Call of Duty: World at War was a game I actually opted out on for the first few months staying with Call of Duty 4 and it was only until some friends pressured me that I picked it. The story is split among two key areas of the Americans taking on the Japanese and the Russians against the Germans. It's an interesting split that works well between the two and while I remembered the campaign as fine, going back to it was a whole new story. I was very shocked when replaying the game in how perfect it captures the dark spirits of the war with gruesome scenes and crafty enemies.
It was certainly strange to face the Japanese as they would be everywhere; in the trees, under the ground and then they'd just charge you. After many years of straight forward enemies, the creativity of combat at display here was crazy. There were also so many iconic locations to visit with emotionally driven missions and this was great. The narrative will certainly hold forever with its historic take and the gameplay holds well. The game released in late 2008 on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC later becoming backwards compatible for Xbox One. It was developed by Treyarch and published by Activision being one of the few titles in the franchise to include cooperative play.
The world is truly brutal with environments that looked realistic and set pieces that were authentic to the war. It was also the last Call of Duty to fully support vehicles and really brought home that World War II feeling. The combat was also much more gruesome than the recent games featuring full gibbing and splats of blood everywhere. The multiplayer was built upon Modern Warfare's and while it wasn't anything new, this was still a fun area to play. It featured longer prestiging with slightly altered perks and weapons while adding Treyarch's distinct modes into the fold. This created less of a unique multiplayer and mostly just a refined one.
World at War was the birth place of the zombie mode giving us Nazi Zombies for the very first time. This was a last minute thing thrown as a side hidden area and it blew everyone away. It quickly became a main focus for the DLC packs and then a prominent mode in all the future Call of Duty games. This version brought us the classic and most replayable version of the zombies offering a purely survival area. I'll never forget the chills of the swamp Shi No Numa and the dark horror of Der Riese. The hidden songs were also beautiful from Elena Siegman and this was a magical portion of the game.
I had forgotten how intense Call of Duty: World at War was and will now remember the campaign as a much scarier experience than before. The way the Japanese attack with creativity hasn't been seen since and the German war sections were just ruthless. The story was bleak, filled with sorry and only a few minutes of happiness. The multiplayer wasn't too unique and more refined, yet still highly motivated by the intense yelling announcers. The final portion was the strong birth of zombies, a distinct mode from Treyarch titles and one that holds in all future CoD games. I enjoyed replaying WaW and it's worth revisiting if you haven't played it to remember the classic roots that Call of Duty came from.
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