previewed on PC
Back to its Roots
As you can probably guess from the title, the newest addition to the Call of Duty series heads back to the era of World War II. While the game market is saturated with WW2 shooters, there are some new aspects to World at War that prevents gamers from feeling like they have “done this all before”. Throughout the course of this preview we will take a look at some of the improvements to the series and hopefully for other First-Person Shooters to come.
World at War will use Call of Duty 4’s engine with some tweaks. The physics are improved and environments more destructible. Explosions will take out buildings and fire engulfs trees and houses alike. Bullets can slice through wood to create new paths or just to attack an enemy in hiding.
Call of Duty 3 was nothing short of a debacle, but given that the Treyarch development team only had a window of eleven months it is surprising the game turned out as well as it did. With a two year development time this time around, Treyarch’s doesn’t have any excuses. To that effect they are taking out all the stops, like enlisting the talents of Kiefer Sutherland and Gary Oldman to do some of the key voice acting.
Technology-wise, World at War sounds great, but if the gameplay is dull or uninteresting, the technology won’t matter too much. Luckily the game won’t be a straightforward run-n-gun shooter; instead the developers opted to make it more open-ended as to how you decide to complete your missions. As to how open-ended the entire game will be remains to be seen.
While it could be considered a feature of the engine, the ability to swim affects the actual gameplay more than the features I mentioned above. You can still use your weapon in the water but you will move much slower than if you were on land.
Online multiplayer is a major part of the game on most of the platforms. The game features co-operative mode with up to four players, both locally on a split screen, system link, or online for all the consoles. The DS supports online multiplayer, but much more limited due to the hardware constraints of the hand-held. Multiplayer modes include the standard death match and capture-the-flag variations along with the ability to drive vehicles and a reward system similar to Call of Duty 4’s.
One thing that lacked with Call of Duty 4 was its single-player game as it was too short and pretty bland to boot, since the developers seemed more focused on the multiplayer aspect. Hopefully this time with familiar subject matter to deal with, World at War’s story mode will be more substantial and have more longevity.
Setting and Story
World at War is much grittier compared to its predecessors. The game will take place in the Pacific Theater of World War 2 and feature levels like the Russian assault on Berlin, which was a gruesome battle, along with some scenes of torture and execution of POWs. This game is not for the faint of heart. The American campaign consists of missions such as the liberation of a POW camp, the invasion of the island of Peleliu, and an on-rails sequence onboard a PBY making a raid on a Japanese fleet.
Call of Duty has always been an immersive series. The combination of sound effects and high-end graphics make for an excellent gaming experience. World at War takes the series in a darker, more gruesome direction aimed at more mature players to depict the horrors of war while still keeping the game fun to play.
Heeding the Call
All in all, even people who aren’t fans of World War 2 games or find the subject matter boring or uninteresting will find something to enjoy in this installment’s gameplay and multiplayer features. While keeping with the tradition of being a WW2-based series, players view the war from a darker perspective than ever before, giving variety to an ever-abundant FPS genre. World at War should be more than worth the wait when it ships out this November.