Call of Duty: World at War Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Call of Duty: World at War box art
System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Treyarch 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: 1-18 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Call of Multiplayer
by Adam Brown

October 9, 2008 - After the juggernaut that was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, it wasn’t surprising that the announcement of Call of Duty: World at War met with such reluctance. Many fans feared that since the game was going back to World War II and being developed by Treyarch, as opposed to Infinity Ward, it would be a step backwards for the series. If the multiplayer I had a chance to experience is any indication of what we can expect from World at War, Call of Duty fans should fear no longer.

Call of Duty: World at War screenshot

Rather than reinventing the wheel, World at War takes everything that players loved about Modern Warfare’s multiplayer and even adds a shiny rim and a slick spinner. The perks are back with some new additions, including shades, which reduces the blurring and blinding effect caused by flares, and gas masks, which help better protect the player from chemical-based weapons. The perks are earned in the same fashion as in Modern Warfare, gaining experience from your online prowess, moving up in military rank, and receiving a perk when you do so.

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With the new vehicles such as tanks that come with a secondary gunner seat that players can take advantage of in multiplayer, there are also some new vehicle perks as well. The one I was able to utilize was water cooler, which made the tank’s mounted machine gun take longer to overheat. These tanks can definitely turn the tide of most battles, as they are heavily armored and pack some serious firepower. They can also be incredibly difficult to take down, requiring quite a few rockets and sticky grenades to make a dent in its armor.

Call of Duty: World at War screenshot

Also on display was a new play mode called War. In this mode, there are points on the map that need to be captured one at a time by your team. Of course, the other team is attempting to do the same, so these capture points end up being a mass grave for both teams. Whenever a team successfully captures a point, the momentum of the match turns in their favor, making capturing the next point quicker and easier for that team. This momentum is an interesting addition, but it did tend to make these matches incredibly one-sided. I suppose if you had a skilled team of friends working together, it would be possible to come back from a deficit, but with a bunch of strangers it seemed incredibly futile. Almost every match was won by the team that was able to capture the first point on the map.

The maps in World at War are also well-constructed and varied, ranging from bombed out cities to a hut-filled village on the edge of the ocean. The latter map was called Makin, and it offered an interesting backdrop for capture the flag. When playing in Makin, there were several out-of-the-way courses one could take to sneak up on their opponent’s flag. On one side was the ocean, which could be traversed with players walking under the supports of the overhead huts. The other side was made up of some jungle paths that provided excellent cover, making survival and stealth much easier.

Call of Duty: World at War screenshot

As in Modern Warfare, World at War also rewards players who manage to go on kill streaks. After three kills in a row, players will get a recon plane, five will net you an artillery strike, and seven gets you one of the funniest and most interesting things I’ve seen in a multiplayer game. As soon as you’ve scored your seventh kill in a row, players will hear Gary Oldman scream “Unleash the dogs.” When this occurs it means you now have a pack of vicious dogs that will seek out and attack your enemies. There aren’t many things funnier than sneaking your way to an opponent’s flag and having experience points constantly popping up in your window from team Cujo’s handiwork.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to come out of my time with World at War was its competitive co-op mode. In this mode, players will need to work together, all the while competing against one another for the high score. As a four person team, players will make their way through levels from the campaign, getting points for killing enemies and healing teammates. When you are mortally wounded in this mode, you will lose points and have a limited amount of time in which a teammate can save your life. If a teammate fails to heal you before you bleed out, your team will have to restart from your last checkpoint. The balance that this mode strikes between working together and competing is interesting to say the least and really has me excited to play through the game in this mode once it is released.

You will definitely need to function as a team to survive, as levels like the one I experienced, entitled Relentless, certainly lived up to its name. In Relentless, players are frequently pinned down behind cover, as seemingly endless hordes of Japanese soldiers rush and attack you from every direction. While playing this level there was nary a moment in which I wasn’t firing, reloading, healing a teammate, or bleeding out waiting for a helping hand and a healing touch.

Although World at War takes Call of Duty back to World War II, it still manages to feel different than pre-Modern Warfare Call of Duty titles. Besides being set in the Pacific Theater, much of this is thanks to Treyarch borrowing from what Call of Duty 4 did right and improving upon it as well. Even with the game’s older weapons and setting, fans of Modern Warfare’s multiplayer should definitely give this game a try when it is released this November. It may be World War II again, but it is far from the same old Call of Duty.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor

Game Features:

  • Call of Duty 4 Technology: Built using the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine, Call of Duty: World at War utilizes a bedrock of technology that delivers jaw-dropping visuals, while empowering players to employ elements like fire to affect the dynamics of the battlefield. Players that attempt to harness the power of new weapons, like the flamethrower, will find themselves capable of burning away environmental elements that give cover to a camouflaged enemy, leaving a charred battlefield, and their foes in their wake
  • Coordinated Assault and Support: For the first time in the franchise, Call of Duty: World at War introduces co-op, bringing fresh meaning to the No One Fights Alone mantra. Call of Duty: World at War co-op features up to four-players online, or two-player local split-screen, allowing gamers to experience harrowing single-player missions together for greater camaraderie and tactical execution. The title also incorporates traditional multiplayer components such as challenges, rankings, and online stats into the co-op campaign for deeper re-playability and advanced gameplay.
  • New Theaters of Operation: Players fight as U.S. Marines and Russian soldiers facing enemies – some new to the Call of Duty franchise – that employ lethal new tactics and know no fear, no mercy, nor the rules of war. Epic conflicts are fought on multiple fronts, playing through the climactic battles of WWII in the grittiest, most chaotic and cinematically intense experience to date
  • Innovative Multiplayer: Multiplayer builds from the success of Call of Duty 4, delivering a persistent online experience for more squad-based interaction. New development with party systems allows an intimacy with squad-based combat never before seen in Call of Duty. Combined infantry and vehicle missions add a new dimension to the online warfare and offers more PERK abilities
  • Cinematic Quality Graphics and Sound: Treyarch's award-winning sound department returns with effects that add to the already immersive cinematic intensity of the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare game engine

  • Screenshots / Images
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