Preview of Call of Duty: World At War

Call of Duty: World At War Box art

Call of Duty: World At War

by Rick Wallace

October 16, 2008

Many folks have showed concern over 2 major factors in the next installment of the Call of Duty series. The first would be that Treyarch is back at the reigns of the franchise, after Infinity Ward's huge success with COD 4. The second factor that many are concerned with is the fact that the franchise has stepped back into time going back to the WWII era once again. So do these folks that are concerned have reason to be concerned? Absolutely not. The multiplayer beta that is online right now for Call of Duty: World at War should eliminate everyone concerns mentioned and in fact they may just find a new love in the COD series.

Activision was gracious enough to provide our beta codes and allow us to check out the game first hand, so many thanks to them. If you preordered the game, or are lucky enough to have received a beta code through another source,  from the moment you start it up you'll quickly find that this game is basically Call of Duty 4 set in a World War II scenario. The game and menus, as well as the ranking and challenge system resemble COD 4 to the tee and you'll be accustomed to navigating the menus and the controls immediately.

The perk system is back with new WWII related perks and also COD 4 perks make a return such a juggernaut, stopping power and the ever so hated martyrdom. A new addition to the perk system is the inclusion of vehicle perks which can consist of things like faster turret rotation. Once again, you'll have 3 sets of perks to choose from. You'll have to pick and choose the perks that most fit your gameplay and soldier class of course. And you'll only get to choose one perk from each grouping. One interesting perk is the ability to revive teammates that are currently in last stand. You'll have to be close by when they go into last stand, and you'll basically inject them with a reviving medicine so they can continue on.

So lets talk about the graphics for a second. From the moment you fire up the first game you'll notice the graphics are absolutely outstanding. Treyarch has done an amazing job at not only capturing the World War II atmosphere, but has great detail in all the object around you including the character models. The maps are laid out very well, and you get 3 of them to play on during the beta. One of the most interesting aspect of the games graphics is the artillery strikes. When an artillery strike is earned, you'll be able to gaze off into the horizon and see the incoming shells taking off, shooting across the sky with smoke trails, and then ultimately landing on its position. Hopefully not your position.

When it comes to gameplay, if you are a COD4 fan then you'll love World at War online as well. You have the ability to once again create up to 5 different class soldiers. Add you favorite perks, weapons, attachments and away you go. The standard classes are included which consist of rifleman, light machine gunners, heavy machine gunners, sniper, and close combat. As stated, the gameplay is very similar to COD4 with a few twists thrown in. At 3 kills you'll earn your recon plane, which shows the enemy's location on radar. Nothing really different here. At 5 straight kills, you'll earn an artillery strike which bombards a designated area of the map with shells. The artillery strike seems more effective than the air strike in COD4 since it has a longer duration and a wider impact zone it seems. But the biggest twist is what you earn after seven straight kills without dying. In COD4 you earned a helicopter which was pretty devastating in itself, but in World at War you will earn attack dogs. These dogs are unleashed on the enemy and will seek out and kill all enemies across the map until all the dogs have been killed. One thing to remember, the enemies dogs are always dark colored while your own dogs are lighter colored and obviously not attacking you. The dogs are a great way of finding the enemy as well, since you can follow them to their destinations and finish folks off while they are trying to fend off the dogs.

In the beta, you are treated to 5 modes of play. War mode pits teams of up to six players against each other in a mission to control all the flags on the map. Team Deathmatch is just what it says it is. There is a Pickup Team Deathmatch which is the same as Team Deathmatch but does not allow parties. You have Free For All, which basically pits all players in the room against each other in a deathmatch. Capture the Flag is included in World at War and will be welcomed by many folks as this seems to be a game of choice among many first person shooter fans. All of the modes in the beta are for up to 12 players online. You'll also be treated to vehicles as well such as tanks, one of which you could test drive in the beta. The tanks are a beast thats for sure, but not indestructable by any means.

When it comes to sound, there really isn't a whole lot to talk about as you get pretty much what you would expect. You will be able to hear the enemy dogs coming and usually you hear your teammates crying like babies as they are ripped to shreds by the vicious German shepherds. The artillery in coming and the typical battle cries of the enemy are included and once again expected since they have been in pretty much every COD title to date.

There were some issues such as brief connection interruptions and a few spots that you seem to go under the map into a no mans land. I am sure both will be fixed by the time the final release hits shelves in November. And honestly the issues were very few and far between. The beta gives a very good perspective on what is coming in Call of Duty: World at War. You get a glimpse of all the unlockables and at what level they can be achieved. The final unlock occurs at Level 65 where you will obtain the Flamethrower. This weapon seems to intrigue me the most, but unfortunately it is not obtainable in the beta as the cap level is currently only 11 at the time of this article.

After spending several hours online with this game, I think its safe to say that Activision has another top title in the pipeline. The skepticism that surrounded Treyarch ability to deliver a quality title on the heels of COD4 should now be laid to rest. World at War in my opinion is a step up from COD4 and it should be interesting to see how Infinity Ward responds in COD6. Both companies should thrive off of each other's advancements from this point forward and the series should only get better and better, if thats at all possible. Do not short yourself a great experience and skip over this title in November. Even with the impending release of Gears of War 2, this title should not be overlooked by anyone that enjoys a good first person shooter, and honestly should be in every FPS fan's library without hesitation.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008


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