Call of Duty World at War

2008-12-07 21:54:08

Call of Duty:World at War(Xbox360)

Call of Duty, when I got the opportunity to play in the Xbox 360 Beta of 4 I was amazed, so much that despite owning several unbeaten titles, I would sit and waste hour upon hour playing its scant 3 map beta. I even hit the level caps before they relaxed them each time. When CoD4 was released I bought it the day it came out, I might have even pre-ordered it. It quickly proved itself to be the FPS of my dreams. Aside of course from some of its flaws. CoD:WaW takes us back to World War II, and proves to the world why Treyarch should never again be granted freedom to produce another Call of Duty product. Call of Duty World at War is like going to McDonald's for Steak, sure it's called "steak" but the person cooking it is a drooling mongoloid and the end result is the blandest piece of drywall you've bitten into.

After playing and beating CoD4 1000/1000 and prestiging through multiplayer multiple times, and having that game never get old; I slot this fecal formed disc into the slot of my trusty 360, expecting at least a similar if different experience. Hell Treyarch has been talking non-stop about how they expanded on CoD4's form and design to make the best WWII game ever. I know a lot of gamers who are tired of the WWII gameplay, and the main reason for that is that innovation has plateau'd in this market. WWII was cool the first 5 times we played it, maybe, but even then trends started to emerge, such as: Stalingrad, Battle of Norway, Paratrooping. WWII games never seem to grasp the subtleties of some of the other battles. As much as intense fighting on Omaha Beach, Stalingrad, and Midway might be, it's only amazing the first 3 times you do it, how about some other battles? there are a lot of battles that took place in the years between 1941-1945, so how about picking some more vague ones and dressing them up? So take the playerbases low enthusiasm with WWII, and marry that to failed promises by the Developer to have innovated, and you have a mountain of dogshit that nobody wants anything to do with.

The game starts you off in conflict with the Japanese, positioning you as a PoW being tortured by them, after they murder one of your comrades at close quarters you immediately realize that Treyarch understands the visceral violence of war. You are of course saved by your new squad, and you have to fight your way out of the camp. Sadly the heroics don't end there, you end up being saved 3 times in slow motion cinematic style in the in the first 15 minutes of gameplay. First it's the PoW scene, then right as you are about to escape you get stabbed by a Japanese soldier, finally it's when you come across a group of "dead" Japanese, which I decided to stab one just to be sure they were dead, and sure enough the one I stabbed gets up, a flare goes off blinding everyone, and they kill a vital team member, and this is a completely unstoppable event! it is really shitty how many times they rip control of the game from you to show you being saved by your team mates. Maybe this is to make up for the lack of game AI.

Game AI, is just as important as the guns you model, the graphics you push, and the maps you let us walk on. Without a good AI, your game falls apart, it's the glue that keeps the game together. unfortunately Treyarch confused the bottle of glue with a bottle of shit and just smeared it around all over the place. First the enemy AI. I played the game on Hardened, but from what I've heard from others the game is pretty similar on all fronts. Enemy AI is supposed to challenge you, however in a game that is at least trying to stay coherently tied to a realistic event that took place in world history, you would think that certain things would make more sense. Such as AI picking its targets. The AI picks its targets like this: If the AI sees you, YOU are the target, no matter what, if you are not visible, and are not in grenade range, then it will target the nearest GI. Problem with this is in reality, enemy soldiers should be picking off targets of opportunity, the AI should not take its amazingly overwhelming number of troops(say 15 soldiers hunkered in trenches) and focus their entire fire power on ME, they should also be shooting at my allies, in fact, they should be shooting the closest ally to them as that would likely be the target exhibiting the most risk to their life. Unless I was was packing a 30 cal MG and mowing them all down they shouldn't single me out of the crowd. Secondly, I am seriously amazed at the throwing arm of the enemy AI, it not only likes its grenades, but it is pinpoint accurate with them. I jump behind cover and depending on my difficulty setting I can expect anywhere from 1-7 grenades to all land precisely behind my cover right where I am often times just barely out of reach ensuring I can't even go and throw them back. These two things caused my time spend on single player to jump from the 3-4 hours of honest content in the game, to about 6-8 hours of gameplay. Thanks for the artificial boost you fuck sticks!

Friendly AI is no better, it commonly will walk right past an obvious enemy combatant to take its predetermined path behind cover, only to get gutted or blasted by the enemy. AI while fighting itself does detract from the difficulty of the game, should at least have the common sense to kill an enemy combatant that's within 2 feet of itself flanking the squad. I don't care if it makes the game easier, it's REALISTIC! The other horrible thing the Friendly AI does is it will often provide the player with a task, but then send him in lone wolf to do it. Thanks guys! Just like the real army does all the time right? just send a guy with a flamethrower on his back out to clear a path to a bunker, and then once there clear the entire Japanese army out of the hole and make it back in 1 piece you say? cake! The friendly AI is notorious for sending you in with no fire support what so ever and expecting you to singlehandedly win the conflict. I know I'm supposed to be a hero, but I don't have to be a god to enjoy the game!

All of those things make the single player a grueling experience. I'm not even sure I have the heart to even try Veteran on this game. Especially with bullshit experiences such as the Sniper scene in the Vendetta campaign. You're supposed to counter snipe a sniper in an apartment building, unfortunately he seems to have the knack for being able to pull off split second headshots while cartwheeling through the complex, and he also has x-ray vision. You can go to any gaming forum and you'll find threads all over the place about how hard he is to kill.

The infinite terrorist factory is at it again in WaW, except now they're wearing German and Japanese uniforms. Making you once again the only person who can walk forward through the battlefield to stop the flood of soldiers itching to kill you all dead. However this is not really too suprising when you consider that CoD4 did the same thing. The subtle difference being that the Terrorists often times would not have the considerable cover available to it that the enemy AI enjoys in WaW. upping the difficulty curve over and over again. This of course leads itself to creating a shit sandwich of bastard AI and infinite supply of bastards to fight making the game no fun.

Now that we've seen how bad they fucked up Single Play, let's dive bomb into multiplayer. I got to experience the multiplayer in Beta and to be honest not a lot changed from beta to full other than the closing of some glitches in the multiplayer maps. The multiplayer maps are both large and interesting and jumping into multiplayer the first time I felt instantly at home. Only problem is it's much like walking into the wrong home. At first it seems comfortable until you realize all the silverware and plates are in the wrong cabinets and the toothbrush you just used isn't yours. While the "feel" of multiplayer hasn't changed much, the weapons have. Lots of grenade options to choose from which is refreshing, except that none of them have that same explosive punch that they did in CoD4. Standard grenades pop like tiny fireworks you'd expect at a 4th of july stand. Bouncing Betties however work a LOT better than the claymores in that they are nearly invisible buried into the ground. no sniper rifles until you unlock the scopes on bolt actions is kind of a let down as accuracy and getting kills with bolt actions is incredibly more difficult than with any other weapon type. Usually the tradeoff with bolt action is more power and more accuracy, not so in this game, bolt actions feel like pop guns and are hard to line up headshots with. MP40 is the semi auto of the day, with almost everyone carrying one for easy cheap kills. The kill streaks benefit you the same as in CoD4 with the 3-5-7 kill structure. 3 for a recon plane(UAV in 4), 5 Artillery Shelling (like an extended version of air strike in 4) and 7 gets you attack dogs which spread out and kill everyone in sight. (a way more powerful version of the helicopter) The dogs are incredibly cheap in that they almost always hit, they are spread all over the map so they rack up huge numbers of kills, and they kill in 2 hits. So while you can kill the dogs, they are infinitely spawned until a timer runs out and they almost always bite you once before you can actually kill them and they travel in packs of 2 a lot of the time. Unlike the helicopter in 4 where sometimes the enemy team could take down a helicopter in seconds with a few well timed RPG's, not so in WaW where you just have to deal with the timer.

Tanks were included in the game with perks to go along with them, and often times unless the enemy team has a tank your team becomes the instant winner, as the anti tank grenades and bazookas don't work nearly as effectively and if the tank driver and gunner are good at their game, they will mow down anyone firing anti-tank ammo at them.

Leveling up was also retained in the game, but it's cookie cutter, they straight ported it from CoD4 but since camo skins on weapons would apparently be retarded they replaced the skinning with simple 100xp boosts for completing headshot objectives. This makes completing those objectives almost completely ungratifying. There should at least be a "golden gun" derivative for mastering all guns in a class like in CoD4, sure it was cheese, but at least it stood out.

Happily WaW added cooperative play in the single player campaign, even if they added some shitty bordering around the screens to maintain aspect ratio. It's better than none at all. Once again no splitscreen and online and no splitscreen system linked. Some things that could be easy to add that are ALWAYS neglected, but that's for another rant.

Reason Rank
Start 10
CoD4 Engine +6
Unstoppable Scripted Events -5
Weapons that lack power in an FPS -7
Multiplayer that is not balanced


Map designers that need to find other work


Nazi Zombie Mission that is innovative and fun


Laser guided Grenades


Terrible AI overall


WWII Game that doesn't innovate the genre




For all of the good this game brought to the table, for all the things that could've been, this game shits the bed all over itself, it's practically the SWAP.AVI of games. For those of you not familiar SWAP.AVI is a Porn video, however it like this game shits all over itself in every orifice. if it were possible to shit out of your eyeballs, this game would somehow do it. To be honest if the game cut everything out of the German side of the game, and kept only the Japanese conflict and the Zombie game, this game would have some merit. Also if they got real sound designers involved and made the weapons sound halfway like the real thing then it would also have a lot more character. Right now this is CoD4 buried in a bucket of horse shit chewed up and regurgitated and pressed into a plastic disc of worthlessness. Once I finish maxing out multiplayer so I can be 100% sure that the nugget of gold in the middle is only a piece of corn, then I'll be throwing this game back to the fishes and getting Brothers in Arms as those games seem to get the WWII experience done right!