Call of Duty: World at War

Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: World at War Cover
Platforms Xbox 360, Windows, Wii, PlayStation 3
Genre Pacific-based FPS
MtAMinutes to Action 4
Keep Playing? After everything else
Buy from Amazon

Call of Duty: World at War is the fifth Call of Duty game as the series once again, goes back to World War II. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was simply one of the most amazing games I've ever played, and I awarded it the first perfect score for a first hour review ever (I don't give numerical scores anymore, but I'll let you all know if I play one better). World at War was released in 2008 on all modern consoles and the PC and uses a modified version of the Modern Warfare engine. I will be playing the Windows version.

I was a bit disappointed to hear that Activision chose to set their latest during World War II, since the technology in Modern Warfare is part of what made the game so great. I wasn't planning to play the game, but I received a free copy with my graphics card, so how could I refuse to play at least the first hour of it? Of course, the multiplayer portion of the Call of Duty series is undoubtedly one of the more popular aspects, but I will be limiting my time to the single player campaign.

Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II. Let us hope there is never another one like it.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select Solo and the first hour of Call of Duty: World at War begins. I go with Regular difficulty. A globe appears, we zoom over it, first looking at Nazi-infested Europe and then quickly cutting over to Axis Japan. They're showing some Japanese war atrocities and Pearl Harbor footage in the style of 1940's era broadcasts.

01 - Roosevelt is giving his famous "will live in infamy" speech as we see more graphics of men going to war, tank productions, among other things. It's a pretty neat montage. Private Miller is in Japanese Occupied Territories.

02 - A narrator begins describing the situation - wait, is that Jack Bauer talking? I guess Miller is missing in action. "Semper Fi" level begins on Makin Atoll. Some Japanese soldiers are beating an American man, it's Private Pyle (Gomer?). He spits in his face, but then has a burning cigarette poked into his eye.

03 - It gets worst as his throat is slit. Roebuck appears just in time to save me, however, I'm looking from Miller's point of view. I get control, nice.

Call Of Duty World At War Japanese Cutscene

04 - I'm already in a firefight, the guns are slow and awkward, but the action is still pretty exciting.

05 - Just saw two men burn alive, I think I could have saved one of them if I had been quicker. That sucks.

07 - I grab a machine gun, this is much better. Jack Bauer continues to lead us through the village. No one's really putting up a fight, maybe I should have upped the difficulty?

08 - My new gun runs out of ammo so I grab another, but different machine gun. The grenade warning icons thankfully return, and now they kind of fade out when you're further away. Also, when you hover over someone, you not only see their name, but their "occupation," such as sniper or submachine gunner.

09 - We find a temple in the jungle, and one of our men runs up to it -- he doesn't make it though as he's yanked quickly into the air and then his head blows up. War is hell.

11 - Someone yells about a spotlight we should take out as we begin fighting on a beach. I die though and get a last look at the spotlight tower I'm supposed to take out. Thanks game, little touches like this really help.

Call Of Duty World At War Japanese Jungle

12 - Ammo seems kind of short in World at War, just ran out in all guns.

13 - We secure the beach and move on, but then we're ambushed by some sort of flashbang! Some Japanese soldiers were faking death on the ground and then sprung up to greet us, bastards.

16 - Some Japanese drive away on a truck, but before they leave, I slash a hole in their gasoline barrel in the back... this can't be good for them. Nope! They blow up spectacularly.

17 - Jack Bauer and Miller head a bit underground to plant some charges. I gotta back him up.

18 - Suddenly I'm dizzy and lose control. All I can do is look around as I'm dragged away by Mr. 24 himself. Well, I can shoot my pistol, all 16 shots worth.

19 - Guess I don't need them though, as the place blows up and we boat away.

Call Of Duty World At War Killed By Grenade

20 - Next mission, we need to take an airfield. Miller and Jack are known as "the old breed." They must have seen action in Europe? "Little Resistance" in White Beach.

21 - We're invading White Beach like it's Normandy, the cinematics you get to "participate" in sure are well crafted. You can look around at everything blowing up, my kind of movie.

22 - Ouch, and just like Saving Private Ryan, one of our guys gets his brain exposed. Our boat gets stuck on some coral and we have to swim out.

24 - I'm immediately allowed to start calling airstrikes, not like Modern Warfare where you had to wait until the 6th level! The beach is suddenly quiet after the airstrike, morbidly creepy.

25 - Ugh, now there's a bunch of legless Japanese soldiers struggling to crawl away, Bauer yells, "put them down!"

27 - A couple of flamethrower troops toast the machine gun bunkers, I'm told to fix my bayonet to my gun... but I don't know how to do that.

Call Of Duty World At War Flamethrower

28 - Some of the soldiers just run at you, banzai style with their bayonets straight out. They're easy targets though. One guy starts climbing a tree, but before I can figure out what he was up to, I kill him.

30 - I take that back, I just get skewered by one soldier popping out of the grass. Like in Modern Warfare, you can hit a button just in time like fighting the dogs to knock them back. I don't hit the button.

32 - Bauer and I are running through an underground trench trying to flank the enemy, but there's tons of them just running through trying to kill us! This is quite intense.

33 - I climb up into a machine gun station and start calling air strikes onto the incoming tanks. Then I hop onto the turrets and start blasting away the little guys.

36 - Oh no... our commander Sullivan got a bayonet through the stomach and was killed. Now it's up to Jack Bauer and me. Next mission, "Hard Landing."

37 - We're now wading through a swamp, still trying to make it to the airfield.

Call Of Duty World At War Banzai Charge

38 - Well, look at that! Another ambush! I get sliced, need to hit that 'V' key quicker.

39 - This time I stand a bit further away from the ambush blast, but I still eventually get killed.

42 - Made it past two more ambushes and into a gun fight. These Japanese soldiers just keep streaming out a building, how many are there?

45 - Two entrenched machine gunners, and the flamethrower soldier fails to smoke them out. Hey, it's my turn to try it! Awesome! It's no Javelin, but I'll take it.

46 - The flamethrower actually makes for a pretty fun regular weapon too, close range at least. Oh no! I accidentally dropped it... and it's gone.

48 - An Ally plane goes down right over our heads, we really need to take out that AA gun. Another ambush though, this time from the trees! One soldier is killed and just dangles from the branches.

Call Of Duty World At War Sherman Tanks

50 - Now I get a grenade launcher, okay, I'll take this too. Unlimited grenades make me happy, too. It actually does structural damage also.

52 - I pretty much single-handily clear out the building, and we move through it, closer to the airfield. We regroup and Jack Bauer tries to keep us motivated.

53 - The Sherman tanks move onto the airstrip, it's gotta be just about over now.

54 - It's an all out tank war! There's about six Sherman's and four Japanese!

55 - I found a bazooka, but I don't know which tanks to shoot! Dang, I only manage to take one out of three with my available ammo. Now what?

58 - Making my way through the trenches, I get nailed by a tank shell. Took long enough!

60 - Not taking out the tanks has really hindered my progress as the checkpoint puts me right between two tanks and a line of men that both shoot and banzai! Well, that's the end of the first hour of Call of Duty: World at War!

Call Of Duty World At War On Fire

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 4

What was awesome: The intense battles of Modern Warfare return, even if they're tailored a bit differently to fit the time period. We still have explosions going off all the time and soldiers screaming orders and information, but everything feels a bit different. It's not necessarily better or worse, but there seems to be a noticeable shift in gameplay and tactics.

I also loved being in Japan, I've never played a World War II game before that takes place in the Pacific Theater, so it was a great surprise to see that we won't be battling it out on the beaches of Normandy or through the war-torn streets of France. At least for the first hour that is...

What I liked: While I'll get to the WWII era weapons in a bit, the game does feature a nice set of heavy weapons for really tearing the enemy a new one. Just in the first hour of the game I got to use a flamethrower, grenade launcher, and bazooka, not to mention the variety of turrets set up. A good game knows how to keep the pacing at a high level: just let the player go crazy sometimes.

Call of Duty 5 is definitely one of the more violent first-person shooters I've ever played. I witnessed quite a bit of dismemberment and plenty of blood. It's a bit frightening to imagine soldiers of this war seeing all this first hand to people they knew and loved. Very intense experience.

What I didn't like: The guns take a lot of getting used to, if you're not really familiar with World War II games like I am. Coming from playing tons of Modern Warfare lately, it's a huge transition. Honestly I hope this is the last Call of Duty set in the 1940's as it has definitely worn its welcome. Every weapon is pretty inaccurate, so the gameplay has to pretend I'm shooting out of a shotgun every time I pull the trigger and knock down anything within the vicinity of my reticule.

Gameplay: The enemy A.I. seemed rather stupid, just standing around and taking hits while I ran around trying to shoot them with ancient weaponry. There were some moments of awe, but most of the time it was simply not challenging. I know I was playing on normal difficulty, but I didn't expect them to hand it me on a platter.

Fun Factor: The series' scripted events are still fun and well crafted. There's definitely a sense of danger around every corner with all the ambushes, but most of them are a joke when they're actually executed. But hey, it's always fun to blow up a tank.

Graphics and Sound: Using Kiefer Sutherland as a voice actor kind of removed me from the game a bit too much, but at least the high quality sound design is still ever-present. One of my highest praises of Call of Duty 4 was how you could almost play the game blind by how many audio clues on everything you were given. The jungle based settings also look rather impressive, honestly no complaints here, the engine's audio and visuals are simply top notch.

Story: Hey, it's Japan and not western Europe! I don't think I'm allowed to complain just because of that.

Would I keep playing? Maybe, I don't really boot into Windows often, so it's kind of a pain just to play the game... too bad it doesn't have better Wine support though. I did enjoy the game, but not enough to beat it in one night like I did with Modern Warfare. Sorry I kept comparing it to Call of Duty 4, but when you set the bar that high, well, you'd better continue hitting grand slams.

Call Of Duty World At War Nazi Zombie