Call of Duty: World At War is the latest title in a series of games that’s been running now for five years, although such is the groundswell of support for it that it feels more like ten. In the past there have been occasional AI problems that really have your head scratching as to why they’ve not been ironed out, but despite that whatever entry you pick out you’re always guaranteed a great blast as a piece of entertainment.
In fact, I still occasionally go back to Call of Duty: Finest Hour on the Xbox. The graphics are a little dated, sure, but the feeling of satisfaction at completing a level still remains just as high.
In this latest title, you play Pvt Miller, starting off in a Japanese internment camp in August 1942, watching a colleague take a servere beating. Just as you’re about to get capped, Sgt Roebuck (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) saves you and then you get a chance to kick the crap out of them. Well… shoot the crap out of them, really. However, you can’t just rush in all-guns-blazing as you’ll get shot to pieces, so you’ve got to keep an eye on what’s ahead as you run towards it.
Gary Oldman is the other famous voice in this game, playing Sgt Reznov, commander of the German forces and you’ll see him from level four when you take a break from blowing away the Japanese to becoming part of the Soviet Red Army, as Pvt Petrenko, and looking to liberate Berlin. There’s a third playable character I haven’t yet come to myself, Petty Officer Locke, a weapons operator on an American flying boat, PBY Catalina.
Call of Duty: World at War has fantastic graphics, explosive (literally) sound effects and the ambience is brilliantly performed, even in the quietest moments. You die a lot in this game but it certainly has that ‘one more go’ factor and it’s hard to tear yourself away. It really is outstanding stuff and looks glorious in HD with so much action going on at any one time and no slowdown. A real triumph, in fact!
There’s also cool CGI sequences inbetween levels which depict the story.
So, a definite improvement in graphics and gameplay from the last title I played in the series, Call of Duty 3, while the sound was never in doubt.
There are plenty of checkpoints – which is good due to, as I mentioned, the fact that you’ll die frequently if you don’t pay attention; and objectives are easy to find due to the gold star guiding you in the rough direction of your goal.
Grenades will drop at your feet from time to time, particuarly if you’re in a position where you can hide behind something as the enemy will want to rub you out. Press the right shoulder button to pick them up and toss ’em back!
Random irritiations about the game include the fact that you have to reload your weapons far too quickly – every few seconds, it seems, so you’re bound to die often as the enemy seems to have tons of ammo. There were also some enemy huts I was trying to escape into after shooting the occupants coming out, but due to some of its linear traits, the game wasn’t programmed to allow me in so it looked daft that I couldn’t enter an open door!
Overall, the graphics and sound are faultless. The playability, at 8/10, loses a little due to it getting complex in problems with running out of ammo and for enjoyment I’d give it 9/10. This is because this is yet another COD game, but it’s also fantastic fun to play – and I’ve not yet hit upon the kind of snags I’ve experienced with previous games such as menconstantly running into walls and continuing to run forward into it as if they’ve had a frontal lobotomy. There’s some nice AI from the baddies, too, even if this improvement does go against my favour :)
I’m not one for Xbox Live play, but if you are then the Death Cards you come across will give you extra items in Co-op matches such as exploding headshots, paintball mode and undead enemies.
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- Publisher: Activision
- Price: £49.99 (Xbox 360)
- Players: 1-2; Co-op: 2; Online: 2-18
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.