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Call of Duty: World at War Review

Today’s review is the next game in the series of Call of Duty, that being Call of Duty: World at War. Can Call of Duty: World at War stand up to Call of Duty 4 that was a huge hit and is still played today? Well let’s get started on the review and see how it fairs in the Call of Duty series.

Call of Duty: World at War is a first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. It is the fifth installment in the Call of Duty series. The game returns to World War II focusing on the Pacific Theater and Eastern Front of World War II. The game uses an enhanced version of the Modern Warfare’s game engine with increased development in audio effects.

The story focuses on the initial battles of World War II in the Pacific and Eastern Europe involving the United States, the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany. It is told from the perspectives of a Marine Raider and a Red Army soldier and is based on several historical battles, including the raid on Makin Island, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Peleliu, the Battle of Seelow Heights, the Battle of Okinawa, and the Battle of Berlin.

The game starts in Makin Island at night on August 17, 1942. Private Miller watches the torture and execution of a fellow soldier by the Japanese. As they turn towards Miller, he is rescued by his crew and they assault the island, replicating the Makin Island raid. The following mission then starts two years later, where the Americans assault the Japanese-held island of Peleliu. Miller calls in rocket strikes to take out Japanese Ha-Gō tanks. At the end of the mission, Sergeant Sullivan is fatally impaled through the stomach by a Japanese soldier wielding a katana.

During the single-player campaign the player controls three different characters from a first-person perspective. The player takes the role of Private Miller of the United States Marine Corps’ 1st Division and Private Dimitri Petrenko of the Soviet Red Army. Private Miller’s campaign starts as he is captured by the Japanese while scouting Makin Island and is rescued by Corporal Roebuck and his men from the Marine Raiders squad. He then continues through the Pacific campaign and ends at Shuri Castle on Okinawa Island.

Private Petrenko’s campaign starts when he is part of the 62nd Army in a water fountain where he pretends to be dead and watches German soldiers execute the rest of his unit in Stalingrad. Along with an injured teammate, Sergeant Reznov, he seeks revenge on the Germans. Three years later, they meet again on the Eastern Front, alongside a third character, Pvt. Chernov. They advance towards Berlin with the 3rd Shock Army, where they capture the Reichstag and Petrenko plants the Soviet flag after being shot by a hidden German that is then quickly killed by Reznov.

The third playable character in the campaign is Petty Officer Locke, a weapons operator on a PBY Catalina, who is only playable in the mission “Black Cats.” Locke’s squadron makes a raid on a Japanese merchant fleet in the Pacific and later rescues the survivors of a destroyed U.S. fleet. Environments are more destructible and can be set on fire with the flamethrower, which features propagating fire.

The music for Call of Duty: World at War was composed by Sean Murray. Murray stated that they had worked together earlier on True Crime: New York City, the sequel to the first True Crime: Streets of LA. Murray also said that he wanted to make the music more fun and intense. The game has various levels of muffled sound depending on the objects it travels through; a more muffled sound through a thick wall compared to a slightly muffled sound through a thin, short wall. You can tell the difference between someone walking next to the player and someone walking above or below the player, as well as telling the difference between a shot fired in the distance and a shot fired close by, but behind a solid object.

Kiefer Sutherland and Gary Oldman were cast as voice actors for the game. Sutherland voices the narrating character of the American campaign, Sgt. Roebuck, while Oldman voices that of the Soviet narrator, Sgt. Reznov. A full-sized replica PBY Catalina was constructed for motion capture use. Other non-playable characters in the game include Corporal/Sergeant Roebuck (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland), Sergeant Sullivan, and Private Polonsky (voiced by Aaron Stanford), who are in Private Miller’s U.S. squadron. In the European Front, Petrenko meets his comrade, Sergeant Reznov (voiced by Gary Oldman), who teaches him the basics of sniping.

The game’s return to World War II warfare reintroduces weapons and technology that have been seen in other games in the Call of Duty franchise, including the Thompson submachine gun, the Mosin-Nagant rifle, and the Panzerschreck anti-tank rocket launcher. The player gains access to these over the course of the game, but may only carry up to two weapons at a time along with hand grenades. Weapons from dead enemies can be picked up to replace weapons. Players can also find weapons with additional attachments, including guns equipped with rifle grenades, telescopic sights, and bayonets.

A character can be positioned in one of three stances: standing, crouching, or prone. Each stance affects the character’s movement, accuracy, and stealth. Using cover helps the player avoid enemy fire or recover health after taking significant damage. After the character has taken damage the edges of the screen glows red and the character’s heartbeat increases. If the character stays out of fire, the character can recover. When the character is within the blast radius of a live grenade, a marker indicates the direction of the grenade, helping the player to decide where to go or throw it back at the enemy.

The controls in Call of Duty: World at War work very well but they have had years to perfect them. The sights were dead on and worked the best just like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The sights are very smooth as you move them from point to point. When zoomed in it moves slower then just aiming without the sights but this is the way it should be; because in real life it would be the same. When controlling the movements of the charterers everything moves very smoothly and well controlled. Moving other charterers in the squad is very easy and can be pinpointed to a spot with no problem. The controls make sense and are very easy to use. I normally do not play first person shooters on the PlayStation 3 but after I got the hang of the controls it was no problem.

Call of Duty: World at War includes a similar multiplayer experience in other Call of Duty games. All versions of the game use a similar perk and ranking system and feature six different multiplayer modes, including team deathmatch and capture-the-flag. For the first time in the franchise the game also features a cooperative gameplay mode with up to two players via split screen on consoles, or four players online. The co-op mode also includes a minigame called Nacht der Untoten (German for “Night of the Undead”) consisting of 1-4 players fighting an unlimited number of waves of Nazi zombies.

World at War’s video is very smooth with no choppiness or clipping. The detail with the characters is almost life like with a great deal of detail in the face, clothing and guns that are used. The background with the buildings, furniture, enemies, walls and tanks are very well detailed. One thing I want to say is the background sky looks very good with smoke, fire and the overall look of a war zone. It is very eerie and to the point it looks like you are there and could pick up a brick and thrown it at some of the enemies.

Final Verdict

Call of Duty: World at War is another great game in the series. The look and feel of World War II is all around you when you play this game. The new engine from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare brings a new beginning to the series with harder and faster AI. The new sound is great also and lets you know where guns are being fired and enemies are. I really can’t say anything bad about the game. Overall another great Call of Duty game from Activision.


10 out of 10

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Call of Duty: World at War Review

Related Information

Posted by: z36
Date: May 27, 2009
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Release Date: 11/11/2008
Genre: Action
Number of Players: 1-4
ESRB Rating: Mature
System Reviewed: PlayStation 3

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Categories: PlayStation 3 Reviews, Wii Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews, PC Reviews, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, Reviews

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