World At War is nothing particularly new, but it retains many good qualities
Call of Duty: World At War returns to WW2 as opposed to it's predecessor, to mostly positive results. World At War presents a darker, grittier tone than past games in the series, as well as including a theater of war never used before in a COD game, and a multiplayer mode that is more of the same, and a new Zombie survival mode.
World At War kicks off the campaign with you playing as Pvt. Miller, being held captive in a Japanese camp on the island of Makin Atoll, where him and his teammates have been at the mercy if the Imperial Japanese for weeks. Miller is soon rescued by Marines who have made landfall on the island, and fight their way to an extraction point to get off the island.
For the rest of the gritty American campaign, it takes the player to battlefields like Peleliu and Okinawa. This is a setting that WW2-set Call of Duty games (and really 90% of WW2 titles) have never gone before, and it does make a positive difference.
In contrast, there is also a typical European Theatre setting, putting the player into the perspective of Pvt. Dimitri Petrenko, in the Red Army. This part of the campaign has the player in the midst of Russia's push into the heart of Nazi Germany -- Berlin.
The Russian campaign is a bit more predictable than it's counterpart here. By this point, we are all used to the German AI due to past Call of Duty games, and the general concept has become well-worn by now. It is no less gritty than the American campaign, but this doesn't change the fact that it can be a bit boring from time to time simply because this specific setting has been used so much in the past. This is not to say that it's a BAD setting....it has it's fun moments, it just feels very worn out.
However, this part of the game does introduce the most memorable character in World At War, Captain Viktor Reznov. He is loud, relentless, merciless, and seems to have an unnatural love for death.
The gameplay is generally identical to Modern Warfare. Luckily, the controls are still smooth and flow very well. The gunplay is still fun, and the visuals use the same engine has the previous game. This is not necessarily a bad thing....the game looks quite good. It still runs at a steady framerate, and the voice acting is still well done. The soundtrack is probably the best in the series yet, matching the themes and tones of the game very well, with oriental-based soundtracks dominating the American campaign, while the Russian campaign has it's own fitting counterpart.
The multiplayer is so-so. It is a very similar experience to that of Modern Warfare, using a similar perk and ranking system and features six different multiplayer modes, including team deathmatch and capture the flag. There are a group of three "killstreak rewards" that can be used to turn the tide of battle. The killstreak rewards include a recon plane, showing opposing players on the mini-map, an artillery strike upon an area, and attack dogs, which spawn and attack opposing players, which come with 3, 5, and 7 kills, respectively.
World At War also features a co-op campaign mode, a first for the series, although it does have one less mission than the single-player mode.
Lastly, there is Nazi Zombies. That's right. You and up to three other players can participate in a match against endless waves of increasingly difficult undead Nazis. As the player(s) kill zombies, they get points that can be used to repair barriers, buy new weapons or more ammo, or unlock additional areas of the map. This new mode is pretty quirky, but can still be a lot of fun. The tense atmosphere adds a level of stress to the experience, and every defeat adds a greater feeling of determination. It can be somewhat addictive, and even though it can feel repetitive after awhile. It's appeal does wear off after a time, so the replay value to this mode is moderate. Regardless, it is still a fun mode to play around with....especially if you have some buddies.
Call of Duty: World At War is certainly not the best game in the series. It's Russian campaign feels very "been there, done that," and it's multiplayer feels like more of the same. However, despite feeling pretty similar to Modern Warfare, the multiplayer still holds up well. The gritty American campaign adds a bit of life to the otherwise worn-out single-player mode. Additionally, Nazi Zombies is a fun tense experience that certainly shows promise, but in it's current state, does not hold up for very long.
+ The American campaign is dark and gritty
+ Multiplayer is still fun
+ Good soundtrack that fits well into the settings
+ The addition of a co-op campaign is a good plus
+ Zombies mode is enjoyable......
- ....but Zombies doesn't have a lasting appeal in its current state
- The Russian campaign feels worn-out and unnecessary