We loved COD4: Modern Warfare, so were we happy with the decision to go back to WWII in COD5? Simple answer, YES!
I’ve been a fan of Call of Duty, since their first release in 2003. What I can tell you about Call of Duty: World at War is that this time it’s much bloodier than I’ve ever seen the COD series go. Treyarch has struck while the iron was hot, and it was a good thing they decided with Call of Duty: World at War to jump back into the World War II setting. But after the success of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare many insisted that going back to WWII would be a bad decision. I have to admit, I felt the same after watching the trailers and thinking “Another WWII game???”. Boy, was I mistaken. Powered by the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Engine, World at War plunges you into the Eastern European and Pacific battles where you play as a US Marine Raider and a Russian Red Army soldier. If you’ve seen the movie ‘Enemy at the Gates’ you’re going to appreciate Call of Duty: World at War.
Campaign mode mixes two stories. The single player in COD:WaW is quite challenging yet very fun and exciting. The opening scene starts you off as a POW interrogated by Japanese soldiers. Just like previous COD games, while idle you’re able to look around the hut you’re kneeling in and get a better sense of your surroundings (love that feature). The other US soldier in the room tells you not to give any information to the enemy, as his face is burnt with a lit cigarette from the Japanese soldier then shortly after executed by way of a knife across his throat. You are rescued and your first mission begins as you make your way through the island onto the waiting rescue boats docked. Most levels have reasonable checkpoints which help those of us that tend to run into a war field, literally in between the line of fire.
Playing as the Russian Red Army soldier, Private Dimitri Petrenko, involved more strategy provided by Sgt. Reznov than the US Marine, Private Miller. I mentioned before that if you enjoyed the movie “Enemy at the Gates” you will love this game. And here’s why, in the sniper level the scene begins with you on the floor next to fellow dead Russian soldiers. As the German soldiers pass the deceased corpses, they fire their weapons to ensure they are dead. During this time, you crawl your way over to Sgt. Reznov as he instructs you to pick up the sniper rifle and pick off the soldiers as they are guarding their post. As bombs drop nearby you shoot your rifle and eliminate the soldiers. A scene taken out of “Enemy at the Gates” except in the movie there was a high ranking German soldier who was sniped while showering.
Cut-scenes keep you informed. Everyone hates load times, but COD:WaW keeps it moving with animated cut-scenes that keeps your eye away from the unnoticeable load progress bar towards the bottom and on the color animations provided with voiceover. During some cut-scenes there were some graphic details that involved actual footage of war that was a bit disturbing. I guess watching footage of soldiers being executed was something Treyarch felt was needed, I personally could have done without it. I guess at the same time, you’re increasing your knowledge on WWI with the informative facts provided.
One little, two little, three dozen little KILLER ZOMBIES. At the conclusion of the single player campaign, you will unlock “Nacht der Untoden” or what the kids are calling it, NAZI ZOMBIES. You begin in an abandoned building with boards blocking the windows and doors. As the NAZI ZOMBIES approach the building you have to keep them at bay by killing them and keeping your base intact, oh yeah while trying not to die. Every kill accumulates money which you can then purchase additional weapons off the chalk outlined wall or open doors to other wings or stories of the building. Be careful, the more you unlock the more ZOMBIES come racing towards your building and breaking through the new windows to the wing you just unlocked. Each wave of ZOMBIES come by round which is the only break you’ll get.
Weaponry for the ages. CoD4 fans will miss their old weapons; M16A4 with Red Dot scope or the P90 with a silencer. Sorry folks, this war takes place in World War II. So what weapons will you see? How about the German MP40, Russian PPSH, Japanese Nambu 14 and the US M1 Grand to name a few. There’s still the classic Frag and Smoke grenades, but joining those are the Tabun Gas (poison), Signal Flare (blinding), N74 St (anti-tank) and Molotov Cocktail (fire). There’s something so satisfying to throw a Molotov in a bunker filled with snipers, you’ll have to try it…
Multiplayer Killing Spree. During the multiplayer, you’ll have the chance to gain rewards for consecutive kills in a row with dying. While COD4 had better rewards, relating these to WWII technology makes sense.
– Recon Plane: Kill three enemies without dying and you can deploy a recon plane. It temporarily highlights all nearby enemies on your radar screen.
– Artillery strike: Kill five enemies and you’ll be prompted to select a strike zone. Seconds later, artillery shells will shriek in to obliterate the area.
– Attack Dogs: Kill seven enemies and you’ll release several attack dogs that will chase down and kill enemy team members. Dogs will seek out hiding enemies, so you can follow them to surprise your enemies.
Perk up, you’re slouching. The Perks in COD:WaW are a mixed bags of marbles. Some say these new marbles are shiny and new, others say same old marbles new bag. Which brings me to the new perks of COD:WaW. The ranking up perks are similar to those of COD4 but with a higher ranking system. You’re giving the chance to attain up to a level of 65. Along the way, new guns are unlocked as you level up and perks are made available to you as well. Equipping your player with the proper combination is the key to succeeding. You equip your player by creating a class: a primary weapon (rifle, sub-machine etc.), side arm (handgun), primary grenade (frag), special grenade (smoke), 3 Perks and a Vehicle Perk. In Perk 1, the best perks are Bouncing Betty and Primary Grenades x2. Perk 2 Stopping Power and Juggernaut are the favorites. And Perk 3 offers Martyrdom (drops a live grenade after you die), Deep Impact, Second Chance (revive a downed ally) and Toss Back (resets fuse of picked up grenade).
Multiplayer lobby needs a fixin’. For those of us who’ve player COD4, and have migrated to COD5 the Lobby is still a mess. Gathering up some buddies and inviting them to join you party works half the time. I still don’t understand how games are closed due to the host dropping out. This can and should be fixed with a “host swap” capable function. Which would auto-assign a new host once the current host drops out of the game. Also, allowing players to join games within the last minute of a match and counting that a loss is just plain unfair.
– Cutscenes were accurate and a vital addition to the single player
– Easy to navigate multiplayer lobby
– NPC interaction ie. yelling “watch out to the left…”
– Nazi Zombies
– WWII setting
– PS3 Trophies
– When host leaves game, you are kicked back to the lobby
– Joining friend invitations did not work all the time
I mentioned in my Resistance 2 review, that Call of Duty’s controls are my preference of choice for First-Person Shooters. What I left out was Call of Duty 4 is my “standard” for FPS. In other words, I believe COD4 has redefined my FPS experience and it is my model for future FPS games to come. How does COD5 rank up with my “standard”? Let’s just say I foresee plenty of upcoming nights with the newer COD in my PS3.