Call of Duty: World at War, Wii and DS Review
Once again, I’ll be looking at both the Wii and DS versions of Call of Duty: World at War together while also showing the unique aspects for each platform.
Call of Duty: World at War is the follow-up to the very popular Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. CoD4 didn’t grace the Wii, but there was a DS version that was actually a lot of fun. World at War (WaW) is definitely not CoD4 which most people will find as a disappointment, but if you take the game by itself, it really isn’t that bad.
The game starts you off in the Pacific Theatre of WWII. You have to fight your way across various islands against the Japanese. WaW really tries to emphasize the brutality of war and you’ll notice this fact from the very first cutscene, which you find you and your friends being tortured in a small hut. Throughout the game you’ll witness some pretty crazy stuff from lighting guys on fire with flame-throwers and hearing their agony, to also fighting for your life in close-quarter combat, which earns the game an M rating versus the usual T rating. While the developers were criticized for revisiting the WWII setting again, WaW does offer all new campaigns and even some new gameplay mechanics.
The gameplay in the Wii version is quite similar to other first-person shooters on the console. Aiming is done with the Wii remote, while moving around is done with the nunchuk’s joystick. The Wii version adds motion controls such as throwing grenades, working with disarming bombs, and performing melee attacks. You can also throw grenades back that are thrown at you from enemies. There are also a lot more customization features for the controls, which is a nice change from the last Wii CoD, Call of Duty 3. You can make your aiming as sensitive as you want and also adjust the bounding box for more precise aiming (very handy for multiplayer).
Campaigns in the game are split into different chapters. Each chapter has checkpoints and saving is done when an objective is complete or a new checkpoint is reached. New abilities, such as calling in an air-strike, add some freshness to the game, and can make for some unexpected results. The campaign can also be played with a friend, but it’s not the typical splitscreen co-op. Each person has a crosshair on the screen of a different color and shoots as player 1 moves through the levels. Not the most fun and really feels like a tacked-on feature.
Graphically, World at War is quite honestly not worth having a nice TV. This game wouldn’t even look good on old-school TVs. Textures are pixelated and environments are unimpressive overall. There are some cool effects from the flame-thrower and executing air-strikes, but that’s really about it. If you’re going for a feast for your eyes, WaW will make you starve.
World at War for the Wii doesn’t feature any local multiplayer options, but you can connect online and play with friends or setup a random match. The online component features a ranking system whereby you gain experience points and can ‘level up’ so to speak, the more you play. Higher ranks get to use better weapons and employ more power ups such as releasing the hounds (Simpsons anyone? : ) ), or calling in air support. If you customize the controls exactly how you want it, you can be quite deadly when playing online.
Ever since Metroid Prime Hunters came out for the DS, people knew that the DS was capable of delivering quality FPS’s, even from 3rd parties. Last year’s release of CoD 4 for the DS saw a fully 3D FPS with huge environments and deep gameplay. This year’s CoD: World at War for the DS is no different, it delivers an experience that exceeds expectations.
The gameplay for WaW on the DS feels very fluid and is the product of observing what works and what doesn’t on the handheld. Aiming is done by using the stylus/touch screen, while movement is done with either the D-pad (for right-handers) or ABXY (for left-handers). You can also double tap ‘Down’ on the D-pad to crouch and double tap the screen to jump. If you’ve ever played Metroid Prime Hunters, you’ll feel right at home.
The real treat for the DS comes in the different ‘minigame challenges’ you have to complete in the levels. One of the most fun and difficult, was to disarm a land-mine. It wasn’t just a simple pull a pin with the stylus or scratch on the screen like a 5-second Warioware game. You actually had to open up the mine, disable the fuses, and take out all the explosives, without touching the inside edges of the mine. It’s like a very real version of Operation, except you blow up if you touch the edge. Another challenge where you use the stylus, is helping one of your wounded friends. You have to apply bandages over the wound, wrap it up, and even twist a stick around the bandages to make then stay tight. They’re really a lot of fun, and don’t feel gimmicky at all.
The graphics on the DS are pretty good for the platform. The frame rate is decent and the environments are well modeled and feature a lot of variety rather than just plain box-shaped rooms with different wall textures. All the effects for grenades, gunsmoke, and reloading are all in tact. World at War definitely shines on the DS.
Not only does WaW have a solid single-player offering, it has the multiplayer options to boot. You can do 4-player multi-card play, or 4-player online. There are lots of levels and guns to choose from and it’s a lot of fun for gaming on the go. While you need friend codes to link up with your buddies online, you can simply connect to a random match and start playing almost immediately.
World at War isn’t the best Call of Duty in the series for the Wii, but the DS version continues the good work of CoD4 with even more added bonuses. If you’re looking for a great DS shooter, look no further than World at War. If you’re looking for a good Wii shooter…well, you’re best bet is to buy Metroid Prime 3 and/or buy The Conduit when it arrives later this year.