Last year's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" was one of the top games of 2007, selling over 10 million copies and appearing as a critic's pick for Game of the Year on many Web sites and in many publications. Though "Modern Warfare" was a 21st-century action game, the first three in the series took place during WWII, with players fighting through campaigns on the American, British and Russian sides of the war.
"Call of Duty: World at War" takes the series back to its roots in World War II and away from the urban combat and current events-driven environment of "COD: Modern Warfare." This time the Brits stay home with half of the game played as a U.S. soldier in the Pacific theater of war and the other half as a Russian soldier on the front lines of Eastern Europe. It's the first time the series steps into the Pacific and in classic COD fashion, it's breathtaking.
Aside from big action and challenging gameplay in the spirit of previous COD games, "World at War" never allows players to forget the historical significance of the battles the game recreates. In between levels, players are shown authentic and sometimes brutal video clips of the battles and atrocities of the period. The voice acting, always a strong point in COD games, is made even more powerful by "24" star Keifer Sutherland, who lends his talents as a sergeant on the American side of the game and narrator of the American campaign.
For those familiar with the series, little has changed in terms of mechanics and scope. The game feels a bit "smaller" than previous entries, but holds up the frantic pace of combat and the intense atmosphere that the series has become known for. The introduction of air strikes and a flame-thrower to the player's arsenal, add a little something special for those returning for another tour.
Considering the amount of WWII-based games that gamers have battled through in the last decade or so, it's hard to imagine that the genre has anything left to give. But "COD: World at War" manages to deliver an experience that's on par with any game in the period. Though "World at War" may not ultimately be as well received as last year's "Modern Combat," it is an experience any shooter fan will enjoy and any fan of the COD series needs to play.
"Call of Duty: World at War" is rated "M" for "Mature" and is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and Wii video game consoles, and Windows PCs.