Treyarch’s latest installment brings what most hardcore gamers need to get them through the title drought on Wii and delivers one of the most brutal and satisfying experience from a first person shooter ever to hit the Wii this year.
The Call of Duty franchise is a mixed bag with two developers taking turns for each installment. Last year’s Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare by Infinity Ward gathered a large amount of praise for it’s departure from WWII and into the modern times. Now, with the series given to Treyarch, the series returns to WWII and brings with it the updated Call of Duty 4 engine incorporating the dramatic cinematic feel of that installment. With the series back in it’s roots, does the war bring a refresh of the series or does it remain in the past?.
Set in WWII, you play from two sides as either Private Miller of the United States Marine Corps battling the Japanese Army in the Pacific or Private Dimitri Petrenko of the Soviet Red Army advancing on Berlin against the German Nazi. As Miller, you are rescued by Corporal Roebuck, Sergeant Sullivan and other Members and become apart of Sullivan’s Unit taking on the Japanese Forces eventually ending up at the battle of Shuri Castle on Okinawa. On the other side however, Demitri also has a similar situation where his whole unit is wiped out and executed becoming the sole survivor. He is rescued by Sergeant Reznov who aids him in sniper-ring down General Amsel, the Nazi Commander. Years later, captured by the Nazi, Dimitri meets with Reznov yet again and is rescued by him and enters his unit eventually leading to the final confrontation at Berlin. Each mission is broken into segments where you’ll be playing one or the other then switching sides. This adds dramatic tension at each segment so that both sides play out at the same time. The only issue with this is that you won’t feel attached to any of the characters as all you’ll be doing is finding who to shoot next to continue. Overall the story can be completed in less than 8 hours of play on regular. This is further extended by Multi player options. Though the Core campaign is the same as the console version being a direct port over from the console version, the only gripe is that the entirety of the campaign didnt make it. Gone are most of the Vehicle missions and what’s there is a smaller version of the missions from the other next gen versions. The Missions which are there however are impressive as you’ll feel everything from the brutality of the enemies to the explosions from grenades around you. The only thing is that the missions don’t have the same impact as the missions in the previous game as you won’t see something like the Nuke from COD4.
The gameplay is retained from Call of Duty 4 and here is no exception. As with all first person shooters, you’ll be doing the same shoot and cover tactic for all the other games. Added to the arsenal this time is the flamethrower which does heavy damage to enemies setting them alight. Grenades are still as one hit kill as another and you’ll be using the same weapons as you’ve seen from other WWII games. Of course, the Wii is known for it’s control scheme and it’s potential for first person shooters. The controls in this game serve the game well but are nowhere the best. The game uses the Wii Remote IR for aiming and while this works most of the time, it becomes tight when trying to aim in scope mode and lags whenever you need precision aiming. Half the time you’ll just use the Z trigger on the Nunchuck to invoke the aim assist which locks onto enemies in an instant and firing. In essence that becomes more of a clutch for something that theoretically should have more accuracy than using a joystick to aim. Aside from the main campaign is the impressive multiplayer wifi modes. This allows players to play online over Nintendo WFC though aren’t as fully fledged as the next-gen versions missing CTF,Vehicle, Zombie and co-op play modes. What you have left though is well executed and is a good example of how online multiplayer should be done on the Wii. You get the typical death match, team death match which allows players to gain experience and levels through kills with custom classes and completing online challenges. The only issue is that it’s limited to 8 players max on a level which means playing 4 vs 4 on team matches.
Visually the game is impressive being pushed by a heavily modified COD4 Engine and this shows in it’s presentation. The game runs at 30fps and only takes a dip during large open fields with many soldiers. Some textures like grass are abit blurry and some models are jaggy but are put to good use given the hardware and the use of a altered next-gen engine. The CG intros to each mission mixing in with film footage does a good job at creating the dramatic environment.
I certainly hope that more production values are given to the Wii version and that developers either recreate the lead SKU with all content on the Wii or else recreate a ground up version for it and not just toss them to a side developer. Trayarch has done a number of Nintendo titles in the past and it really shows the experience they have with the hardware here. You won’t get the same effects as the next-gen versions but you’ll still see chunks fly off soldiers as you shoot them.
The music is wonderfully orchestrated and the sounds of gunfire to the screams of enemies is done well. The dialogue is as expected but you’ll probably forget most of it and get right into the action.
Call of Duty World at War is a great title that many should pick up. While it doesn’t have the best controls or outstanding visuals, it does set a standard for what multiplayer should be like. Overall it is definitely worth your time..until Infinity Ward kicks in with the next game.
Story – 6.5
Gameplay – 7.0
Video – 8.0
Audio – 8.5
Overall – 8.2