After the success of last year's Call of Duty 4 most critics and fans expected that the series would build up the new modern warfare storyline. However, with Call of Duty World at War, the series makes a somewhat unexpected return to it's World War 2 roots with a gritty and violent glimpse into the closing weeks of both the European and Pacific Theater of operations. In it you'll find the same great game play and mechanics that has made the series a success, as well as plenty of pulse pounding action making a strong case that World War 2 as a video game setting isn't as overdone as we thought.
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Treyarch
- ESRB Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: Action - First Person Shooter
- Theme: World War 2
- Series: Call of Duty
- Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
- Pros: Excellent game play and mechanics; Co-op campaigns; Addictive multiplayer; All your favorite WW2 era weapons
- Cons: Missions are very linear; Settings have been done before
Back to World War 2
It's safe to say that the historical World War 2 conflicts you'll play through in the single player and co-op campaign modes have been done many times over. With that said Call of Duty World at War does a very good job of separating itself from the rest of the pack with ambush attacks, defending yourself against Banzi charges with hand to hand melee and other situations that have not been a part of other World War 2 shooters.
Call of Duty World at War includes two main single player/solo campaigns that can be played in single player or cooperative mode. In the first campaign you'll find yourself taking on the role of Marine Private fighting through a series of battles against the Japanese on various Pacific Islands. The overall storyline is much more mature and violent than previous titles, which is apparent from the opening cut scene. The first mission opens with you held captive by the Japanese on the small group of islands know as Makin Atoll. After witnessing a comrade's execution you are suddenly rescued by a platoon of Marines that includes Corporal Roebuck (voice acted by Kiefer Sutherland) who will become a familiar squad mate and voice throughout the first campaign. The theatrical cut scene comes to a close when your are handed a pistol and immediately being the task of trying to secure the village on Makin Atoll.
After the first few missions you're then taken into Stalingrad and the Soviet campaign. Here you take on the role of Private Dimitri Petrenko as you work with Sergeant Reznov (voice acted by Gary Oldman) who much like Roebuck in the American campaign, will be a familiar character seen throughout the game. The first mission in both campaigns take place early in the war but the missions that follow jump forward in time to the closing months and weeks of theater of war. The storyline jumps between campaigns though the 15 mission each of which has multiple checkpoints and objectives.
The missions themselves are quite scripted and linear, it's a little disappointing not to have the freedom to roam the environments as you please. Although this is a minor drawback, there's not a lot of time to dwell on it as the action in World at War doesn't seem to give you a break. Enemies fly at you from all areas and bullets zing by making you duck for cover around every turn. While the ambush and banzi attacks are a nice additional game play feature that will keep you on your toes, they are also a bit over used. Over used to the point where you're expecting every lull in battle to be interrupted with yet another ambush attack or Banzi charge. You also have the option of playing each solo campaign mission in co-op mode with up to four players.
Call of Duty World at War also features a great bonus mini-game called Nacht Der Untoten (Night of the Undead) that is unlocked once you've completed the solo campaigns. The game's objective is simple, defend your cabin against a zombie onslaught. After each round you'll be able to purchase weapons, attachments, upgrades, perks and more as you prepare for the next wave of undead. This mini game is especially fun in online co-op mode with teams of four defending against the zombies.