Multiplayer is split between adversarial (deathmatch etc) and co-operative play. Co-op, although not as popular as the versus multiplayer right now is a solid experience. Finding a game is easy enough and once you’re hooked up there’s plenty of fun to be had. Our favourite has to be the competitive mode that allows you and friends to battle over a number of levels racking up high scores. Providing you don’t end up with a bunch of jerks who spend their whole time nabbing the best weapons, you’ll be able to sink just as much time into this as the main single player. The ace card World At War has up its sleeve is the Nacht der Untoten mode that allows you and your buddies to defend a creepy house against waves of Nazi zombies. Yes, it’s a bit silly next to the oh-so-serious setting of the main campaign (in fact, we think it’s a little insensitive) but after hours of blissful zombie-dismembering we’re glad the mode is there. And you will be too.
However, the thing you’ll be logging on to long after everything else is the versus multiplayer, which is – as you’d expect – very much the same as it was in Modern Warfare. One concern many had before the game was released is that die-hard CoD4 fans would be reluctant to migrate over to World At War. Well, for now at least, these fears should be swept away. Servers are always busy (especially if you want to play popular modes like Headquarters, Sabotage and regular team deathmatch), and maps are mostly simple enough to allow new-comers a fair shot at the guys who have already ploughed hours into multiplayer, learning every level inside out.
Having said that, genuine Call of Duty virgins will find it tough to make headway in the multiplayer as all the skills learned in previous CoDs are very, very transferable. We’re no slouches with a rifle, but we had our asses handed to us time and time again for the first couple of hours. And there’s only so much angry Keifer Sutherland voiceover (he voices Sergeant Roebuck in the main game, and is therefore the chap who barks orders at you in multiplayer) you can take before getting a little upset. Some of the unbalanced Perks certainly don’t help - the attack dogs spring instantly to mind - and the fact that powerful short-range weapons like the trench gun and double barreled shotgun feel extremely underpowered is frustrating.
Newbies will be pleased to hear you can level up your online profile by blasting through the co-op multiplayer as well as the versus, so if you’re struggling to hold your own, it’s best to hunt a few zombies or sorch the odd Banzai warrior with friends before heading back in with the big boys.
All in all World at War delivers. It isn’t a revolution in Call of Duty gaming, but neither is it a step backwards, like some have claimed. Right now, it’s the best WWII shooter we’ve played, largely because it’s got a solid (if unoriginal) single player, some spectacular multiplayer, and oh yeah: because it’s brutal as hell.
Nov 11, 2008