A Gear Patrol favorite, CoD:WW Wages A Blitzkrieg On Our Free Time

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call-of-duty-world-at-war-in-depth-review.jpgHere at Gear Patrol, we are eminently qualified to opine on the best in men’s entertainment. Why so, you may ask? Primarily, it’s because we, ourselves, are men. We can empathize with the struggle to prioritize sensory assaults among thought-provoking reading, the latest in music and movies, and enjoying local arts. That said, it is the opinion of these humble editors that the right video game can deliver complete entertainment package: hours of challenging content, engrossing sound and visuals, and a sweet balm for your competitive streak. All this for one low, low price.

Here at GP headquarters, the one game that has won the battle for our hearts and minds over these long winter months is Call of Duty: World at War. Unless you don’t know which way is up on a controller (or what up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right means), you’ve more than likely heard of the much venerated Call of Duty series.

World at War is the latest (and, we dare say, greatest) entry in the franchise, and there’s never been a better time to enlist, even if you are new to first person shooters. We’ve ravenously played objectively tested both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions extensively and feel confident in saying that you’ll be more than happy with either format you choose.

Luckily, neither skimps on content and they feature comparable (read: awesome) performance in the A/V department. The multiplayer experience works well on both; with one of our editors giving the Playstation Network a slight edge over Xbox Live, simply by virtue of its being free. Cheap bastard (Eric: I resent that).

Hit the jump for multi-point coverage, or just skip to the end if you just want the tutelage of Gear Patrol’s own Patrick “Prestige” Tuttle.

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If you’re new to the CoD family, then World at War is an immersive, gritty, and downright gut-wrenching thriller. Nothing screams white-knuckle intensity like creeping through dense jungle fearing that kamikaze-Charlie could leap from a spider-hole and banzai charge at any moment.

The single player campaign is truly top notch. The voice acting is particularly superb, with Gary Oldman and Kiefer Sutherland doing great jobs as your respective Commanding Officers. The story gets a little disconnected in the middle, but since it’s historically based you’ll know the outcome before you get there. If you’ve played previous CoD games (Modern Warfare excluded), then the WWII era may be a little played out. I myself got a little tired of the old-school armament, especially in contrast to CoD4.

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The multiplayer experience is as spectacular and additive as it was in Modern Warfare. I find the maps to be large enough to encourage lots of movement but offering enough cover to avoid annoying snipers and campers. Personally, I love the addition of user-controllable tanks to the battlefield. They add an element that forces a team to work together, or risk getting demolished. The attack dogs add an interesting twist, as well. Not only do they want to eat your face off, but they lead the enemy right to you. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

The option to play the campaign over a multiplayer connection is a personal favorite. The competitive co-op mode is especially compelling; you’ll have to work together, but it forces everyone to push the pace. Brilliant.

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Without question, the WWII shooter genre is well-trodden ground. Yet, CoD:WW seems to have done it better than it’s predecessors. The campaign’s in-game action, as well as its high production value, super-slick cut scenes, offers a grisly portrayal of battles that were in no way glamorous. From the games-as-art department, we salute the developers for treating their subject matter with integrity and respect. We also salute them for casting Jack Bauer as bad-ass Corporal Roebuck. There’s just nothing like hearing everyone’s real American hero barking battle cries like, “We f*#@ing did it, Marines!”

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As great as the single player mode is, multiplayer is where World at War really sets the pace and offers nearly infinite replay value. My online experience (primarily over Xbox Live) has been virtually lag-free, and the clean interface makes choosing your preferred game type and finding a match completely idiot-proof. I think that one of CoD:WW’s strongest multiplayer aspects is that it appeals to a wide range of skill and experience levels. New players can choose from balanced, preset character classes, whereas deathmatch gurus can customize weapons and perks until they are blue in the face.

Like with every online shooter, you will encounter highly skilled players online who want nothing more than to make your face explode, but that hasn’t dampened my enjoyment of the experience, nor should it deter you. I’m a stat junkie, so I’m enomored with the ranking system, unlockable perks and weaponry, as well as the ability to link your history to the game’s website for online viewing.

One of the major complaints about the otherwise amazing CoD4: Modern Warfare was its lack of cooperative play options. Lucky for us, the anguished cries of fanboys everywhere have been heard, and World at War was shipped chock full of co-op goodness (further sealing your desire for a 1080p capable HDTV). The inclusion of both standard and competitive co-op modes has been much ballyhooed, and rightfully so. Both are available for play offline and online, with friends or through matchmaking.

My parting shot: don’t miss out on the pure nostalgic joy of gathering your buddies, establishing ample rations of beer, and blasting one another into smithereens in split-screen play. If you that thought staying up all night playing Goldeneye on your 32” Trinitron with your best friends was the pinnacle of your gaming life, then you owe it to yourself to replicate the scene on your (hopefully) massive HDTV. Put the kids/girlfriend/wife/neighbor to bed, turn the volume to 11, and set cuss mode to on.

Call of Duty: World At War Trailer (click here if you can’t see the video)

Prestige Tuttle’s Multiplayer Mantras:

  1. When the enemy has radar equipped, regroup with your squad. You’ll get picked off if you’re by yourself. In general, there’s always strength in numbers.
  2. Create custom classes for specific maps. You’ll find that most guns and perks work better on some maps than they do on others. For example, rapid firing, short range weapons are ideal on small maps, whereas you should utilize more accurate, ranged guns on more wide open maps.
  3. Keep moving. It’s just a matter of time until the other team will circle around behind you. Still, don’t go rushing around without looking. Oh, and check your baffles from time to time. Crazy Ivan, anyone?
  4. Stay out of the center of the map. Most maps have open centers where snipers will feed on your stupidity. You’re safer on the perimeter where there’s more cover and less chance of crossfire.
  5. Use a silencer on small crowed maps. It will help you stay invisible and rack up multiple kills in a row without being found. If you want to be a top player you’ll need to rack up kill steaks so you can take advantages of radar, mortar attacks, and, best of all, those damn dogs.

Multiplayer Trailer (click here if you can’t see the video)

Purchase Call of Duty: World At War $50