Call of Duty: World at War First Look

We encounter a very different style of combat in the jungles of the Pacific with Treyarch's return to World War II.

Last year's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was more than just a great game. It took a series that made a name for itself under the rich tapestry of World War II and pushed it some 60 years into the future. The end result was a game that used the latest advances in weaponry, in a setting influenced by some of today's most tense conflicts, to produce an experience both stirring and refreshing. Since then, the big question on everyone's mind has been this: What will they do with the fifth Call of Duty? The answer, we know now, is a return to World War II. But rather than a step backward, Call of Duty: World at War is shaping up to be a unique take on this familiar timeline. With part of the campaign set in the often-overlooked Pacific theatre and plenty of inspiration drawn from Modern Warfare--both technical and creative--developer Treyarch is aiming to prove there's still life left in the World War II shooter.

Get ready for a darker narrative.

The most immediately apparent of the inspirations drawn from Modern Warfare is the mature, at times brutal form of storytelling. World at War begins with your character tied up in a hut on the beach of the Makin Atoll. A Japanese officer stands in front of you, demanding information from a fellow marine. An uncooperative spit to the face later, the officer puts his lit cigarette out on the face of this bound soldier and uses a knife to put a particularly bloody end to his suffering. But before you meet with a similar fate, backup arrives and you stage your escape. Pistol in hand, you're ready to begin World at War's first level.

After the first few minutes of fighting on the Makin beach, which offers some impressive visuals of exploding huts and moonlit ocean water, the squad of marines makes its way into the unknown of a nearby jungle. This is where the similarity to previous Call of Duty gains begins to wane. One of Treyarch's biggest areas of focus with the new Pacific setting is to portray the Imperial Japanese as soldiers very much unlike the Germans, the foils that have long served as the only enemies in the series. Rather than the obvious change in appearance and language, Treyarch has given the Japanese a starkly different set of tactics for you to deal with. Under the Bushido code, the Imperial Japanese fight with more of a focus on guerilla warfare. The first example of this is after your group has trekked through the dark jungle, past a collection of dead bodies. But in actuality, these Japanese soldiers are only pretending to be dead; they quickly pop up and attack your squad from behind. Another example of this take-no-prisoners tactical style in the first level includes Japanese snipers intentionally wounding a soldier so others come rushing to his aid, then taking out the group while they're distracted.

One of the tools you're given to combat these guerilla tactics is the use of fire-based weaponry, a trick displayed in the next level we were shown. Enemy soldiers often hide in the tall grass and dense foliage, even going so far as to climb up into trees for the perfect sniping opportunity. In this second level, the US marines are charging through more open terrain, this time during daylight hours. But despite the openness, patches of tall grass and palm trees dot the path to your goal. When your squad happens upon these areas of potential concern, you'll need to take a flame thrower and douse the greenery with blazing fire. Sometimes nothing is there, but occasionally you'll see charred enemies pop up from the grass, frantically waving and firing their guns with each last bit of life. Likewise, shooting fire at a tree might result in seeing a body fall from the branches, dangling from the rope he'd previously tied to his ankle as a safety harness.

Flamethrowers will play a big part in combat, with enemies frequently hiding in the grass.

Visually, this new form of weaponry really shows off some of the enhancements made to the impressive Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine being used in World at War. Modern Warfare's engine was already known for its beauty and brains under the hood, displaying stunning visuals while accurately rendering the effects of ballistics traveling through myriad surface materials. But now there's an element of environmental destruction added to the mix. When torching grass, you'll see the fire slowly chew away the lush vegetation as the ground blackens beneath it. The rope keeping a dead body tied to a tree can be shot away. Planks making up the walls of beachside huts can be sawed away with bullets. And to add to all of this, Treyarch has taken it upon itself to give you the ability to swim, producing even more physics-related trickery like ripples from grenade explosions and bullets refracting when they strike the surface of the water.

This overarching goal of creating an altogether different World War II experience will carry over into multiplayer, as World at War will introduce a series first with co-op play. You'll be able to team up with friends with four-player online or two-player local connections. Treyarch is focusing on a natural stepping up in difficulty to compensate for the additional number of players. More than just increasing the hit points of enemies, the developer is working on ways to increase the size of battles and quality of enemy AI to provide a more challenging experience for your team of four. One of the big concerns we came away with is how it'll handle the dramatic, scripted moments that have become a series hallmark. It seemed to us like the teammate out in front would trigger these cinematic moments (planes crashing into view, enemies bursting out from hiding, and the like), while those dawdling behind would lose out on the Hollywood action. Treyarch, for its part, says this is a big area of focus in its testing process and it aims to have a solution when the game is released.

Competitive multiplayer, meanwhile, looks to be a bit more familiar. The system of persistent leveling and character perks used in Modern Warfare has been borrowed and enhanced with a number of new upgrades, like a flak jacket that helps protect you from grenade blasts. But not everything is strictly influenced by Modern Warfare. New to this game will be a squad system (a smaller group within the normal team) where spawns are highly influenced by where your squadmates are and cooperation is encouraged through a squad-only waypoint system. Vehicles will also make a return, though not the swift motorcycles and jeeps seen in Call of Duty 3. This time around the vehicle focus is on heavy-duty machinery like tanks and trucks. If Treyarch is able to pull off forming a cohesive experience out of all these elements and influences, the multiplayer experience should be quite the competitive powerhouse.

The ability to swim invites new potential for multiplayer mayhem.

While many shooter fans are understandably burned out on the World War II setting, the Pacific theatre section of the storyline is looking like an intriguing invitation back to the 1940s thanks to a palpable feeling of tension provided by the new focus on guerilla tactics. And the fact that they've adopted the wildly popular perk system from Modern Warfare's multiplayer system certainly doesn't hurt, either. We're looking forward to seeing how the rest of the campaign compares with the Pacific half. You can expect to see details on that front shortly. Call of Duty: World at War is scheduled for release later this year.

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Discussion

894 comments
RogueAngel12
RogueAngel12

She's Beautiful looking. Just like COD4:MW.. Great action. Some ppl have made comments that the game is a little short. 2 or 4 more missions would have been great. But you really dont see that any more in game's. Developers putting in 15 missions or so like they use to do 7 -10 years ago. Any"Who'.. If your a COD fan. Buy It. You'll Love it. She's a Keeper...

OHSO
OHSO

Looking forward to returning to the WW2 era, can't understand why folks are "tired" of this time period, it was truly epic. I can't say I'm overly happy about the COD4 perk system, but I think thats only because I didn't like the multiplayer in said game. When, and I mean "WHEN", they come out with the next COD game it would be cool to see something in the future, perhaps even something involving space combat...imagine COD in Zero G!!!!

t3h-
t3h-

Just installing the game, though I have to admit that I was kinda annoyed at the WW2 setting, but I hope the darker narrative will make up for it. I actually finished Call of Duty 4, which is somewhat rare in my case, and I hope this game can hold my interest as long as well. Oh well... We'll see.

jordan_johnson
jordan_johnson

Just Pre-Ordered. Now all I have to do is wait 3 days... Well, more like 2 seeing as tommorow is the 10th and today it's already 4PM.

jackoo52
jackoo52

i hope it has fog in it playing in fog is mean and when people come out of it u crap yourself

jackoo52
jackoo52

y do we have to have another ww2 game they should have made it more modern but i still think it will be good

dollmaker1
dollmaker1

I am sick of world war 2 games.. we need something new.. Why didnt you make call of duty 5 insted?

mohamed_sherry
mohamed_sherry

Sounds promising. I like the ideas about guerrilla fighting. But I still think that fighting Germans is more fun. Anyways can't wait for its release :D .

JB2B
JB2B

I like it that the setting is more dark. War isn't a happy thing. Also WW2 was very very bloody, so should be WW2 games. The co-op is great. Hopefully I can convince a friend to get this one too.

grenadesaway
grenadesaway

Yeah, this is already ready to ship but man hearing about martyrdom I sure wish they'd exclude it, or at least change it so it actually has an 8 second timer on it -then you can actually grab at it and toss it, not 'I think I can make...blammmo', also the coop sure sounds fun and exciting, anyway, we'll see how mp does...maybe two months down all will go back to cod4, we'll see -definitely renting first though.

lonewolf1196
lonewolf1196

Hey why is everybody so bumed about the return to ww2? it sounds like they took the improvment over cod4 the classic gamplay the fun of destruction in battle from bad company put in the pacific some darker grittier and mabey scaier gamplay into the intese combat and gave it some upgrades. probly the best cod game!!! Heck mabey the worlds greatest game!!! ps i love ww2 and all cods exept 3

Bish0p101
Bish0p101

flame thrower, swimming and coop... AWESOME!!!

Ike_100
Ike_100

Hope next release is a Korean War setting.....Still, I going for the flamethrower and Pacific setting so I'll get it.

Gamespotes
Gamespotes

ok coop and flame throwers? bring it on!!!!!!!!

Gamespotes
Gamespotes

ok coop and flame throwers? bring it on!!!!!!!!

Mugo70
Mugo70

Are there going to be any driveable vehicles, like the Sherman, just like CoD3?

RicoSuave696
RicoSuave696

I knew it! can't wait for this game! Me and some friends were arguing over where the game takes place. dumb asses thought it took place in Vietnam, I'm the victor haha!

Bheelat
Bheelat

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Bheelat
Bheelat

i hope my rig can handle cod6, its gonna cry when i play cod5 haha

mgsplaya890
mgsplaya890

Well, I can't say that i am happy about going back to world war 2 but if you do your research, this game was in development a year before cod4 hit the shelves. I think treyarch will do a good job as long as cod6 goes back to modern.

rezpatriot
rezpatriot

I thought it might be a globe where you choose your fight with a cursor . Like a generals decision. Maybe not then. Tired of Germans dying??? are you kidding me. They sound so much better dying and attacking than asians.

rezpatriot
rezpatriot

I thought it might be a globe where you choose your fight with a cursor . Like a generals decision. Maybe not then. Tired of Germans dying??? are you kidding me. They sound so much better dying and attacking than asians.

Ike_100
Ike_100

Looks good.....the flamethrower's nice. I tired of Germans. Wish they'd make one for the PSP.

src248
src248

OMG. this isnt new. M.O.H pacific asult was japan. that game sucked, all the levels were the same.

KFrog
KFrog

My questions is as always, how long is the single player game going to be? I didn't get COD4 because all I read was that the single player was really short. I just can't see paying $60.00 for so little game play.

Zantozzzz
Zantozzzz

i really cant wait to get it.

coldjonathan
coldjonathan

i'm really not impressed by this. Maybe it's a nice idea, but COD4 set a benchmark, stepped AWAY from WW2 and focused brilliantly on the SAS- made a change from the irritating marines. I can just see this being a disappointment- i'm always disappointed by WW2 shooters... why not stick outside the box? COD4 was truly exceptional, something else entirely... And course, in terms of quality, Treyach's COD3 was a huge disappointment. Shoulda left Infinity Ward to it.

coldjonathan
coldjonathan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Berzi
Berzi

Back to WWII i see , but dont expect anything new nothing but a repeated idea in the pacific , MOH is better even if COD was popular

albert48501
albert48501

meh.. it might be good im going to try it if i dont like it i'll return it It seems ok COD4 made huge expectations I wonder if there will be a COD6

-Intellectual-
-Intellectual-

If the campaign is long then I'll buy it. Also killing imperial japs is cool.

Nicksta101
Nicksta101

I'll still buy this game, looks great. I've always like the WWII setting but, I was hoping for 'Nam. At least it's not sci-fi...

sniperboy_recon
sniperboy_recon

This game look alright even though its not Modern... I might buy this game over Brothers in Arms... maybe

owatanssiam
owatanssiam

I hope you're able to swim underwater and knife/frag ppl. like in Black Hawk Down. That would be cool!

JMUBrandon102
JMUBrandon102

I hope this No. 5's sp at least lasts longer than COD4's 5 hours...that was perhaps the biggest disappointment in COD4...

square_eyesA39
square_eyesA39

I guess they just wanted to show another side of World War 2, hope they have a Pearl Harbour level though

WizardAssassin7
WizardAssassin7

agree.... world war 2 is gettin tiresome. i like the cold war idea. or vietnam. something...

edt1400
edt1400

Finnaly the exiting part of WW2. This might make u piss on yur pants u know with all the ambushes, an imperial soldier shooting u frm behind , walking through a jungle not knowing wats in front or back of u, or the fact that the japaneese tactics is suicide, from kamikazee, or a crazy man poping up from a bush with a rifle trying to bayonnete you, or a samuria wannabe runnin towards u with a katana like in medal of honor rising sun. this is gunna be crazy

xialon
xialon

Reread it to refresh my memory. I have a feeling even with the new ideas that this game won't get editor's choice. No doubt I will buy it, but it won't be as good as the Infinity Ward versions of CoD.

LordNero
LordNero

omg do the cold war ! could even do a story of capt (then lt.) price during the cold war like they did in the flashback in cod4 (all ghillied up and one shot,one kill in act 2). how about f@!&*g falklands ! first gulf war ? spanish civil war ? ANYTHING!!!! swimming, vehicles and guerilla warfare sounds good though - but the surprise is ruined for us now

mgcrider08
mgcrider08

I realize it's yet another WW2 setting, but an emphasis on a different setting. Plus, if it plays as well as or better than COD4, I don't care what war it is talking about, I'll play it. I like the chance for co-op, also.

DoomZaW
DoomZaW

1 word : Unimpressed

liquidsnake_xx
liquidsnake_xx

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

liquidsnake_xx
liquidsnake_xx

ww2 ITS BEEN DONE!!!! no more cool weapons no more perstige no more rankings!!! Why would they make this stupid move!!! o well im not buying this chit!!

tomjd1979
tomjd1979

If the game runs as smooth as CoD 4, im in all the way. I am having doubts about the new squad system. The ability to spawn near one's squadmates seems a step in the wrong direction. Infiltration would be much simpler (but not necessarily easier).

xbox360progamer
xbox360progamer

i am so excited about this i hope that this is not all hype and bad play .. hopefully this one is just as good as cod4 . i love the storyline but it seems like all games are based around world war 2 scene which is a little bit ehhh lol.. but i dont know i cant wait..

sikatgames
sikatgames

the new cod has a very high expectations after cod 4 blew milloins away with its realistic missions, great graphics and brilliant online play, although from what i have seen so far cod world at war will live up to them ( even dare i say better )

ctburesch
ctburesch

I think this game is going to be just great. I am really looking to the destructible environments and the flamethrower. The vehicles have been soreley missed in COD4. COD4 was ok with the air strikes and helicopter, but I would rather own in a vehicle myself. The only thing they should change is the leveling system. I really hated it when a guy on my team was getting owned and he still gets achievement points. That is wrong. They should award the points on ability.

ninjatim
ninjatim

How people can say going to WWII is a step back from modern warfare is beyond me. All the COD games have been good in there own way, Modern warfare is a great game believe me and putting all the good stuff from COD 1+2+3 into the COD 4 engine sounds amazing. People shouldn't be disheartend about the WW2 genre, It will play great as do the others. Also the pacific theatre has never been done in COD before so it will be whole different game compared to previous COD titles. If multiplayer is only 80% of the quality of COD 4 it will be an instant classic. So in conclusion, If your a fan of COD then buy this game. HAVE FAITH, YOU'LL LOVE IT