First Person Shooters haven’t always been the best on the DS given the hardware limitations but we’re seen a few arising from the pool of new games. In comes, Call of Duty World at War, the latest incarnation from developer N-Space known for the previous Call of Duty DS title and the newest iteration brings many of the same core mechanics and engine that made the previous title so good. Set in the overdone WWII, does the game freshen what already is served in other games or is it already too stale?
The game is back in World War II and with it comes the same old tried and true formula that we’ve all come to expect from a Word War II shooter. You take on the role in 3 factions. The US, British and Russian solders as they each reclaim and conquer over the Japanese Army and the Nazi’s. The plot isn’t very integral to the experience and you’ll soon find that you’ll mostly be diving head first into gunfire without much care about the overall story. What story there is doesn’t really work itself into the game anyway as most segments and interludes are told via on screen text on the top screen and throwing the player straight into the action. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but we’d love to see more of the quality of the console version’s campaign mode make it’s way into the DS but what already is there is done well. I mean, who really needs a reason to be firing at Nazi’s?. The Gameplay is executed extremely well with alot of the same core design from the last iteration making it’s way into this one. You’ll have a smooth first person shooter that only drops in framerate in a few areas but the underlying core is very well done. Moving is all done via the D-pad while shooting is done by using the touch screen and the shoulder buttons to shoot. Some features are also improved with a single tap of the upper part of the touch screen bringing up sight aim and the guns are now more balanced than before requiring fewer shots to kill. It’s a very streamline experience that works itself well into the overall experience. However, as with the power of the DS, you’ll find some parts where the enemy AI is still pretty clunky as they’ll stand shooting nothing while you mow them down one by one. Utilizing the features of the DS, there are also small minigames here and there with Morse code and healing downed allies. The Morse code is more of a timing minigame while the healing bits feel like a rendition of cooking mama.
Visually, the game is impressive with clear 3D environments and models. It does look abit grainy but it’s normally accepted due to the limitations of the graphic power of the DS but it works. You’ll see impressive battles with bombers and tank missions that requires blowing up houses and soldiers. All the environments are also well done with the temple of the Japanese and the lush environments of the jungle and chaotic Berlin. Guns are also very well modeled with actual 3D aim lock using the 3D gun rather than a static 2d image. It really makes the guns feel realistic.
Also up to scratch is the Audio. Music is very well done with the ambiance of going through caves and ramping up for more intensive moments. The Voices however sound scratchy and probably could use a better sample rate.
The game also includes multiplayer both online and local for 4 players with team modes, CTF and death match options. though 4 players is very lacking, what it has is very well implemented. There are also titles and collectibles scattered around the missions for players to collect but most likely players won’t ever get around to them.
The return to WWII is a good one but the concept is aging and I hope the next series will take this to another setting. The gameplay plays well but the random minigames still need refinement and the sound quality is abit lacking. Online play is a start but very limited compared to the console counterparts. With other ds titles being able to support up to 8 players, I hope we’ll see more players on multiplayer. Overall the game is a good step up from the previous entry but there are still areas to improve.