Call of Duty: World at War is a first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch and published by Activision for PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. It is generally considered to be the fifth mainstream game of the Call of Duty series and returns the setting to World War II, after the storyline of the previous title, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was based in the present day. The game was released in North America on November 11, 2008 and in Europe on November 14, 2008. A Windows Mobile version was also made available by Glu Mobile and different storyline versions for the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 were also produced, but remain in the World War II setting. The game is based on an enhanced version of the Call of Duty 4 game engine developed by Infinity Ward with increased development on audio and visual effects. A sequel, Call of Duty: Black Ops is being developed and is set to be released on November 9, 2010.
The narrative for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 versions focuses on the Pacific and Eastern Front theatres of World War II, involving the United States, the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany. It is told from the perspectives of Marine Raider Private C. Miller and Red Army soldier Private Dimitri Petrenko and is based on several historical battles. The multiplayer component of the game contains various game modes and a leveling system that allows the player to unlock additional weapons and rewards as they progress, similar to Call of Duty 4. The game also contains downloadable content called “map packs”, which can be purchased online. A new feature to the series was the addition of a cooperative mode, which supports up to two players locally and four players online.
The game was the second best-selling game for November 2008 in the United States, selling over 1.41 million units. In the UK, it sold twice as many units as Call of Duty 4 in its first week after release, becoming the third fastest-selling video game. It received positive reviews, with praise for its portrayal of the gritty, dark side of war and multiple game modes. However, it was criticized for not building on the success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Call of Duty: World at War currently holds an 85% aggregate score on GameRankings and Metacritic.
World at War, the fifth game of the Call of Duty series, features a more mature theme than previous installments.The game is also open-ended, as there are multiple ways to complete objectives. The gameplay of World at War shares several features with previous iterations of the franchise. Players fight alongside AI-controlled teammates. They help during the game’s missions by providing cover fire, shooting down enemies, and clearing rooms for entry.
When playing Wii version of the game, instead of using a controller, as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 versions require, an optional gun-like expansion controller known as the Wii Zapper can be used. The Zapper, or Wii Remote and Nunchuk, can be used to aim at targets to fire at them and simulate marksmanship.
The game’s return to World War II-era warfare reintroduces weapons and technology that have been seen in other games in the Call of Duty franchise, including the Thompson submachine gun, the Mosin-Nagant rifle, and the Panzerschreck anti-tank rocket launcher. The player gains access to these over the course of the game, but may only carry up to two weapons in addition to hand grenades. Weapons from fallen foes can be picked up to replace weapons in a player’s arsenal. Players can also find weapons with additional attachments, including guns equipped with rifle grenades, telescopic sights, and bayonets.
A character can be positioned in one of three stances: standing, crouching, or prone; each affecting the character’s rate of movement, accuracy, and stealth. Using cover helps the player avoid enemy fire or recover health after taking significant damage, as there are no armor or health powerups. When the character has taken damage, the edges of the screen glow red and the character’s heartbeat increases. If the character stays out of fire, the character can recover. When the character is within the blast radius of a live grenade, a marker indicates the direction of the grenade, helping the player in deciding whether to flee or throw it back at the enemy.
The single player campaign includes thirteen hidden “death cards”, denoted by playing cards attached to makeshift war graves. There is one in each level (barring those that take place in vehicles); collecting them unlocks cheats for Co-op mode, such as reduced enemy endurance and “paintball mode”.
Just like on the consoles, World at War is all about the Pacific Theater in World War II (with sections also dealing with the Nazi/Russian battles in Europe and Russia), so while we’ve all played countless WWII shooters in the past, it’s rare to find a lot of jungle combat, water-based battles, or cave crawling. With World at War, the idea was to present that same era in a new light, and even on DS n-Space was able to mimic the console success of World at War. You won’t find the same sprawling FMV scenario intros, or the character-driven story that focuses specifically on fleshed out characters, but you will find a story that follows the console games loosely, and ends up being a pocket take on what you’d get on say 360, but it’s still competent.
On the gameplay side of things, n-Space went to some pretty big heights to make sure World at War was a stronger overall package than COD4, and it’s paid off. Just like last year you’ll have seven different mini-events that round out the rest of the package, with things like mine defusing, binoculars that can cal in airstrike coordinates, anti-air gun mission where you blow Japanese planes from the sky, mortar strikes on enemy bunkers, boats, and encampments, Morse code sessions that spell out actual messages should uber-fans actually go out and find the meanings, and then of course the expected flamethrower blasting, sniper areas, and mounted machine guns found throughout the other COD offerings on consoles. Most of it works pretty well, but there are some oddities found along the way too, such as some weird collision issues when rotating the top of a mine off using touch, some overly-difficult plane missions with the anti-air guns, and some pretty strict Morse code sessions. All in all though, it’s a rewarding, diverse offering.
In fact, if we look back at our original review of COD4 for DS, nearly every issue with the core experience has been ironed out. Odd collisions on the playfield are gone, instead leaving them pretty free from random geometry, while still offering cover points and hiding places along the main routes of the game’s 26 missions. The ADS system worked in the previous game, but some odd double tap issues often resulted in the game interpreting a quick turn (where you need to lift the stylus and then begin turning again from the center of the screen) as a double tap, “bring up iron sights” command. This time you can tap anywhere across the top of the touch screen – minus a small context-sensitive area in the upper left, used for mounting machine guns or grapping weaponry – to bring up ADS mode as well. At first we assumed we’d use the double tap mode anyways, since tapping the touch screen would require us to look away from the action, but after a few minutes of practice we were able to bring up our sights without looking away from the action at all; yet another great change.
|Call of Duty: World at War|
|Designer(s)||Margaret Tang (director)|
|Series||Call of Duty|
|Version||1.7 (PS3, X360, Windows)|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, cooperative|
|Media||Blu-ray Disc, DVD-DL, Wii Optical Disc, Download|
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