|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: n-Space||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Another issue has to do with objectives sometimes overlapping one another, causing both confusion and frustration. One example is an objective that instructed us to hide behind a fountain, then find higher ground and take out snipers who were blocking allied passage. As soon as you enter the area of the objective, however, a timer begins counting down from 30. After roughly 20 tries, we discovered a wounded soldier who demanded treatment, and it was the matter of tending to the soldier that was causing the timer to count down. Additionally, it is occasionally unclear as to what is required to initiate certain objectives, and often youll find yourself having to do a bit of noodling around in order to push progress along.
On the plus side, hit detection is good, the missions are challenging and varied, and the A.I. is fairly intelligent. Soldiers dont run blindly behind enemy lines, making themselves moving targets. A.I. is dangerous, though fair, and enemies will often continue to fire off a few rounds upon falling in battle. Youll even occasionally see downed enemies attempt to crawl away before ultimately meeting their demise. Allied A.I., too, has been improved, and your fellow soldiers will be a real aide to you as you make your way through missions. It is subtle tweaks such as these that make World at War a better, more enjoyable game to play than last years DS CoD4.
Of course, multiplayer is always of major appeal to hardcore FPS fans, and this latest DS offering brings us online matches. Youll be able to choose from 11 maps and three different gameplay types, including Deathmatch, Hunter/Prey, or Capture the Flag, either in Free For All or Team Games (of up to four players). We experienced minimal lag, and hit detection seemed accurate online. The maps were generally fun to play in, but environments are a bit sparse. It remains to be seen just how long online gameplay will be active with World at War DS, but its certainly a welcome feature all the same. Additionally, the game offers local multiplayer, though only for players who each have a copy of the game no download play.
The visuals are strong, though there is no marked improvement here. Character models are still boxy, though they animate smoothly. Backgrounds are something of a mixed bag, with some elements exhibiting a lot of detail, while others reveal their textures all too prominently. The frame rate is smooth, however, and we experienced no discernable slowdown throughout the duration of the game. Its a shame to see enemies disappear off the field so quickly after dying, but there is usually a lot of action onscreen at once, making for some exciting combat. Theres an overall lack of polish with regards to the visuals in World at War, but the great variety of landscapes and environmental elements make up for it.
The audio in the game is quite impressive, as themes break in during key moments in the conflict, adding inspiration and urgency at various times during the experience. The instrumentals comes across with surprising power on DS, and a good stereo mix really helps bring the action to life. Effects, voice work, and other ambient sounds all fit nicely alongside the gameplay and help add an element of immersion to the campaign. Multiplayer, however, feels a bit barren due to its lack of aural complements, and occasionally music gets lopped off during single-player.
All told, Call of Duty: World at War for the DS shaped up nicely. Its got a few bugs, some minor issues in terms of making its objectives clear in the single-player campaign, and the graphics lack polish. However, its a fun shooter, if all too formulaic. For those whove had enough of World War II, well, you may want to take a pass. However, DS owners looking for another worthwhile FPS to play on the go will find a respectable package here. The campaign is lengthy and offers a lot of variety. Multiplayer options round out the package, though they may prove short-lived.
CCC Freelance Writer