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Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: World at War

Nintendo Wii | PC | PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360
Genre: First Person Shooter Players: 1 (2 to 32 Online)
Developer: Treyarch Official Site: http://www.callofduty.com
Publisher: Activision Classification: TBC
Call of Duty: World at War

Genre: First Person Shooter
Players: 1 (2 to 32 Online)
Developer: Treyarch
Official Site: http://www.callofduty...
Publisher: Activision
Classification: TBC
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Call of Duty: World At War Review
Review By @ 05:12pm 19/11/08
XBOX360
Last time I logged into Call of Duty: World At War on Xbox 360 (just prior to writing this review, actually), there were 149,111 players online. The most I've seen online at once has been over 180,000. Given the game is only a week old, that's a pretty awesome feat.

When I reviewed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare late last year, I focused heavily on the single-player portion of the game. At that stage I really hadn't tasted the fruit of Infinity Ward's multiplayer labour, and while I had certainly given it a good bash, I recognise now I just hadn't fully 'got it' yet.


Since nabbing World At War, however, I've been focusing more heavily on the multiplayer (after realising just how good Modern Warfare's multiplayer was throughout the year). The reason for this is, World At War's single-player is very much the same as Modern Warfare. It uses the same engine, looks just as good and plays just as well. It still has predictable enemy AI that can be memorised and overcome and it's still riddled with scripted gameplay, congested enemy bottlenecks and big, awesome explosions.

In fact, beyond the additions of the likes of four-player co-op (which is hella fun, I might add), the flamethrower and a few other tidbits, you're not really getting much more than another Call of Duty WWII experience amplified because of all the great stuff Infinity Ward crafted with Modern Warfare.

None of that should take anything away from what Treyarch have done though. They've competently utilised the CoD 4 game engine to great effect with plenty of their own stuff going on, and there's no denying they know how to craft an intricate story with great narrative, pacing and action. But the reason you'll keep playing World At War is its multiplayer, especially since like Modern Warfare, World At War's single-player campaign can be put to bed in around six short hours.

There are some key differences beyond the cosmetic that totally differentiate World At War's multiplayer from Modern Warfare. Where the latter was played with ferocious tenacity through most base match-types (Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, Domination etc), World At War carries with it a slower, more methodical design approach.

Most of the maps are bigger with less runway rumpus areas for insane fire-fights (ala Shipyard, Killhouse, Wet Work, Countdown or Bog from MW), and there's a clear divide separating most play areas through the implementation of vehicles.

It's also a slightly darker game with more room for the camping types to pitch up tent and serve to frustrate the rest of us, but in saying that the counter balance is the ninja potential; sneaking around while crouched through the shadows only to come up behind said camper and deliver a swift blade of melee justice. And then there're the dogs.

There might be plenty of hiding space, but a seven-streak kill count gives a warrior the chance to "Release The Dogs", unleashing a number of blood-thirsty attack dogs (differentiated for you by looking Alsatian if friendly, and jet black if not). You can kill them, but their single goal is clear - hunt out the enemy - no matter where they're hiding - and go for the jugular.

If the ever-closing sound of dogs barking isn't enough to rattle your senses, the eerie Banshee-like wail of falling bombs from a five-streak kill count induced artillery strike will. Cleverly, Treyarch have kept some of the key balance points of base multiplayer games from Modern Warfare despite the more primitive WWII setting, and it really works.

Things such as the recon plane and artillery strikes are pulled right from the bonuses of Modern Warfare, but mixing it up with the attack dogs just adds a nice touch of awareness. There's nothing modern about World At War, and that's where its charms lay.

Treyarch have also approached a few things Modern Warfare simply hasn't bothered with. To begin with (and most importantly for Australians), is the option in the Find A Match lobby to set your server destination to Locale or Local (on the consoles, at least). One will quickly look for a close connection while the other will find the strongest local server for you, no matter the wait (and with more than 100,000 people playing worldwide most nights, waiting for an awesome connection is a much better option than fighting both Americans and lag).

You can also see how many people are online, which is something MW doesn't do. It gives you a good indication of how long the waiting potential is which is pretty cool.

Another interesting element is the post-game wrap up. You'll get a stat list of how you did in the last game, like number of kills and deaths with a K/D spread stat based on these. You can see how many headshots you made and it even points out who killed you the most or who you killed the most, offering you a post-match nemesis to keep your eye on.

For the most part, these stat additions aren't game-changing, but they're thoughtful inclusions for those of us who spend a lot of time fighting the good fight online.

There are some issues though.

Level design, for the most part, is really very cool, but there's heaps more snagging in WAW than in MW, and backing up and away from an enemy, only to constantly find yourself glitching and clipping because of some aesthetic rock or piece of debris, is just really frustrating (especially if you're sneaking behind cover only to find you've been raised about 50cm above said cover and are now in plain sight because of a stupid part of the environment).

There are also a few niggly animation glitches here and there (like floating dead bodies, or trampoline physics), but a lot of this will likely be fixed in the first round of patches.

On a functional level, Frag Grenades seem to take too long to explode, and often you can't even hear them (so there's no real closure to your throw). While some of the other explosive weapons also seem to suffer from a similar issue (or just don't seem powerful enough).

Respawning is also a major issue. I assume because of the larger size maps respawning has been set closer to the action, however, it seems really unfair to lose in a fire-fight (where you also dealt some damage), only to respawn not more than 10 meters away and very easily finish off your now wounded enemy. This has happened a lot in most of the games I've played.

Unlocking weapons through completing challenges and levelling up also feels slightly ill-balanced.

It seems as though you're forced to hit the Barracks and complete specific challenges to get what you want, whereas MW gave you an all-round release of weapons through only levelling up, regardless of what challenges you completed. It adds a bit more depth, to be sure, but also does seem pretty unfair to the newbs that drop in and have no idea what's going on (especially if someone has been methodical enough to actually do the prerequisite challenges and gain all the kickass weaponry).

Perks are back, and these are all very similar to the boosts we've seen in MW. They unlock at a steady pace and I actually found them to feel somewhat more balanced than the previous title (though this could just be in the wake of all the other ill-balanced stuff). Moreover, as mentioned a few times throughout this review, you can now jump in a tank and just roll around the level blowing the absolute shit out of anyone you see. It might seem like anyone in these has an unfair advantage, but learning the lay of the land will show you the maps have been readily balanced to deal with tank-hoarders, and creating your custom class should help you in the fight against the metal behemoths (Satchel Charges work a charm if used correctly).

Other multiplayer highs have been carried over, such as levelling to a point and prestige mode. While the latter has remained unchanged, the cap for levelling up has been raised to 65 (in MW it was 55), giving a lot more life to your charge for elite status.

For the uninitiated, Call of Duty: Modern Warefare and World At War multiplayer both award you XP simply for competing in matches (so you gain in level, no matter how bad you are), of course earning more points and completing challenges will get you there faster, but in MW it was considered a tad too easy to make it to 55, so I'm glad the cap has been raised here.

There's some incredibly diverse fighting in WAW also, way and above the skirmish potential of MW. With the advent of vehicles, and the oft mentioned differences in map size, World At War really gives you a lot in the way of tactical planning.

Seelow, for example is a massive farm with tanks. The middle of the map is a fairly open area, but skittered along its sidelines are various sheds, farm-houses and more. You can therefore approach this map in a number of ways: you can jump in a tank and patrol the middle, shelling the hell out of any red names you see, or you can move silently and stealthily along the border, jumping from cover to cover with only your knife (I've knocked up an eight-kill streak with only my knife on this map with its ninja potential). Or you can choose to camp and snipe utilising any one of the map's amazing vantage points (just be prepared to be knifed in the back, by yours truly should you choose to just that).

On the other hand, Makin is incredibly small, dark and full of the aforementioned snagging. Yet it's potential for intensity removes the ninja and shelling experience, and brings everything back to on-your-toes thinking, and knowing just how you should be attempting to complete the X-ray Vision challenge because 90% of the cover here can be shot through.

Knowing the intricacies of the modern CoD multiplayer experience are going to make this newest one that much more enjoyable for you, and with everything Treyarch have gotten right with it, the annoyances can be overlooked provided they're fixed down the track with patches.

Beyond the addictive multiplayer and scripted-to-hell single-player stuff, World At War also gives you Zombie Nazis. This is a bonus game that sees you fighting off increasingly difficult waves of Zombie Nazis in an eerie setting. The better you do, the more of the mode and setting you can unlock. However, it has also been designed as another multiplayer experience and while you will be able to deal with it on your own for a short while, the challenge eventually becomes too overbearing for just one person meaning you'll need to find some Zombie Nazi-hating friends quicksmart in order to finish the mode. There's really no need for it beyond sheer thrill, and it's super cool Treyarch even added it at all.

Call of Duty: World At War definitely continues the solid tradition of the CoD franchise, and has certainly proved there's more talent in Treyarch's camp than the industry may have ever given them credit for, but it's still not an incredibly massive leap. The WWII stuff is simply gameplay we've handled in one form or another for the better part of the last decade or more, and it really is getting old fast. However, the updates to multiplayer, excellent map design (barring inconsistent, troubling aesthetics) and Zombie Nazi mode do add more than enough value. It's not quite the leap Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was for the franchise, but it's a damn good update.

Now we just have to wait another year to see what the papa bear of the series, Infinity Ward, have up their sleeves.
What we liked
  • Expansion to multiplayer is worth the price of admission alone
  • Single-player campaign is action-packed and fun
  • Still looking stunning
  • Zombie Nazis!
What we didn't like
  • Single-player is still a massively scripted affair
  • AI is still just as stupid as before
  • A lot of fixes needed in the multiplayer area
  • Not a massive leap forward for the franchise
More
We gave it:
9.2
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
TiT
Posted 01:51pm 20/11/08
got it yesterday and love it!
paveway
Posted 02:06pm 20/11/08
it s**** me that in another year, there will be another cod out..

sucks for those of us that like to focus on usually 1 fps at a time

Tollaz0r!
Posted 02:11pm 20/11/08
Is the Wii version any good?
Snakeman
Posted 02:16pm 20/11/08
It has a pretty good zombie game added in if you finish it on expert. Its like german zombies attacking a shack and you have to fight them off and buy weapons and spend money to opens new doors and stuff.
scuzzy
Posted 02:20pm 20/11/08

it s**** me that in another year, there will be another cod out..

sucks for those of us that like to focus on usually 1 fps at a time
you can't expect to have a life and play every computer game, gota pick one.
StreX
Posted 02:55pm 20/11/08
i picked this up earlier in the week and was enjoying the SP but havent touched it since L4D came out.

will probably get back into codwaw in a couple of weeks, and by that time everyc*** will be lvl 65 :(
d[o_0]b
Posted 03:01pm 20/11/08
im loving multiplayer, heaps and heaps of fun. Reminds me of DoD - I'm Usually on the GA servers domination or war mode. name: Bigned
Triamks
Posted 03:29pm 20/11/08
I started playing this today. The intros for each level are interesting. I haven't seen the concept before, so I found it interesting the first couple of times.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 04:03pm 20/11/08
Triamks - it's the same mob who do a lot of National Geographic intros for programs about war etc, they're the same team who did Modern Warfare as well
paveway
Posted 04:53pm 20/11/08
think i am going to have to buy this tonight

9.2 from steve is enough for me
ctd
Posted 05:45pm 20/11/08
The intros sound pretty cool, just don't really fancy call of duty games.


sucks for those of us that like to focus on usually 1 fps at a time

Go play 1.6

Stephen, I am keen to see what score you give l4d. Will it be better than far cry 2 and deadspace?
Steve Farrelly
Posted 06:17pm 20/11/08
stupidly, we've had no support for this game from publishers... I'm having as big a bash at it as possible so as to give it the right review right now...
d0mino
Posted 06:27pm 20/11/08
i really dont want to buy this, i'd rather treyarch helped out on cod4, made more maps and added more perks. make it $30 DLC rather than $100 full game.

could have had dog squad in CoD4. could have had the toss back perk.
paveway
Posted 09:09am 21/11/08
it's not really the same domino

i was expecting to just jump in and it would be the same as cod4 except ww2, but it's taking a bit of getting used to

is it just me of is there no hud ?

over all you can see it's not as polished as cod4, seems to crash more often when you alt tab and s***
TiT
Posted 10:15am 21/11/08
make it $30 DLC rather than $100 full game.


well paid $56 for it. cdwow.com.au has $2 off everything today :)

dont buy it off steam its rip off also i see COD 4 cheaper on steam now... but still $100 AUD
paveway
Posted 10:39pm 25/11/08
i've decided this game is rather disappointing

it's just not as polished as cod4, it's quite a let down

cod4 is so seamless, this just stinks of unfinished

the sounds is totally f***ed, someone standing next to you with a machine gun and you pretty much can't hear them at all, you practically spawn right next to enemies sometimes and vice versa. it doesn't work with xfire because it has to download profile information everytime you load the game. it's f*****g aids for alt tabbing

9.2 out of 10 steve farrelly? seriously? then was what cod4.. like 13 or something?
Zaltais
Posted 11:36am 26/11/08
i have cod 1 and 2, and like your comment paveway, i prefer to stick to one fps at a time, unfortunatly i need to get a new comp to run that game -.-
infi
Posted 12:02pm 26/11/08
i haven't played the multiplayer yet but the single player is quite immersive, and those pesky japs are very accurate with their grenades. the attacking bayonets are an exciting change.

although cod4 is so perfect for competitive gaming the feel of waw is very similar imo. i left cod2 because its engine was inferior but using the cod4 engine for ww2 rifles action might be fun.

i will get into multiplayer tonight i expect.

edit: also nice review, steve.

last edited by infi at 12:02:22 26/Nov/08
step
Posted 09:42pm 26/11/08
you practically spawn right next to enemies sometimes and vice versa
That was the same as Cod 4, so that's nothing new.

it doesn't work with xfire
No big loss, xfire sucks.

is it just me of is there no hud ?
If you have no hud, you're playing on a hardcore server.

If you played UO and even cod 2 and liked it, chances are you will like this.

My only gripe is the points distribution of kills depending on the game type, well how it's set by default (most servers won't change this). 50 for S&D and 5 for TDM blows goats.
Phooks
Posted 10:01pm 26/11/08
Agree with pave for once. This game was a disappointment. Cod4 was at least 30x better.
d[o_0]b
Posted 10:07pm 26/11/08
the multiplayer is awesome, war mode and domination
paveway
Posted 09:12am 27/11/08
you practically spawn right next to enemies sometimes and vice versa

That was the same as Cod 4, so that's nothing new.


no it wasn't, as in RIGHT NEXT TO THEM

cod4 seemed to distribute spawning better, but i think it's more to do with the stupid maps alot of them are just little round maps where you get a kill or 2 and thats it because someone will always jew you from behind which gets pretty old

yeah i figured out i was in HC mode, because this game is so s*** and doesn't work with xfire all the servers i joined first time were all HC
Tollaz0r!
Posted 09:22am 27/11/08
CoD5 needs spawn protection, or better yet DO A CHECK AND DON'T F*****G SPAWN IF SOMEONE IS WITHIN 5 METERS OR SOMETHING!

Seriously how do they miss s*** like this in games no-a-days. It is almost a no-brainer.
paveway
Posted 10:07am 27/11/08
i think it's a product of some of the s*** maps

the big maps with the tanks are good, but some of the real small bowl type ones are just utter s***
TiT
Posted 09:51am 17/12/08
zombie mod ftw on co-op mode... bloody awesome!
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