The fact that this is Treyarch’s first PC Call of Duty installment leaves me with no choice but to compare it to Infinity Ward’s work. Modern Warfare was a great game, for the most part, but there were a few issues; mainly the short single-player campaign. World at War delivers a much lengthier single-player portion but, at least to me, seems to be a step backwards. Basically, it plays just like the old installments. Your path through the campaigns is linear, the AI doesn’t do much to help, and it seems as if every battle hinges on some task that only you can complete. “Miller! Use the bombs to take out those anti-aircraft guns!”…..”Dimitri! Use that RPG!”…it’s the same old thing.
The strange part of single-player was that I found the Soviet campaign much more enjoyable than the American. The AI and set paths, among other things, seemed worse in the American campaign and the Soviet campaign just felt more polished. The large maps, dark environment, and almost constant chaos really put the Soviet campaign on top. I know that certainly wasn’t the objective, since most of the interviews leading up to the game’s release focused on the Pacific theater, that’s just how it came off to me.
World at War runs on an enhanced version of the Modern Warfare engine but the AI altogether was a mixed bag; friend or foe, I experienced flaws with each. The American campaign was where these issues really became prevalent. A good majority of the time teammates seemed useless. It honestly felt as if I was responsible for at least 80% of the enemies, which doesn’t seem like anything new if you’ve played the older titles in the series. Across the battle line, enemy intensity also seemed very mixed. For example, there were several parts in the American campaign where I could stand out in the open while reloading without getting hit. Other times though, I couldn’t find enough cover.
Single-player is better than your average game but the point I’m making is that I think it could have been better. The Soviet campaign was a good experience and certainly kept me entertained. I also enjoyed the new physics additions and the mix of weapons seems great. I just wouldn’t recommend purchasing this game if you don’t have an internet connection.
Much is forgiven with multiplayer. Modern Warfare’s multiplayer kept me busy for months and I still play it from time to time. World at War’s multiplayer is nearly identical, just with new maps, new weapons, enhancements, and new additions. In other words, it’s really fun. You have to start out as a private again but it all seems worth it after stepping foot on the new maps.
New multiplayer features include the Capture the Flag and War modes. There is also a co-op mode that is accessible in the single-player menu, but that doesn’t appear to be very popular, at least with the PC version. After completing the game and watching the credits, a zombie mode is also available as solo or co-op. Additionally, there are new perks, dogs can be called in, and don’t let me forget all of the new weapons.
The server you pick is vitally important to how enjoyable multiplayer is though. Unfortunately, World at War has “noob tubes”, which are probably one of the most hated things in Modern Warfare. It’s important to find a server that limits the usage of them, along with limits on artillery and dog usage. The last stand perk, called “second chance” in this game, is another thing that many find annoying. Recently, I was on a server and my team wasn’t doing well. The enemy was able to call in dogs constantly and it was like that until the round ended – very aggravating. Compare that to another “tactical” sever where running or walking was only allowed in open spaces for a few seconds; now that was a good time. The bottom line is that finding a good server, that runs with the options you prefer, is essential to having the most fun.
Multiplayer isn’t flawless though. Currently, there is an issue with the respawn points if you play in one of the modes that has respawning, such as deathmatch or team deathmatch. At many points during multiplayer I’ve had enemies spawn all around me and I’ve also spawned behind enemies. It’s definitely something that needs to be fixed with a patch. The other thing that I wished Treyarch would have changed for this game would be the ability to access create-a-class when you’re dead in a multiplayer mode such as Search and Destroy, and have nothing to do but watch the game.
As you would expect, World at War’s graphics are very nice. I would again argue that the Euro maps and environments look better, but Treyarch did a good job with each. It’s what you would expect a game to look like running on the Modern Warfare engine, and it’s fantastic. Everything is very realistic and I can’t say that I have any complains in this category.
Sound and music are also great for the most part. Music plays a good majority of the time and explosions, etc. are very similar to Modern Warfare. However, I am disappointed with the weapon sounds. They’re just too weak and it’s something I noticed immediately when I started playing the game.
Call of Duty World at War is a mixed game. The single-player didn’t really impress me, but was still enjoyable. Multiplayer is very similar to Modern Warfare, but with new additions, and can be very entertaining. As someone who’s played Day of Defeat (and the Source version) for a countless number of hours, I’d say it’s a great step up in World War II multiplayer. World at War almost reminds me of a mix between DoD and Red Orchestra. Treyarch certainly didn’t botch this title, though I wonder how it would be different if Infinity Ward was at the reigns. Don’t buy this game for the single-player, buy it for the multiplayer.