Call of Duty: World at War review
A great campaign with not-so-great multiplayer.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which was released one year prior to Call of Duty: World at War was heavily praised for its valiant approach on modern weaponry and warfare. The game received very positive reviews and received a multitude of rewards and honors. Treyarch, the development team that created Call of Duty 3 brought World at War to shelves. Call of Duty 3 was not well liked at all throughout the gaming community. Many saw it as a step down from Call of Duty 2, which is why many gamers were skeptical of World at War as a whole. Was their skepticism justified?
Even though this game takes place in World War II yet again, Treyarch did a good job of basing the campaign about battles that aren’t in every single WWII game such as D-Day. The game focuses on the United States’ defeat of the Imperial Army, and the Red Army’s ultimate defeat on the German army. Since the game follows the activities of multiple armies, you take the role of two different characters. When playing in the US Army, you take the role of Private Miller, and in the Red Army, you play as Private Dimitri Petrenko. You experience the war from these men’s eyes. What you see isn’t pretty.
This game is very visual, probably the most visual WWII shooter I have seen thus far. For example, in the first scene of the game, a Japanese soldier sticks a cigarette in a US soldier’s eye, illustrating just how cruel the war was to us gamers. You also witness throats being slit, heads being blown off, the works.
A complaint I have about the campaign is that the perspective switches around between the eyes of Private Miller and Private Petrenko multiple times within the campaign. The game does not stick with one perspective until the end, and then switches to another like in Call of Duty 2. That was a great formula, this was not.
The missions are a decent length, and the actions of your army along with the objectives given keeps you entertained while you move throughout the story. This campaign is very difficult. I actually had a good bit of trouble on the easiest difficulty, dieing many times. It is very fun though. Personally, I enjoyed the campaign to an extent where I prefer it over the multiplayer.
I commend Treyarch in adding a cooperative experience to World at War. Many players found the lack of co-op very disappointing in Call of Duty 4, and this is one of the only things that I can say Treyarch outdid Infinity Ward in. You are able to play through the campaign cooperatively with friends, or by searching for people to play with online. When playing the campaign, there are two ways to play. You can either play through the campaign as you would by yourself, or compete for points with friends. Each kill awards you with a certain amount of points, and by gathering multiple enemy kills in a small amount of time, you are able to multiply your score. This was a neat idea, and I do like it as it adds a lot of replay value to the campaign. I prefer this over playing through with no competitive aspect involved.
When you have completed the campaign, you unlock a bonus game mode titles Nazi Zombies. You and four other friends somehow landed in an abandoned building that’s windows have been boarded up. For some unknown reason, hordes of undead German soldiers are attempting to break into the building and take you down. Honestly, this is my favorite part of the game. It is so fun.
This game mode is played by rounds, and never ends, so your ultimate goal is to see how long you can survive. By killing zombies, you are awarded points, and you can use these points to buy weapons and ammo. There is also a chest which when opened randomly selects a weapon to churn out. Inside this chest are a number of very powerful weapons which can easily take down the enemy forces of zombies. Unfortunately, there are also very weak weapons inside, so opening this chest can be a gamble. For example, you may find a Deployable MG42, or a Ray Gun, which is exclusive to Nazi Zombie mode (minus an Easter Egg found in the campaign), but you can also find a Molotov, which is basically useless against the zombies. It takes a lot of teamwork to survive a long amount of rounds. That is why I probably like this game mode so much. Also, to keep players interested, Treyarch plans on releasing more Nazi Zombie maps in the future to keep players blowing off the heads of undead soldiers. Honestly, this game mode was one of the selling points for me after hearing how fun it was. I was not disappointed at all.
World at War’s multiplayer is easily comparable to Call of Duty 4’s, because the game runs on the same engine and principles. The main difference between the two games multiplayer are the time periods. Call of Duty 4 takes place in modern times, and World at War takes place in World War II. That affects the weapons, the maps, the bodies at war, and more.
For starters, the weaponry is nothing of a surprise to anyone who has played a World War II FPS before. The Thompson, MP40, and the Kar98k are all there. What adds a little spice to these weapons is the weapons add-ons that are available to the weapons after challenges are complete. An example of a challenge is getting 25 kills with a certain weapon. When completed, you unlock an assortment of attachments for your weapons which vary from scopes to silencers to grenade launchers. An example of a weapon add-on is the Aperture Sight, very similar to the Red Dot Sight in Call of Duty 4. This Sight is a piece of glass attached to the top of your weapon with a crosshair etched into it. This makes aiming with your weapon easier in certain situations and adds a different feel to it. The weapon add-ons definitely added a lot of replay value to the multiplayer experience for me.
The ranking system in the game’s multiplayer is the strongest area of the multiplayer in my opinion. The ranking system shoots from levels 1-65. At level 1, you are not able to create any classes, are not able to complete challenges, and have very few weapons. Once you reach level 65, you are able to wield every single weapon and perk. The weapon add-ons however are only achievable by completing challenges assigned to the weapons. Since you begin with a relatively weak arsenal, you strive to rank up and be able to wield the bigger and better weapons. Once you reach the top level of 65, you are given the option of entering Prestige Mode. This basically takes all of your weapons and perks, and puts you back at level 1. It does add a lot of replay value to the game for the hardcore multiplayer players, and I like the idea of prestige. I however, don’t plan on ever entering the mode.
Call of Duty: World at War is without a doubt one of the most unbalanced multiplayer experiences I have ever laid eyes on. The weapons are divided into categories. Some categories completely overpower others. There are Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs), Rifles, Bolt-Action Rifles, Shotguns, and Machine Guns. The SMGs completely overpower the Bolt-Action Rifles in a close-combat situation in most cases (Keep in mind I am pretending that both players are of equal skill when I say this. An amazing player can beat out an SMG user with a Bolt-Action Rifle). In a typical multiplayer game, you will see nothing but SMG users, and very few other weapon categories. This basically renders the Bolt-Action weapons useless in a public game. The only way to have a balanced game is to organize a match with some friends and make up some rules. This is why I am not going to prestige. Having the best weapons and then just losing them isn’t fun, because back at level 1, you are going to be ripped apart by the weapons that are unlocked in later levels. Ranking up isn’t the quickest process either. It is very easy at the beginning, but as you get higher up, it takes very long to rank up even one level. I personally do not mind this, however.
I have two words that can describe World at War’s graphics. Very impressive. I am playing the game on a high end PC, and I often find myself in awe of the visuals in parts of the game. The settings shown in the game look very real, and each character looks real as well, minus some blank facial expressions. What really surprised me in terms of the graphics however, is how visual the injuries are to the characters. For example, if a grenade explodes right next to you, your legs are going to blow off. The first time I saw this, I was shocked. I don’t see that very often, and I play a wide assortment of video games. The maps and areas are also very detailed, making the overall game experience a treat.
The game’s sound is superb. The voices of the soldiers are right on, and the weapons sound great. I really have no complaints in this category besides the fact that the game’s home screen’s music can become very annoying after a while. It became so annoying that I turned off the game’s music eventually.
Call of Duty: World at War was a different World War II FPS experience from anything else I have yet to see. The campaign was very violent, but at the same time, thrilling and entertaining. The multiplayer on the other hand, was weak. There is nothing sensational about it, and is basically Call of Duty 4 watered down. For how unbalanced the multiplayer is, I am surprised that so many people play it.
Cooperative gameplay was a welcome addition to the game, and I find that to be a huge advantage over Call of Duty 4. The Nazi Zombie side game was also a ton of fun, and really held my attention when I had a good group of friends together to play it.
Call of Duty: World at War is a solid shooter with a great campaign, but a weak multiplayer. If you are into single player or cooperative games, I would give this game a go, but if you are into multiplayer primarily, this game won’t hold your attention for long.
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