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April 27, 2009 | by  | in Games | [ssba]

COD 5: World at War = Brutality &#178

bru·tal·i·ty noun: The state or quality of being ruthless, cruel, harsh, or unrelenting.

To say that CoD5 was brutal would be the understatement of the century. It makes Rambo 4 look like a brawl outside Shooters on a Saturday night. The CoD series, as our attentive readers will know, is my favourite FPS series. The incredible 1, 2 and 4 were produced by Infinity Ward and the mediocre 3 was produced by Treyarch. Thus it was with trepidation that I picked up World at War, produced by Treyarch, for a play.

After a few hours of play, I started to realise that this version of the series was a shitload more violent and brutal than any of the others. I am pretty sure the producers at Treyarch were so insecure about the fact that CoD3 sucked that they decided to create a game that was so full of gore it didn’t matter if the gameplay was crap. Fortunately, although flawed, this game is a worthy entry into the CoD family.

World at War moves away from the modern warfare of CoD4 and takes us back to WW2. It focuses predominantly on the Pacific Theatre and the Eastern Front (near the end of the war), two major parts of the war which have been largely left untouched by the previous titles of the series. The Pacific campaign mainly focuses on the American war with Japan, including the Battle of Okinawa. Historically significant and well presented in the game, it’s definitely a highlight of the game experience. The Eastern Front includes a sniper mission in Stalingrad and the Soviet push to the Reichstag near the end of the war.

The squad-based warfare of the previous titles remains, although I generally didn’t feel as emotionally attached to my squad as I had in previous titles. To be honest though, there is nothing as good as charging some German position with a hundred of your commie buddies and laying the smack down.

The game has both significant strengths and weaknesses. The graphics, as we have come to expect from this series, are superb, but no great improvement on CoD4. The jungles and islands of the Pacific campaign are presented beautifully. The sound effects are once again top notch, with the sounds of brutal deaths and bayoneting boxes being the highlights. The addition of industrial metal in most battles however wasn’t appreciated (or historically accurate).

It has some great moments, including a great tank mission and a flying mission (which includes kamikazes). The battles at times feel epic, and the introduction of the flamethrower brings a new dimension to the more guerrilla nature of the Pacific campaign. Treyarch has managed to retain the feel of the previous titles, but hasn’t really cut out a niche for itself. The game suffers from many different issues, including poor AI, frustrating checkpoint placement and bordering on absurd brutality.

The artificial intelligence featured in the game seems to have been built by a first year computer science student (you know I love you guys), due to the fact that I doubt the Japanese had any difficulty recognising an enemy when they were standing right in front of them. They also tend to go on crazy banzai runs across large amounts of terrain, following you when you don’t even realise. I am pretty sure they would have used their guns before a suicidal attack was considered. Finally, after the poor bastard has run after you for five minutes, he tries to bayonet you. This can however be easily countered (as with the dog attacks in CoD4). The game generally tries to patch up this AI issue by spawning so many enemies that you get owned anyway.

Checkpoints in games only work well if they are placed in optimal places, generally after fucking difficult battles. In CoD5, on a high difficulty setting, there are a lot of such battles. Alas, the checkpoints are few and far between (to be honest though I have always been a quick-save whore). I generally would like to get a reward for dispatching 30, albeit stupid, enemies. Many frustrating times were spent on the game, attempting Rambo runs (turns out they generally don’t work). The game definitely rewards the player for intelligent, slow movements and flanking.

As stated before, the game is definitely more brutal than the previous titles. Body parts and copious amounts of blood are good, but sometimes the game borders on stupidity. In a five-minute period, I had killed 20 with a flamethrower, used a rocket launcher on their corpses and then finished off by destroying another 20 enemies with an anti-aircraft gun. You can see how this game beats Rambo for brutality.

CoD5: World at War is a decent game which does the franchise proud. It retains the feel of the previous games and portrays the Pacific campaign admirably. It has beautiful graphics and sound. It however suffers from poor AI, bad checkpoint placement and brutality bordering on stupidity.

Final word: Relive the brutality of WW2 for a fraction of the price.



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