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Author Topic: Call of Duty: World at War - Review  (Read 12171 times)
Azazel
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Posts: 7369


on: January 16, 2009, 07:41:12 am

While I picked this up more or less on release, Iím really only getting to play it now. Hence this review is being written in January 2009.

Onto the game!
The story is.. well, you're a soldier. American and Russian at different times, and you have to kill Germans and Japanese. Because they're bad guys and really the story is the same as every other WW2 FPS shooter, ever. So we'll skip that.

Peripheral stuff, like loading intro screens and such are very well done, though the audio on mine suffers from some pretty bad stuttering, even after I upgraded my NVIDIA drivers. But while the presentation and such is excellent, pretty much on a par with CoD4, the problems with the game are the same, and even exacerbated. Lots of sudden "oh...  you dead now" moments that require you to die the first time so you can know what to avoid the second time.

My squadmates seem to have taken a step back from useful and competent as in previous CoD games and are back to being decoration, and in many levels the enemies only seem to shoot at me (except for the occasional 1-shot kill on my decorative squadmates. And I'm only playing on the second difficulty setting.

While itís an overused term, the game does have consolitis in that the emphasis is SO much more on the action rather than the playing Ė firefights are non-stop and frankly, a little too intense. As you simply canít avoid being shot (not shot at), because they all go for YOU. As mentioned above, most of the time your vision is impaired by the ďbloody visionĒ that the game uses in lieu of a wound meter/HP bar. You sprinting to the checkpoints is once again more important than actually fighting your way through, thanks to the endlessly-respawning enemies, who make attempting to fight your way through an exercise in futility anyway. Itís all about sprint-while-being-wounded towards the next gold star on your map.

In the inevitable 3rd-person view tank level, youíre once again at the helm of a T-34, and itís much like previous CoD games where youíve been at the helm of a T-34, (and maybe some MoH instalments as well). Except this time, thereís huge clouds of dust. All the time. All the time because your tank is constantly being pounded by enemy armour, panzershreks, bunkers, 88mm artillery. Your fellow Soviet tanks disappear without a trace pretty quickly, so again you have so solo the whole lot. Through the dust. Of course, this is helped by the fact that just like when you duck behind a wall as an infantryman, your tank regenerates itís, erm, ďhealthĒ whenever itís not getting the shit shot out of it. This allows you to take out at least a platoon of Tigers, and probably PzIVs as well. (Hard to make out their profiles through all the dust, you see.)

I really enjoyed CoD4, despite many of the same or similar flaws, but that may have been largely in light of the modern setting. This feels even more scripted, and at the same time both less realistic and less arcadey-fun. As it is, and despite both the annoyances and the great visuals, I feel very much like Iíve played this exact game before. Many times.
I mean, Iíve definitely assaulted the Reichstag building and planted the Soviet banner on the roof there before. And though itís definitely prettier this time around, itís not any more fun, partly because Iíve already done this, but mostly due to the endless rain of homing bullets and respawning Nazis.

Another annoying aspect of the consolitis are the ďdeath cardsĒ, scattered around in hidden places in the SP mode to unlock cheats in co-op. Theyíre this yearís version of the Laptops in CoD4. In a game that discourages ďexplorationĒ by virtue of endless-respawn enemies, rush-to-checkpoint gameplay, and large areas made up of pretty much identical debris/jungle/etc, itís a very weak attempt to extend the gameís longevity. This is especially so as their unlocks are overwhelmingly just more ways to increase the gameís difficulty with only a couple of ďfunĒ ones. I mean, even if I cared about them it wouldnít be hard to play through the individual levels again with a walkthrough, but I have no urge to do so.

Parts of the SP campaign are reasonable fun. The Soviet campaign I enjoyed a lot more than the US Pacific  campaign, which is probably due to preferring the urban battlefronts over the jungle ones where you canít see the enemy, and the German Stahlheim helmets being a more distinctive target to shoot at than the Japanese. The best parts of the US campaign for me were the first section of the Aircraft-gunner sequences, (ďBlack CatsĒ) and the levels where you operate a flamethrower in the jungle, though those still suffered from not being able to see a damn thing due to ďbloody visionĒ, flames and dustínídirt everywhere. The Soviet missions were I suppose blander but more solid.

Multiplayer seems to be pretty much exactly the same as CoD4, only with dogs and recon planes instead of attack choppers and UAVs. I got sick of the spammy combat and loudly stupid playerbase after one round. I enjoyed CoD4ís MP for awhile, but eventually got bored with it. As Iím still bored with CoD4 MP and this is exactly the same, I was sick of it about 5 minutes after firing it up for the first time. To be fair though, if you still enjoy CoD4 MP, then youíll likely enjoy this iterationís MP.

Overall, itís like CoD4. Itís not a great game. Itís a cinematic experience that you play through. But itís WW2, again. And Iíve already done all this. Iíve played this. I liked CoD4 a lot more as it was a fresh take. This feels like a mash-up rehash of CoD4 and every other CoD/MoH youíve already played. Beyond that it doesnít make me want to play more every time I take a break, and the best FPS games do that. Instead I had to make myself play it through to the end to unlock the Zombie-Mode carrot. Zombie mode looks good on paper, and the combination of wanting to try it and wanting to finish this review was pretty much the main reason I made myself slog through and finish the campaign.

Once I unlocked that carrot I found that it was pretty fun. In SP zombie mode you can see that itíd be an awful lot of fun with 4 pals and voice chat (hmmÖ sound like another recent Zombie-themed game?). Nonetheless I tried it online, and found that there were unfortunately not too many games going, and more importantly, the calibre of players in it is pretty much the same as the random idiots in CoD4/5 MP, or your average trade channel discussion in World of Warcraft. Still, itís a simple but worthwhile addition to the game.

Itís a solid rental. If you love the CoD-style multiplayer and youíd rather use WW2-era weapons than modern ones for a change itíd be worth the purchase. The SP mode/campaign is like CoD4: Worth playing through, but not necessarily worth buying or owning.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2009, 01:19:04 am by schild »

http://azazelx.wordpress.com/ - My Miniatures and Hobby Blog.
Xilren's Twin
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Posts: 1616


Reply #1 on: January 19, 2009, 07:13:37 pm

I wonder if it would be worth exploring how for many younger gamers, say 8-18, games like this seem to fill the exact same niche as playing a MMORPG does.  I know my kids are constantly playing online with their friends and "leveling up" to unlock new guns/perks/maps/modes (which is roughly analogus to class levels and loot), and in the same way that the bulk of combat in a game like wow doesnt matter (it's not memorable or even that enjoyable), if pressed what the kids admit to enjoying is purely the social aspects of playing with and against their friends, and the epeen metagame stuff (why are you using that gun/perk combo? juggernaut what kind of noob are you?).  And just like mmorpgs, it doest seem to matter how skilled/not skilled you are as a player.  Put enought time in, and you too can max out.

I do enjoy playing Nazi Zombie mode sometimes.  The rest of the time, pass.

"..but I'm by no means normal." - Schild
SnakeCharmer
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Reply #2 on: January 20, 2009, 08:46:14 am

Great review.  I had toyed with the idea of buying it since there is no denying the love I have for CoD4.  That said, I'm not looking for a CoD4 reskin.  And your review pretty much solidifies my decision to put the proverbial box back on the shelf.

Ookii
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Reply #3 on: January 20, 2009, 11:51:12 am

The game is great to fill that CoD4 void in your life, just rent it and play through it.  There's no reason to buy it.

cmlancas
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Reply #4 on: January 25, 2009, 07:50:24 am

Azazel's review is spot on and Ookii is right, just rent it; I regretted buying it.

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Azazel
Contributor
Posts: 7369


Reply #5 on: January 25, 2009, 11:38:50 am

Yeah, I have to say the same on that last part. I've bought all the CoD installments on PC and this is the first one I've regretted buying.


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Roentgen
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Reply #6 on: February 01, 2009, 04:07:58 pm

Well, I personally don't really care about single player when it comes to CoD.  I finished both CoD 4 once and W@W once and that's it.  The multiplayer, while on the surface may seem very very similar, is way better in W@W.  The maps are larger, the gameplay slower.  Less "okay I'll spawn a machine gunner this ti... FUCK DEAD.  Okay, now i'll try a Thompson.. fuck dead."  I tried going back to CoD 4 multiplayer and couldn't do it.

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Engels
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Reply #7 on: February 02, 2009, 10:59:58 am

I've been playing a lot of CoD4 multiplayer, and its ALL about the server you get on. If you get into a standard server with 40 or so people, your description is accurate. However, I have found a custom map server with custom rules that does Sabotage missions exclusively, actually using voice chat, and it really turns into a 'thinking mans' game where tactics actually do matter. Lot of patiently waiting for someone to stumble into your cleverly plotted trap.

I've heard that CoD5 isn't quite there on multiplayer, despite nicer and larger default maps, but for reasons noone has been able to articulate the problem, so I have stayed away from it.

I should get back to nature, too.  You know, like going to a shop for groceries instead of the computer.  Maybe a condo in the woods that doesn't even have a health club or restaurant attached.  Buy a car with only two cup holders or something.

-Signe
schild
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Reply #8 on: February 02, 2009, 11:19:26 am

I've heard that CoD5 isn't quite there on multiplayer, despite nicer and larger default maps, but for reasons noone has been able to articulate the problem, so I have stayed away from it.

Anyone who takes Call of Duty seriously doesn't play the Treyarch releases.
Roentgen
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Reply #9 on: February 02, 2009, 04:00:31 pm

OMG I guess I'm not in the cultural elite that take their CoD seriously.   awesome, for real

The internet is a place where men are men, women are men, and little boys are the FBI.
schild
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Reply #10 on: February 02, 2009, 04:03:48 pm

OMG I guess I'm not in the cultural elite that take their CoD seriously.   awesome, for real
It's not about being part of the "cultural elite" it's just that Infinity Ward has made vastly superior games up until CoD5, which was only a little bit more inferior to an Infinity Ward title. The lack of players is simply residual, by the next one they'll probably do better work and things will tip over more equally. Also, they need to get with the whole "modern" thing, or even a near future. Or even dystopian. Man, that'd be nice.
Roentgen
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Reply #11 on: February 02, 2009, 05:40:25 pm

I just fail to see how CoD 4 is superior to 5 in any way other than time period.  That's completely subjective anyway.

The internet is a place where men are men, women are men, and little boys are the FBI.
Engels
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Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 08:35:51 am

Overhearing convos from CoD4 players on voice chat, the verdict seems to be that somehow its just not quite as fun. It somehow lacks the je-ne-sais-quoi that CoD4 has. There are niggling details regarding very esoteric mutlplayer FPS gameplay that creep up, but on the whole, its somehow just not as spontaneously fun a game.

I should get back to nature, too.  You know, like going to a shop for groceries instead of the computer.  Maybe a condo in the woods that doesn't even have a health club or restaurant attached.  Buy a car with only two cup holders or something.

-Signe
Roentgen
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Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 02:27:20 pm

Yeah, I guess I could see that if you like mile-a-minute frag fests.  I'm not putting that down, either.  Going back to 4, I could not stand the map designs.  I really did like Creek, though.  I guess I don't like the urban combat.  You know, city streets with 99% closed doors.

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Ookii
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Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 03:56:34 pm

Are you the same guy who said the actor who played the TV version of the joker was better than Heath Ledger?

Roentgen
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Reply #15 on: February 04, 2009, 03:58:24 pm

um... no.

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Darniaq
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Reply #16 on: February 28, 2009, 05:21:05 pm

I just fail to see how CoD 4 is superior to 5 in any way other than time period.  That's completely subjective anyway.
It is totally subjective. But over a year after COD4 launched, they have 4-5 times as many active servers up as COD5 does, and the latter's numbers have been decreasing. Maybe it's people being invested in 4. Or maybe there is something to the feel of Modern Warefare that 5 doesn't match. 5 is a solid game, but in my opinion, the source material for 4 allows for a more spontaneity in combat, quicker switch-ups in weapons, generally just more punchy. Weapon variety itself seems comparable at least, and some of the 5 maps are really very interesting.

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Strazos
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Reply #17 on: February 28, 2009, 08:28:53 pm

I hate the choppers; I liked the dogs more, they were more "fair."

Also, I disliked all the automatic weapons on CoD4 MP - encouraged too much spray-and-pray.

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