLEASE play this game with surround sound; the whiz of bullets and crack of exploding grenades is the stuff of pure cinema, aided by a (completely not of the era) Pantera style guitar-riff-heavy soundtrack.

For near complete immersion, World at War Uses the same engine as Modern Warfare, so real physics apply; don’t expect bullets to bounce off a thin piece of cardboard or stacks of identical corpses. Everything reacts as it should with the utilization of bullet penetration and ragdoll physics, and this time, significantly, we are introduced to gore. See teammates shriek as their arms are torn off! See heads are blown clean off bodies! At one point, I saw an enemy dragging himself towards me, gun pointed, bloody stumps where his legs should have been.

Now, you have the choice to look at this gore in one of two ways. On the one hand, its lack of censorship makes for a realistically disturbing experience that is probably entirely accurate of an actual battle, and therefore immerses you more as a player. On the other, it can be seen a child’s retelling of events, a glorified and unnecessary spectacle, particularly because your teammates seem to revel in the bloodbath and will not hesitate to tell you so on a regular basis. Remember folks, WW2 happened.

Anyway, make up your own mind.

Gameplay in World At War is a heady mix of fast, relentless destruction and quiet, cautious periods of waiting. Every side has their own way of fighting, and it is imperative to gain knowledge of your enemies’ individual style. The Japanese side is particularly clever, suddenly coming at you from all sides from total concealment, complete with shrieking battle cry. You absolutely cannot play World At War without a similar tactical head – just try running and gunning full speed at the enemy and see where that gets you. Instead, you must spend a lot of time crouching, running in short bursts, throwing grenades, going prone and then more crouching, with plenty of bullets fired in between. When it works, you feel smug and clever. When it doesn’t, you’ll immediately want to try a different approach to the situation. It is ultimately satisfying when you get it right after a bit of trial and error.

Dynamic and contrasting objectives keep things fresh, too. Admittedly, there are a few times when ‘break through the German forces’ objectives are repeated a few too many times for comfort, but then along comes a level that really sets things alight. For example, there’s a sniper level where you must kill a German leader who moves from one place to the other in quick succession, a quiet and deadly challenge to your trigger finger. On the flip side, there’s a tank level where you must literally steam-roll your way through the defenses, blasting enemy tanks left and right and setting puny soldiers alight with your flamethrower. There is something to cater to all tastes, and when the variety is there, it is very refreshing.

Expect to clock the single player campaign at around six hours, and if your battle hunger is not sated, Call of Duty: World at War has plenty more to offer. For the first time in a Call of Duty, World at War features a co-op mode for two players offline and four players online. You can either go from level to level, competing against your teammates for kills, or simply play through the whole single player campaign with a couple of buddies.

Playing through campaign mode in co op was the only time I actually felt a true sense of camaraderie, as surviving an epic battle with your friends at your side puts the cartoon cutout NPC soldiers to shame. On the other hand, competitive co-op is just as much fun, with a number of ‘death cards’ scattered throughout the game that give you unusual perks, more useful as comic relief than as actual game-assists (think: the ability to revive your teammates with a shot to the head instead of a med-pack). It’s nice to see Treyarch have a healthy sense of humour.

The popular multiplayer modes return in World at War, and not much has changed. I suppose Treyarch have stuck with the ‘if it aint broke’ mentally, and evolution is strictly absent, aside from new maps. Your old favourites are here with a vengeance though, we’re talking capture the flag, team deathmatch etc, and the excellent experience points system made popular in Modern Warfare remains as solid as ever. With each win or task you complete in multiplayer and co-op, you gain experience points that unlock special weapons and abilities, letting you customize your characters strengths in any way you want. This makes for endless variation in multiplayer battles, as you may have a number of soldiers in various save slots who you can use depending on your mood at the time. Feeling sneaky? Use your stealth-guy. Feeling aggressive? Use your near-invincible grunt.

There is one little unexpected addition to multiplayer, and it would be a crime not to mention it. World at War introduces a Nazi zombie mode (available once you clock single player), that pits you and 3 buddies against hordes of Hitler’s undead, who gradually become more aggressive as the level progresses. There’s not much more to it other than that, but it’s fun and an amusing reward for competing the campaign. And c’mon, it’s Nazi zombies. Only the soulless could resist.

Call of Duty: World at War feels at times like a little brother holding the hand of the more confident Modern Warfare, but keep in mind that it definitely shares the same genes. It looks better than any shooter currently out there, and plays at a furious and exciting pace with replayability abundant in the excellent co-op and multiplayer modes. Perceive it as a successor to Modern Warfare and you may come away a little disappointed, but look at it as a stand-alone shooter, and you’d be hard pressed to resist it's giddy charm. I suggest a swallowing of pride and go for the latter.


Call of Duty: World At War
"It lacks the innovation of Modern Warfare, but is a solid shooter. "
- Call of Duty: World At War
8.5
Great
 
Follow Own it? Rating: R13   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 5 Min


 

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Comments Comments (43)

 
Gazza22 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Gazza22
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 10:28 AM
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Im renting this at the mo. And I would have to agree that COD:4 is still king but I like many others didnt have high hopes for WAW, but its surprisingly decent.
 
 
 
TastyTaco
Posted by TastyTaco
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 10:39 AM
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i think theyve tried to copy cod4 tooo much for me to even consider this game
 
 
 
Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Ron
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 10:48 AM
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I was impressed by this game, but never played CoD4.
 
 
 
Gazza22 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Gazza22
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 10:53 AM
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18 November 2008, 10:48 AM Reply to Ron
I was impressed by this game, but never played CoD4.
Never played COD:4 Do you live under a rock by any chance boss?lol
 
 
 
Koopa18 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Koopa18
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 12:11 PM
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COD5 tried to copy COD4?

NO WAY! I blame Nintendo.
 
 
 
primeelfkilla
Posted by primeelfkilla
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 12:49 PM
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I wish I could afford a copy might have to rent for a while soundz like a good game
 
 
 
acedumbunny NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by acedumbunny
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 1:56 PM
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i like to stab the dogs as they jump at me
 
 
 
Grunt of God
Posted by Grunt of God
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 4:08 PM
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NAZI ZOMBIES!
 
 
 
Mach1_9pants NZGamer.com VIP VIP
Posted by Mach1_9pants
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 5:30 PM
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The MP is good (cos it is a copy of CoD4) but the gns are more frustrating and don't give the satisfaction of modern weps. Still I'll play it just 'cos it is new maps etc. And I have been to level 55 about 4 times in CoD4 so it is getting a bit dull!
Might start the SP campaign soon...but I have FC2 and FO3 and Dead Space to finish first!
 
 
 
Mach1_9pants NZGamer.com VIP VIP
Posted by Mach1_9pants
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 5:31 PM
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18 November 2008, 04:08 PM Reply to Grunt of God
NAZI ZOMBIES!
Oh yeah that is a reason in itself to finish the SP campaign, forgot about that!
 
 
 
Caveo_Meee
Posted by Caveo_Meee
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 6:52 PM
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I played this at my friend's the other week and was surprised at how similar it was to COD4. I wouldn't really call it COD5, it's more like COD4.5.

But I must say, I love the sound effects. Knifing just sounds so much more... satisfying.
 
 
 
KravenMore
Posted by KravenMore
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 6:58 PM
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Damn this looks good!
 
 
 
Anthony
Posted by Anthony
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 7:11 PM
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Some typos here. "for competing the campaign" and "stuck with their 'if it aint broke' mentally"
 
 
 
rider211
Posted by rider211
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 7:39 PM
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18 November 2008, 05:31 PM Reply to Mach1_9pants
Oh yeah that is a reason in itself to finish the SP campaign, forgot about that!
you forgot how dare you (hold for aplause 1 2 3) and we will be right back after the break people
 
 
 
cute_maori
Posted by cute_maori
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 9:36 PM
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I am definitely gonna get this game.
 
 
 
arnies
Posted by arnies
On Tuesday 18 Nov 2008 11:23 PM
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The PC beta was mint.. but dont know if i have enough money/time for another game!
 
 
 
Bunnny NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Bunnny
On Wednesday 19 Nov 2008 3:00 PM
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How many COD games have there been now?
 
 
 
cute_maori
Posted by cute_maori
On Wednesday 19 Nov 2008 6:25 PM
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Want to get this game.
 
 
 
Mach1_9pants NZGamer.com VIP VIP
Posted by Mach1_9pants
On Wednesday 19 Nov 2008 6:57 PM
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What ever you do don't buy the collectors edition. Apparently the hip flask can't be used with liquid, the unlock machine gun is only in the HMG class (you cannot customise with it) and (not really relevant now) the M1A1 pre-order unlock is only in the soldier class (like the MG).
Unless you really like those space wasting double sized tin boxes!
 
 
 
Mach1_9pants NZGamer.com VIP VIP
Posted by Mach1_9pants
On Wednesday 19 Nov 2008 6:58 PM
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Oh, that info above is about the PC version.... ;-)
 
 
 
Randomchikster
Posted by Randomchikster
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 1:48 PM
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We rented this out the other weekend to see what it was like and if it was worth buying, another game has now been added to the "buy" list, can't wait till Xmas is out of the way and we can get it....
 
 
 
Ruptunex
Posted by Ruptunex
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 4:27 PM
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I feel sorry for Treyarch, they knew that this game would always draw a comparison between It's predecessor
 
 
 
kaz
Posted by kaz
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 10:35 PM
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i got a 360, but i smashd this game up real good, mite get myself a PS3, theres so much great games coming out for sony yeehaaaa
 
 
 
that_black_guy NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by that_black_guy
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 11:24 PM
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20 November 2008, 04:27 PM Reply to Ruptunex
I feel sorry for Treyarch, they knew that this game would always draw a comparison between It's predecessor
They shouldn't have copied it so much then.. .seriously it's almost like they just copied COD4 and pasted it, put crappier guns in it and tacked on a few useless perks and tanks (tanks are a huge mistake btw).

Dead germans save this game from being a mere shadow of COD4
 
 
 
marbig
Posted by marbig
On Friday 21 Nov 2008 4:24 PM
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I think I might skip this one, I'll definitely pick up CoD6.
 
 
 
Genocide NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Genocide
On Friday 21 Nov 2008 10:04 PM
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This is a definite hire. Don't care so much about getting a high MP rank and so on when it's sooo similar to COD4. Otherwise I might've been keen.
 
 
 
highlander
Posted by highlander
On Saturday 22 Nov 2008 2:05 PM
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Had this game for a week and completed it in that week. Whilst I agree it is a good first person shooter game I feel overall we have taken a step backwards to Call of Duty 3. Call of Duty Modern Warfare leaves this game for dead and then some.
Graphics ok but gameplay could be much better. I think WW11 has been done enough on various games and platforms. Overall a poor rating of 6/10 for me.
 
 
 
teen645
Posted by teen645
On Sunday 23 Nov 2008 3:45 PM
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the best game ever made
 
 
 
tkd_matt
Posted by tkd_matt
On Sunday 23 Nov 2008 7:31 PM
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Why is Lucy doing so many shooter games, R2, K2, now CoDWaW. Didn't she say on a podcast she doesn't like shooter/multiplayer shooter games?
 
 
 
luce
Posted by luce
On Sunday 23 Nov 2008 7:36 PM
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23 November 2008, 07:31 PM Reply to tkd_matt
Why is Lucy doing so many shooter games, R2, K2, now CoDWaW. Didn't she say on a podcast she doesn't like shooter/multiplayer shooter games?
At above comment - scuse me? Bioshock is my favourite game of all time, and that's a shooter. I've mentioned in the podcast that I don't usually like online play, but I'm objective when I write my reviews.
 
 
 
tkd_matt
Posted by tkd_matt
On Monday 24 Nov 2008 8:54 AM
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23 November 2008, 07:36 PM Reply to luce
At above comment - scuse me? Bioshock is my favourite game of all time, and that's a shooter. I've mentioned in the podcast that I don't usually like online play, but I'm objective when I write my reviews.
That's fine and all, but if your not a fan of multiplayer shooters and haven't had a lot of experience with them how can you review the intricacies and depth/balance of an online shooter, which these days makes up over half the value of a shooter e.g Halo 3, CoD4, GoW2 etc.
 
 
 
luce
Posted by luce
On Monday 24 Nov 2008 9:06 AM
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24 November 2008, 08:54 AM Reply to tkd_matt
That's fine and all, but if your not a fan of multiplayer shooters and haven't had a lot of experience with them how can you review the intricacies and depth/balance of an online shooter, which these days makes up over half the value of a shooter e.g Halo 3, CoD4, GoW2 etc.
Because I play shooters online. A LOT. Even though I prefer single player campaign, I've still clocked plenty of hours into multiplayer in my lifetime. If you have problems with any of my reviews, take it up with my PA my friend.
 
 
 
tkd_matt
Posted by tkd_matt
On Monday 24 Nov 2008 11:10 AM
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24 November 2008, 09:06 AM Reply to luce
Because I play shooters online. A LOT. Even though I prefer single player campaign, I've still clocked plenty of hours into multiplayer in my lifetime. If you have problems with any of my reviews, take it up with my PA my friend.
Well it makes a little more sense now. After hearing on the podcast you saying you don't like online shooters and that you die a lot, I was a little confused why you were handling all the shooter reviews, and that was backed up after I read your R2 review, where you missed most of the design flaws of the game, but thanks for clearing that up.
 
 
 
Gazza22 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Gazza22
On Monday 24 Nov 2008 11:16 AM
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23 November 2008, 03:45 PM Reply to teen645
the best game ever made
.....is not COD:WaW
 
 
 
luce
Posted by luce
On Tuesday 25 Nov 2008 1:33 PM
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24 November 2008, 11:10 AM Reply to tkd_matt
Well it makes a little more sense now. After hearing on the podcast you saying you don't like online shooters and that you die a lot, I was a little confused why you were handling all the shooter reviews, and that was backed up after I read your R2 review, where you missed most of the design flaws of the game, but thanks for clearing that up.
Sweet, Mr Matt. Looking forward to reading your reader review when the game is released. :)
 
 
 
Gazza22 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Gazza22
On Tuesday 25 Nov 2008 6:08 PM
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"If you have problems with any of my reviews, take it up with my PA my friend."

ZING!!!

Lmao. Come on Matt even you have to admit that, that was funny. lol.
 
 
 
GenBattle
Posted by GenBattle
On Thursday 27 Nov 2008 3:03 PM
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Uh just a note to a moderator or admin... The above review link sent me to the CoD:WoW review
 
 
 
GenBattle
Posted by GenBattle
On Thursday 27 Nov 2008 3:04 PM
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27 November 2008, 03:03 PM Reply to GenBattle
Uh just a note to a moderator or admin... The above review link sent me to the CoD:WoW review
damnit it logged me in to the wrong page. I got sent here from the QoS competition page.
 
 
 
Mix
Posted by Mix
On Monday 29 Dec 2008 6:10 PM
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There should be a Modern Warfare 2 coming out this time next year (YAY!!) and yes it will be done by Infinity Ward (Double YAY!!) but I must admit I got a bit bored of COD4 so this is a fresh extension. As for it being WWII I don't really care because CODWAW was the first WWII FPS I played. Oh and I love the co-op. First day I bought it me and my flatmate sat down and played it all the way through from beginning to end in co-op with the surround sound cranked to the max. Didn't stop not even to answer the phone. Finished and then went "OK harder setting now" and played it through again. That's how brilliant it is. Sorry but if this had come out before COD4 I think WAW would be king, the graphics are better, the gore is better, the AI is better, there's co-op, online is the same, gameplay is way more intense, only the story doesn't beat COD4 oh and the guns aren't as good except for the Flamethrower, it's really, really, really, ridiculously good fun to burn enemy soldiers out the grass and out of the trees
 
 
 
Ark9
Posted by Ark9
On Friday 13 Mar 2009 10:38 PM
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I love this game!! The multiplayer is off the hook, especially nazi zombies, I think the campaign was a little underdone though.
 
 
 
twisterjamz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by twisterjamz
On Tuesday 24 Mar 2009 9:18 PM
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very hard to shoot, didn't like the gameplay
 
 
 
Syn-Ryn NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Syn-Ryn
On Tuesday 16 Mar 2010 8:23 PM
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Way better than Cod4 imo.
 
 
 
ChatterboxZombie
Posted by ChatterboxZombie
On Sunday 25 Apr 2010 11:35 PM
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I preferred this to the MW games. while they reeked of hollywood melodramatic cutscenes and patriotic masturbation, this one was a bit grittier and showed some things that they could'a got in trouble with. of course mw2 did that with the whole Russian civilian thing but while that's fiction, this sh*t is based on fact. The Russians did kill innocent civilians, the Yanks were brutal in their assault on Okinawa.

Nazi zombies is one of the funnest things Ive ever played.
and shutup gazza you prick, don't push others into the mainstream without a lifesaver