Call of Duty: World at War - multiplayer hands-on

An overwhelming majority of online gamers still can’t get enough of Modern Warfare’s broadband bliss, and having recently emerged from a World at War multiplayer hands-on, we’re proud to say that Call of Duty has lost nothing by returning to the World War II well. It’s fast. It’s beautiful. It’s simple yet challenging, and tight as hell, while miraculously deep. And during the hours we spent with the game we witnessed CoD veterans shouting for joy, and n00bs being converted within minutes.

Okay, using the Modern Warfare engine is a great start, but how exactly does Treyarch follow Infinity Ward’s immaculate multiplayer act from last year? By exercising the ancient “Rule of MORE.” Observe:

US and German weapons are a given, but please take some time to enjoy the expertly crafted artillery brought to you by the Russians and Japanese. And in case you haven’t heard by now, keep your eye out for the Flamethrower. While it can also be used to lay waste to enemies and environments (also available in “MORE!”), graphically melting an online opponent with one provides a euphoric level of satisfaction - somewhere between a prolonged shotgun blast to the face and a humiliating knife kill - and is accompanied by a brutal Raiders of the Lost Ark screaming skin-melt. Prediction: This is going to get used a lot.

Want to humble your aggressors even further? As one of life’s simplest pleasures, there isn’t much that can top the feeling you get from of knifing someone unaware... that is until the bayonet. The Japanese gun attachment is controlled just like the knife, but the close-quarters act itself is much more gruesome than just about any other weapon south of the might Flamethrower.

Few things compare to watching an explosive you’ve just thrown lift an opponent in the air and back to his spawn point. So, thank the stars and heavens for many of the new selectable primary grenades such as Molotov Cocktails, Tabun nerve-gas, and signal flares.

Above: Down at the Roundhouse

Obviously, CoD4 players have yet to see World at Wars ‘40’s flavored maps, but you can expect to see some classic WWII settings in addition to fresh crumbling metropolises of Eastern Europe and pitiless jungles of the Pacific. They come in the variety of Small, Big, and F**king Huge. The Japanese maps are a particularly welcome visual addition, as sprinting through cherry blossom trees and junky beach lean-tos are something next-geners haven’t done before.

Above: Tanks have been given a secondary gunner position. Team!