Call of Duty: World at War Review

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Call of Duty: World at War

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One of the best shooters this year, Call of Duty: World At War is an explosive and powerful cinematic experience.

We like

  • Cinematic visuals and soundtrack
  • Great A.I makes it a rewarding challenge
  • Brilliant co-op and multiplayer modes

We dislike

  • Extremely tough in places.

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) action since Call of Duty 3,) has picked up from where Infinity Ward left off with ‘Modern Warfare’ and has pulled out all the stops to make World At War a compelling WWII shooter and a worthy entrant in the Call of Duty series. Living up to the expectations set by Modern Warfare is no mean feat either, but despite World At War missing some of those epic moments that we were treated to in that game, (who can forget the intense raid on the farmhouses in search of a terrorist leader?) it does offer one of the finest first person shooter experiences of 2008.

With World War II as its theme, the story in World At War is told from the perspective of a U.S. Marine raider and a Russian Army soldier, who embark on the final battles in the Pacific and Eastern Europe campaigns. The subject matter has afforded the developer the luxury to create a varied experience with different environments to battle across and diverse warring mentalities to play around with. Whilst both the U.S. marine sections and the Russian soldier segments in the game are equally as dramatic and enjoyable, they both have a different feel to them and offer varying gameplay experiences. This means that you occasionally need to adapt your playing style to suit the change in pace or the switch in focus. Whether you’re breaking through the German defences in the town of Seelow, or sniping from the rooftops as the Russian to clear room for your team-mates to advance on the ground, there’s enough diversity in the gameplay, including a section where you can play entirely with flame-thrower in hand, to ensure that you’re not just constantly facing fire-fight after fire-fight. Switching focus like this makes the gameplay feel fresh, unpredictable and exciting.

After playing the visually astounding, ‘Modern Warfare’ we expected World at War to look and sound incredible and the good news is it doesn’t disappoint. With gorgeous textures, dazzling water and fire effects, impressive environmental destruction, brilliant animation and a haunting soundtrack, it manages to capture the intensity, the spirit and even the horror of war. Such is the magnitude of the production in World At War that it not only makes for an immersive experience, but it has the ability to stir your emotions. Crawling past decapitated bodies of your teammates, or setting soldiers on fire with a carefully place Molotov cocktail (or the hugely enjoyable flamethrower) and watching them run around as they're burnt alive are just some of the grisly, yet spine-tingingly brilliant highlights. It’s powerful stuff.

Having such gorgeous graphics certainly helps to create an authentic wartime feel, but without some solid game mechanics it wouldn’t mean a thing. Creating animations for the Japanese soldiers, who have a different mentality and behavioural patterns to other sets of soldiers we’re used to fighting against, must have been a joy for Treyarch. The inclusion of the Imperial Japanese army has allowed them to be creative and as result the unpredictably of the soldiers in battle keeps you on your toes. They launch themselves at you with suicidal banzai attacks, they play dead and then jump up and surprise you as you walk past and they climb trees to gain a vantage point, using the environment to their advantage by setting traps and hiding in the undergrowth. As a result, in addition to the standard Call of Duty action that we all know and love, the fighting is varied and unpredictable with a mixture of long range attacks and close-quarters combat.

As well as the outstanding enemy A.I. who pin you down and throw grenades with extreme precision, the A.I. of your allies is also superb. As you move up the battlefield they press forward alongside you, taking up strategic positions on route and changing their behaviour and focus in direct response to the action around you. If you find yourself under heavy gunfire, the friendly A.I. is so in tune with the action that you can keep your head down and weather the storm as they provide cover fire and effectively attack the opposition and draw their fire away from you. They always work with you, which is so important in creating a believable game experience. The A.I. ... (continued on next page)

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