VETERAN'S DAY for Video Gamers

Nov 12, 2008 (Updated Nov 13, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Remember our Veterans!
Everything that made CoD4 a great game.

Cons:More of the same - just in a different wrapper.

The Bottom Line:  World at War is good,but, it doesn't add much more to the franchise than CoD4 - the game its built over.
Enough with the WorldWar2 games already !




Call of Duty: World at War
is an attempt by game developer, Treyarch,  and Activision to repackage Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and sell it to you for  $60 (or more) based merely on the fact that it’s the “latest of the Call of Duty series”.   

Up until  2007’s “Modern Warfare”, the Call of Duty series has consisted  of World War 2 titles, that have been very good games,   but, they have failed to excite me simply because World War 2 is old and its boring at this point. I’ve been playing World War 2 games since “Medal of Honor” on the Playstation .  After Medal of Honor revolutionized the theme with excellent 3D graphics and an immersive Spielberg written story, the Call of Duty series picked up with even more sophistication and some drop dead gorgeous intro’s of the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

But the WW2 games have gone wild and taken on a life of their own. The increased fascination with Nazi’s and Normandy has led to numerous, numerous games being made that have only served to decrease the actual interest in the theme.  We know how World War 2 ended. There are no surprises. 

 Infinity Ward broke the mold by creating a perfect Singleplayer  and a stellar multiplayer experience with an all new game engine and an all new game design when they built Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.  Rather than another rehash of “shoot the nazi’s”, we got a more modern and contemporary setting where we fought against Russian Nationalists and Arab “Terrorists” who are holding…get this…Weapons of Mass Destruction !  The gameplay was fantastic, the weapons were shockingly fun and the graphics were top notch.
But now, Treyarch has simply decided to take A+ game Modern Warfare and develop yet another World War 2 game. I guess they figured they could simply copy paste over Modern Warfare’s template and let hype for the game do the rest.   The end result however, is a B- game where an A+ game used to be.

CoD4 Review:  http://www.epinions.com/review/Call_of_Duty_4_Modern_Warfare_for_Xbox_360/content_407506947716


World at War does not improve the Call of Duty series at all. It merely imitates the best game of the series.
But, this time, the game isn’t as much about the Nazi’s as it is the Pacific Theater. There are two separate campaigns in fact.  The first, is the Russians pressing into the heart of Hitler’s backyard and the other is America fighting against Japan. Similar to Modern Warfare, where you alternated between USMC and British SAS, every couple of levels, the campaign switches. Since WaW is basically the same game, the pacing is quite good, however, because chapters can move ahead by months at a time, it isn't as solid as CoD4's campaign. 

Where World at war succeeds is in interspersing actual news reel footage from the actual headlines of history into the game. A lot of this content is mature (filmed executions, and actual deaths) so I strongly urge parents considering this game to think about that.   The news reel footage is designed to add a sense of hopelessness to the fight. Like Modern Warfare, WaW also uses statistics to help make its case as a time capsule:  “if you were a Lieutenant in this area, you had a 1 in 5 chance of surviving”, for example. 

Both the American POW  and the Russian begin weaponless and surrounded by enemies with superior technology and numbers. 

This game is violent, and gory  since the retooled engine now allows amputations from explosions, but, it doesn’t reach the same levels of gore offered by Gears Of War 2 or Soldier of Fortune.  The graphics of both the player models and the scenery - as well as the audio - is basically what you've already experienced in CoD4.

The Modern Warfare mission where you rain death on Russian nationals from a Spectre Gunship have been replaced with a similar mission where you are now in a Navy aircraft that is now closer to the action and taking fire over the high seas.   There is also another clone mission where you are a sniper (like the mission where you used a Barrett .50 cal to blow Zakayev’s arm off in CoD4) but its just not as exciting as Modern Warfare.’
There are also tanks that you can ride in. Unfortunately, WW2 era tanks were slow and nowhere near as sophisticated as they are nowadays so this isn’t as much fun as Battlefield 2’s tank combat mechanics.  


MULTIPLAYER

World at War’s multiplayer is at its core, completely unchanged from  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Unfortunately, for me, this was a terrible thing due to the change in the theme.  Wherein Modern warfare allowed you to experiment with modern day technology such as the suppressed P90  and the M-16 with holographic sight, World at War’s best guns are far less interesting.  Thompson submachine guns and grease guns just aren’t very exciting to me.  In fact, most of  World at War’s weapons feel like the same weapons from Modern Warfare, minus the sophisticated targeting sights.
The new standout weapons are the bayonet and the flamethrower. The flamethrower, well…ummm…throws flames.  The bayonet runs people through and is just as visceraly entertaining as Modern Warfare’s knife slash attack.
Modern Warfare’s ranking system is untouched.   The perk system is untouched. New perks for the game’s ranking system also allow you to get perks for your tank use. 

The “air strike” has now been changed to an “artillery strike” with very similar devastating results as CoD4's. 
The “UAV”  has been changed to a “spotter plane”. 
The helicopter support has now been changed to…dogs???  That’s right... DOGS !  When you get a kill streak you can now summon a pack of dogs on the enemy. (Who came up with this?)  Strangely enough, in Modern Warfare, dogs were actually pretty hard to kill because they moved very quickly and darted past your gun sights. Once they were  less than 5 feet from you, you were most likely going to be returned to the previous checkpoint.   The Dogs are funny because they are hard to kill and relatively ridiculous but, still, its not hard to see that  World at War is week-old meat that’s been repackaged.

Similar to Gears of War 2’s  HORDE mode, there is now a mode in World at War called Nacht der Untoten,   “ Night of the Undead”  where you and some other players are held up inside a position and are under attack by zombified Nazi’s that get stronger with each wave. Its actually pretty fun to play , but, since WaW’s multiplayer is a carbon copy of Modern Warfare’s, the Multiplayer is already exciting…

…but, its exactly what we’ve been playing since last November.

OVERALL

World at War is a success because it is a MOD of a  perfect game. In fact Modern Warfare even a full year later is still a fun and excellent game that I am still playing. Modern Warfare is more immersive and more interesting than Microsoft’s own Halo 3 but, this Christmas season its popularity may be challenged a  by WaW and Gears2.
While World at War is definitely a great game based on its underpinnings, the theme is played out.  It may succeed at being the best World War 2 game available but I sincerely hope Activision will stop producing these games and look forward to the future… war with China and Iran.  You know its coming !

Since there have been very few A+, in-house, releases for Playstation 3, this game is a MUST HAVE to keep you busy online for the next year or so.  Its also a very appropriate title for November 11th, Veterans Day as, on some level, it helps to bring remembrance to the hell those who fought for this country went through just a few decades ago.  Even the infinitely spawning enemy doesn't match the tremendous loss of life that was WW2.


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