Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360)

Games Reviews Xbox 360


Developers: Treyarch, Certain Affinity
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PC, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360

Can Activision follow up its award-winning Call of Duty 4 without flaming out?

The latest entry into the Call of Duty franchise had a pretty auspicious slot to fill. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare pulled down multiple game of the year awards, and remains a challenger to Halo 3‘s supremacy on Xbox Live. Call of Duty: World at War feels, at best, like a sidestep to the previous installment.

The single-player campaign follows the same set up as other Call of Duty games, following the story lines of multiple characters in different armies. In World at War, Private Miller of the USA and his team storm through Okinawa in retaliation after Pearl Harbor, and all the while Kiefer Sutherland (as the voice of the squad’s leader) attempts to, in a gravely voice that would make Christan Bale proud, steel you for the horrors that you are about to face and commit. The Russian campaign is lived through the eyes of Private Petrenko and serves as the far more exciting half of the game.

Single player is just not where this games shines. It is obvious what they are trying to accomplish in re-creating the horrors of the Pacific Front, but instead of being evocative, it feels patronizing. Not until Private Petrenko reaches Berlin with Russia’s Red Army does the game truly feel exciting and new.

Treyarch has done a perfectly competent job with the game, it is technically more than sound. It is a gorgeous looking game, models, textures, and lighting all serve to create a solid mood throughout, and sound design pops, especially when you are engaging in the stomring of Berlin and the city is crumbling around you.

The place where World at War excels is in its multiplayer. The game has an incredibly robust multiplayer experience packed in, with a very similar experience to Call of Duty 4‘s. Perks and bonuses have been included, and throughout the single player campaign you can find “Death Cards” that unlock cheats for use in private games. There are six multiplayer modes, and a four-player online co-op that takes you through the single-player campaign. There is a third multiplayer mode unlocked only after beating single player. Nazi. Zombies. That’s right, up to four people are locked inside a house and they have to fight of wave after wave of the worst kind of zombies—zombies with a political ideology. The only issue with multiplayer is the fact that only two players can play Zombie co-op locally, and only one player can go online per system for multiplayer. This does not include the Wii, which has no online co-op at all. It may seem like a small quibble, but when four people want to play together in one space, it becomes a pain.

All in all, Call of Duty: World at War is a solid game. It’s a fun experience, while sometimes hitting the player over the head with its “message.” The campaign can be beaten in about 10 hours, but the depth of multiplayer included will ensure plenty of replayability for the title.

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