Call of Duty: World at War set during World War 2 (WWII), however uses the same game engine used for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare [CoD 4]. World at War brings the mechanics that proved themselves in CoD 4 into the setting of World War 2 with much success.
If I had to describe this game in one word, it’d be ‘brutal’.
On a sidenote, I still find it amazing how World at War was released after Modern Warfare was. I was under the impression that it was the other way around till I checked the release dates.
Now the setting of World War II has been used many times in the past. So some of you may say “meh, been there..done that”, however upon the first few minutes of playing; you realize it may not be like your average and exhausted WWII shooter.
World at War focuses and is based on the some of the historic (and most important) battles of the war. These conflicts include: the ” Pacific Ocean theater”, the battle for Stalingrad, Battle for Berlin and Battle of Okinawa. As such, the major powers met in-game are: the Americans, Japanese, Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
During the game, you play as two main characters from the American army and Soviet Union. During the Pacific Theater/Pacific missions, you play as American solider named Private C. Miller led by Sergeant Sullivan. In later missions for the Pacific campaign, Miller is then led by Sergeant (formerly Corporal) Roebuck. For missions taking on the Eastern Front, you play as Soviet Union solider: Private Dimitri Petrenko led by Sergeant Viktor Reznov. There is a third playable character who is Petty Officer Locke. You only play as Locke during the solo campaign called ‘Black Cats’.
You mostly use the weapons from the WWII era, or from the first three Call of Duty games. Depending on your view. Even the melee attack feels lethal in this game (either knife or bayonet) as you counter the attack from a Japanese Banzi attack.
You even get to use the flamethrower! It was fun using the flamethrower, seeing how even the grass and trees become burned by the flames. Enemies will frantically try to pat their clothing or collapse into a smoldering and burning heap. So yes, it was interesting to see how things in-game reacted to the use of the flamethrower. It does get boring after a while since while it has “unlimited” ammo per say, it does have a cool-down period. I prefer getting a rifle and just sniping enemies out of trees. Or throwing a mortar bomb at enemies. That was fun to do even if it was a pain trying to get it to hit where a machine gunner was hiding. Actually now that I think about it, most of the weapons I used was either a rifle or submachine gun of a sort. If a rifle had a scope, you can be sure I was using that most of the time. I like to snipe.
I was not kidding when I said this game was brutal. The environments you fight in are equally brutal. Actually, even the plot itself felt quite brutal especially during the Eastern Front missions. Why? It focused heavily on the hatred and the sense of vengeance and not personal survival. Even a lot of the dialogue that Reznov says to you during the missions is filled with the need for revenge and hate.
Between the two campaigns that you play, the one involving the Red Army felt a lot more intense compared to the American one. It is much more fast paced and ends the game with a full-blown assault on the Reichstag, in the heart of Nazi Germany.
Some of the level design leaves something to be desired, but World at War does tell a very compelling story. I still find the easter egg (alien ray-gun) to be a very odd thing to include in the game, then again it is an easter egg. The idea of collecting ‘death cards’ which give you bonuses that can be used during the multiplayer was an interesting idea. I still find it odd how the two campaigns differed from each other so vastly. Although the Pacific campaign did have its own intense moments. It is a still a good game, I did enjoy myself for the most part due to the intensity of the game. However, certain levels were extremely frustrating due having constantly restarting a level. The last level of the game for example, it was brutal. I was at the last leg of the level, only to constantly die at the same spot. There were times I wanted to just rage-quit because of that. I did eventually finish the level but that was painful. Probably should had made more use of the molotov and grenades that I had.
Another thing that I think World at War did right was using real historical war footage during the cut scenes.