I’m not too sure what makes a WWII shooter good, but somehow, I’ve played both amazing and horrible games centered around that conflict. I’m going to do my best not to hash out all the old arguments of why we shouldn’t make them anymore. The fact that WWII game series have lasted longer than the actual conflict, the gun wank, the crazed gamers that want to kill as many pixelated people as possible. I want to talk about what makes them good, and hopefully, you can try to discover with me.
I ran through the normal mode of Call of Duty: World At War in roughly five hours. I do not hesitate to say that it is the best game in the entire series, unless you count the multiplayer. CoD4 is much better for the multiplayer as long as you mute everyone as you step in the door of the game room.
It isn’t about graphics for me at this point. Other than minor refinement, graphics are as good as they will get until we have three dimensional sex slaves, but even then I imagine we’d be back at banging polygon faces straight from N64. Think back to playing Goldeneye and you’ll get the idea.
It’s about the story and the game play. The only CoD game I didn’t finish was the third one because the story was non existent. We let CoD2 kinda get away with it, but at least you had a specific squad to follow around and connect with. When Brooklyn died, I almost screamed at the AI that he was from the Bronx while tears streamed from my eyes, making my PS2 controller that much harder to grip.
CoD:WaW brought two new things to the mix, which I’ve been wondering why it would take so long to get the hell out of France and into something a little less recognizable. I swear, I’ve never been to France, but I’m sure I could find my way around if necessary, as long as the bodies are still there.
Now, we get American Marines in the Pacific islands and Soviet forces taking Germany, both yet to be seen from CoD. The obligatory sniper mission was straight from the movie “Enemy at the Gates” but well done and with more action (I swear, snipers are the most boring people to center a movie around.) The airplane mission was a mix of gunning on both sides into a water rescue mission as your plane lands in the ocean to drag survivors on while you gun down Japanese boats and kamikaze pilots.
What I loved most about the sniper mission is that there was little in the way of sneaking, and more cover fire. I’ve always hated stealth in a video game, especially when it comes to the normal ‘bomb and shoot everything’ approach the rest of the game takes. In all honesty, I’d love to play a multiplayer game that dosen’t have a damn sniper rifle. While I recognize that it is a completely fair and noble job to have, those fifteen year old bastards playing rather than doing drugs and attempting to have awkward sex really piss me off.
The flying mission was really out of the blue. While there have been missions to attack a ship, there haven’t been any to my recollection of defending, and it was very well executed. I was nervous when playing.
As for the rest of the game, I think it depends on your preferred game setting. Do you like to run around in a jungle and kill people, our would you rather run around a bombed out city and do it? I much preferred the Soviet missions, especially the end mission, which was both maddening and riveting at the same time. The real difference I found this time around was the Marines were given flamethrowers for a few rounds, which makes flushing out tunnels and burning brush the enemy is hiding in a nice way to get around having bullets enter your body. Also, it’s a lot of fun to kill people with it.
Also, you have to get prepared for new strategies. The Soviet missions are very much the same as the last few games, but the Marines must contend with enemies you haven’t seen yet. Snipers in the trees, dudes that will immediately run up on you and stab you in the neck and tunnel rats are all new combatants you have to watch out for. There were quite a few maddening moments of trying to remember exactly which guy you needed to kill now, and which ones could wait a few seconds.
That’s about it. I didn’t play much of the multiplayer since I doubt anything can be as good as CoD4 is. Also, not a big fan of the weapons given to you in WW2 shooters. I like my upgradable sights and my M-4. Besides, I doubt the rooms would have any better a class of players than CoD4.
Final note, once you beat the game, the Nazis come back as zombies and you get a cool survival horror game. Stuck in a room, purchasing guns and seeing how long you can last.
So buy it. It’s cool, I enjoyed the hell out of it, and will probably go back and play more. Think of it this way, we could just be stuck with the Medal of Honor series.
P.S. Still waiting for a developer with balls to make game that lets me drop the atomic bombs. I don’t think that one would do too well in Japan though, but fuck it, I want to drop atomic bombs. I’m American, it’s my right.