Call of Duty: World At War Review

Call of Duty: World At War takes the Call of Duty series back to its WWII origins. The massively popular Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare, developed by Infinity Ward, greatly increased the popularity of the series among gamers on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC platforms. Unlike Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty:World At War was developed by Treyarch. Many Call of Duty fans were skeptical that Treyarch could maintain the extremely high standard Infinity Ward set with Call of Duty 4, but for the most part their fears have proven unfounded. Call of Duty: World at War is a first person shooter of very high quality, and while it’s not quite as impressive as Call of Duty 4, it is still a solid game.


Call of Duty: World At War owes much of its success to the foundation Call of Duty 4 built. The game runs on the engine Infinity Ward developed for Call of Duty 4. Because they share the CoD4 engine, the two Call of Duty games are visually  similar. Most importantly for the multiplayer game, the use of the CoD4 engine means that World At War also has a very stable framerate of 60 FPS. World At War’s controls are identical to those of CoD4, which is great news for the many gamers who enjoy that control scheme. In my opinion, CoD4 has the best control scheme of any console first person shooter, and the fact that World at War uses the same controls is a huge bonus for both the singleplayer and multiplayer components.

World At War’s online multiplayer versus as a whole is similar to CoD4’s, with basically identical matchmaking systems and playlists. Treyarch has made small improvements to the system, such as adding “local only” filters to the matchmaking that allow players to choose if they only want to play with gamers in their local area. This is an important feature for players from Europe and Australia who won’t want to play with North American gamers because of the lag involved with networking over such great distances.


As those who have played CoD4 will expect, the matchmaking system is easy to use and works flawlessly. It finds games very quickly: it’s not an exaggeration to say that you will often be running and gunning in a full game less than 30 seconds after pressing the find game button. The various playlists have several options to cater to those who prefer Hardcore modes, where the guns kill in one or two shots, or modes such as Search and Destroy, in which players get only one life, with no respawns.

TheXbox 360 and PS3 versions of World At War support up to 18 players in a single match, the same number that CoD4 did. This is quite a high number for console online games,considerably higher than Halo 3 or Gears of War 2, to name a few examples. Thanks to the great party system, which is also identical to CoD4’s, you can play with up to eight friends on the same team, and the matchmaking system will find opponents for you. The game works well with the Xbox Live and Playstation Network interfaces, allowing you to invite friends to games at almost any time, as long as there is room in the game.

While the multiplayer of World At War is basically the same as Call of Duty 4, but with WWII themed maps, weapons and perks, the game does add some new multiplayer options. There are several co-op modes in the game, playable either locally on a single console or over Xbox Live and PSN. The entire singleplayer campaign is playable with up to four players,and there is also a new mode called Nazi Zombies, again that supports up to four players. This is a significant improvement over Call of Duty 4, which has no cooperative modes at all.


The singleplayer section of the game is short and linear enough that it doesn’t have a great deal of replay value, even with the four player co-op. However, like CoD4, the singleplayer is intense and filled with impressive set pieces. The scenery is varied, with environments such as rainforests, island jungles, destroyed cities, and everything in between. World At War’s singleplayer campaign includes both the Pacific and European theatres, with a Soviet campaign that culminates in the Battle for Berlin, and an American campaign that ends with the destruction of the Japanese base on Okinawa.

While the singleplayer is polished, with the 60 FPS framerate and smooth, responsive controls, it isn’t as high a caliber as Call of Duty 4’s singleplayer campaign. World at War depicts WWII better than any other first person shooter to date, but the player simply isn’t going to be shocked to find out that the Nazis actually lose. In contrast, Call of Duty 4’s original story had a few plot twists that players were unlikely to see coming.

The other co-op mode, Nazi Zombies, is a different story. It puts players in a fortified compound that they have to defend against increasingly numerous waves of undead Nazis, and is great fun with a few friends. It’s all about teamwork in Nazi Zombies, as players who try to be lone wolves won’t survive long when the zombies start pouring in quickly. Unlike in other zombie survival games such as Left4Dead, there is no way to “win” the Nazi Zombies mode: the zombies keep coming faster and faster until all the players die and the game ends.


The map in which Nazi Zombies takes place has several doors and barricades that can be opened, giving players various tactical options on how they want to try and hold off the hordes. There is also a wide variety of guns that can be purchased with money earned from killing zombies, with bonus money provided by headshots and the occasional random power-up. There are quite a few ways to play Nazi zombies because of this:you can try holding the zombies off from the second floor with shotguns and sniper rifles,or staying downstairs and go for the heavy machine guns. These scenarios are only a couple of the options from a very interesting and original game mode. Nazi Zombies adds a lot to World at War, and most importantly, it’s something that actually wasn’t in Call of Duty 4, and will be a refreshing new mode for CoD4 fans.

Treyarch has delivered an excellent first person shooter with Call of Duty: World at War. It doesn’t have a singleplayer mode as intense as Call of Duty 4’s, but it makes some improvements, most importantly the Nazi Zombies cooperative mode, which is surprisingly fun and replayable. Call of Duty 4 fans who are looking for a similarly polished shooter, but with WWII themed maps, weapons, and perks will be happy with World At War. However, those who are still content with Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer also won’t find much new in World At War to keep them interested, and might be better off sticking with CoD4 until Modern Warfare 2, CoD4’s sequel, comes out this fall.

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