Wii users found themselves left out of the Call of Duty 4 festivities last year, but their DS compatriots were able to take part in the fun with a portable Call of Duty version to call their own. This year, both Nintendo systems will be shown the love with the forthcoming sequel World at War. Activision was on hand during last week's Nintendo Fall Media Summit to show off both the Wii and DS versions of World at War. We took a spin through each one to get a feel for how World War II will be fought this year with the Wii remote and DS stylus.
Skeptics will be saddened to hear that the Wii version isn't the stripped-down port some might have been expecting. The entire campaign is the same as what you'll find on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game. Level layouts are maintained, you'll use the same weapons in combat, and the slick cutscenes that help progress the story between chapters are all there. The only key departure is a different take on co-op play; instead of four players playing together online, co-op on the Wii consists of a Squadmate mode where one player plays as normal while a second player is given a crosshair onscreen to chip in with his own gunfire (which feels quite a bit like a retro light gun arcade game).
World at War on the Wii will support online competitive multiplayer complete with the skill-building level and perk system the CoD name has become associated with, though there are a few areas where it's been scaled back. Whereas other versions of the game will see the return of Vehicles to the Call of Duty online experience, the Wii version will be lacking in this department.
Visually, World at War is easily one of the best-looking realistic games on the Wii. While a lot of developers seem to have abandoned realism in favor cartoonish visuals that don't force the Wii into an area that it doesn't necessarily excel in, Treyarch has done a commendable job porting the dense jungles and realistic fire effects that make up so much of the new Pacific theatre setting.
The DS version of World at War will rely heavily on the touch screen. With the stylus, you'll be using most of the screen to adjust your view, looking all around you as though you were using a mouse. You'll also have contextual buttons on the edge of the bottom screen that allow you to perform certain key actions, such as looking down the iron sights, jumping, and crouching. Movement is a simple matter of using either the D pad or the lettered face buttons depending on your handedness.
At this point, no release dates have been announced for the Nintendo-specific versions of Call of Duty: World at War. However, you can expect to see our reviews on both games before the year is out.