Call of Duty: World at War
You're in for a good time with World at War.
I'm a big CoD honk; I played the first two games religiously and every now and again, I'll reinstall one or the other and play through it from beginning to end. I didn't appreciate the third instalment very much, mostly because they didn't bother releasing it on the PC (what were they thinking?) but the franchise redeemed itself with the sublime Modern Warfare. I loved that game-the single-player was awesome (AC130 missions FTW!), the modern setting was fantastic and holy crap was the multiplayer good! I was initially sceptical when World at War was announced — why go back to World War II when the modern setting hadn't yet been fully explored — but my doubts quickly disappeared when I finally got my hands on a copy.
- Intense action, cinematic production values, a great multiplayer component
- Single-player suffers from a minor case of deja vu
To call it Call of Duty 4 with a World War II skin is insulting to Treyarch because World at War is so much more than that. It's a great follow up to Modern Warfare and proves that World War II is still a viscerally charged conflict to live through. The single-player campaign is a tad short and it isn't as polished as Modern Warfare's but the action is intense, there are plenty of thrills and the multiplayer looks like it will be just as awesome. I'm especially looking forward to the Nazi Zombies mode.
Shoot To Kill
I agree with Cameron Lewis, who reviewed the console versions of World at War, so go read his reviews for the nuts and bolts stuff. He's pretty much spot on about everything. The single-player campaign is fairly short and even though some of the settings are new, it does suffer a little from "been there, done that" syndrome but it was still compelling enough to keep me going; here's a tip for you: don't play the first time through on anything higher than the normal difficulty. I bumped it up to Hardened and found the game to be exceedingly brutal; the game felt unbalanced as I would die repeatedly from an overwhelming number of enemies who were apparently all firing magic bullets that could find me even behind cover.
Oh, and grenades are extremely deadly in this game — I'd be well entrenched only to find one dropped right into my lap and it's almost an instant kill unless you're lucky enough to run away from it. Of course, to do that, you have to pop out of cover and that's when those magic bullets find you. Still, the single-player campaign offered enough action and variety to keep me going. You don't get to do anything as cool as the AC130 missions in Modern Warfare but there is a really neat segment where you're a gunner in a plane and have to shuffle between multiple gun points to keep the enemy at bay.
One Man Army?
But single-player aside, as Cameron points out, the multiplayer truly is World at War's strength. The servers weren't live when I was reviewing the game but we did get to hop on with members of the Dev team for a little Nazi Zombies action and it looks awesome. You're basically stuck in a bombed out building that's under assualt by waves of zombies; you get cash for shooting and killing the undead and you use it to buy new weapons and repair the barricades that keep them out. It makes for an intensely good time and I can see it sucking up a lot of my hours here in the office.
I haven't had a chance to test out the online multiplayer much outside of the PC beta but it looks to replicate the addictiveness of Modern Warfare; create-a-class is back, as are the perks. You can still kit out your weapons with scopes and bayonets and they've tweaked the kill-streak perks-instead of UAV drones, you get recon planes and instead of helicopters, you get a pack of dogs. I'm positive it's going to be awesome and there are plenty of modes and maps to keep you busy.
This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun
Honestly, regardless of what version you play, you're in for a good time with World at War. Personally, I'll be sticking to the PC version. I prefer the keyboard and mouse over a controller and it's far easier to jump online and get a match going (I don't Xbox Live). You'll need a fairly decent computer to get the game running with high details and a good resolution but it won't break the system the way Crysis can.
I thought I'd gotten sick of World War II games a long time ago but Treyarch did a great job of injecting new life into the genre. The single-player isn't as compelling as Modern Warfare but it's still worth playing nonetheless; the best part though is that there's a deep and satisfying multiplayer component waiting for you when you're done.
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