The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Previous World War II games have tackled the Pacific Theater, but each sustained mortal injuries in the process. Despite this theater's great opportunity for unique tropical gameplay environments, naval skirmishes, and enemies with unique attack strategies, no one has captured the spirit of the American retaliation to Pearl Harbor in a way that resonated well with gamers. Treyarch employs a scorched earth policy with Call of Duty: World at War, and the result is decidedly more favorable.
The thrill of using a flamethrower to burn out an enemy hidden in a tree, the wonder of fighting a sea battle from the gunner seat of a PBY Catalina, and the scare of seeing Japanese soldiers rise unexpectedly from the grass and charge at you with bayonets are each new experiences that you could not find in the beaten dead horse of the European Theater. These short bursts of genuine gameplay make the rest of the game - basically a steady dose of rehashed greatest hits missions from previous Medal of Honor and Call of Duty games - all the more disappointing. Across the Pacific and European Theaters, players will feel like they're having flashbacks as they land on a heavily fortified beach, fend off attack dogs, clear trenches, undergo an against-the-odds sniper mission with a compatriot, storm the Nazi headquarters, and man a tank (the World War II equivalent to the obligatory Hoth level in Star Wars games). These missions so deliberately try to cash in on COD's previous successes that they stand in stark contrast to and diminish the sense of wonder of the new experiences.
The campaign receives a boost with the well-implemented four-player co-op mode. Much like Rainbow Six Vegas, four friends fight alongside one another for a vast majority of the campaign (the solo sniper and PBY missions are excluded for obvious reasons) and compete for the high score by racking up kills and reviving buddies after they fall prey to banzai attacks. As a bonus, the experience points you earn by completing missions filter into your overall multiplayer rank. To up the replay value further, World At War also includes Death Card collectibles in the levels. Finding them unlocks cheats that alter the co-op campaign in creative ways, such as letting you revive teammates by shooting them or turning *** into the evermore scary Nazi zombies.
World At War's multiplayer largely preserves the brilliant ''level up to unlock new weapons and perks'' structure of Call of Duty 4, while making the necessary adjustments to retrofit the experience with World War II-appropriate weaponry. Three- and five-kill streaks still award players with a recon plane to spot enemy troops and artillery strikes. Rack up seven kills and you can unleash a pack of attack dogs on enemies, which is a great diversionary tactic that will earn your team easy kills. Watching a hapless enemy try to fend off a rabid dog is one of the highlights of the year. The multiplayer includes several well-designed maps that reward teams for working together and keep the fights centralized. A few maps also add tanks to the mix, but these metal jalopies move so slowly they are basically fodder for bazookas and they don't improve the gameplay in any meaningful way. Treyarch also added the popular War gameplay mode from COD 3, in which teams vie for control points to rack up points.
Following a title as massively successful as Call of Duty 4 is no short order. World at War finally gives us a reason to visit the Pacific Theater with its fun cooperative and multiplayer modes. But the ''been there, done that'' single-player missions and overall derivative tone keep this very good game from achieving the greatness of its predecessor.
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Call of Duty: World at War rewards you in the best possible way, with the ability to sic a pack of rabid dogs upon your enemies. Call it morbidly appalling if you must, but I really got a kick out of watching my kill count climb as I sat back and let my hungry canines do all the work. From the periodic mauling to the sensational cooperative campaign, Treyarch does a phenomenal job of breathing new life into the stagnant World War II setting. This game also reaps all of the rewards you would expect from the Call of Duty 4 engine: satisfying weapon play, awe-inspiring level architecture, and an extensive leveling/perk system for multiplayer. The majority of the multiplayer maps are towering successes, as they provoke intimate battles and allow players to bring any weapon into the fray. A few sadly embrace the annoying design of ''you could be attacked from any angle!'' philosophy that always makes for sloppy matches. Other than featuring the voice of Jack Bauer, the story is mostly forgettable, but it does deliver a consistent stream of teeth-gritting awesomeness in almost every battle. Is this game as good as Call of Duty 4? No, but it is in the same league, and is a great game to hold you over until Infinity Ward returns with Call of Duty 5.