It doesn’t seem possible to read an article, review or have a conversation about Call of Duty: World at War without it being compared to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and with good reason. Infinity Wards Call Of Duty 4 is an absolute masterpiece. Both the campaign and the online multiplayer are of the highest quality and I know I’m not alone in thinking that COD4 is one of the greatest games of all time.  Treyarch have alot to live up to in their latest offering COD:WAW.

I must admit I was disappointed when I found out that COD:WAW was, like the first three Call Of Duty games, going to be set in WWII, when COD4, set in the present day against fictional but realistic terrorist threats had received such a positive response. COD:WAW focuses on the closing battles of WWII in the Pacific and Eastern Europe against Japanese soldiers as well as German.  The story is told through two campaigns following the United States and Soviet Union with the Americans battling the Japanese in the Pacific and the Russians advancing on Berlin.

The campaign begins with you taking on the role of Private Miller of the US Marine Corps and you’re not in the best of situations, captured by the Japanese you watch helplessly as in an extremely grisly scene your squad-mate is beaten and executed. As your captors turn their attention to you, rescue arrives in the form of your commanding officer Corporal Roebuck (voiced excellently by 24’s Kiefer Sutherland) and other Marine Raiders. But the Japanese aren’t going to make it easy for your troop to leave the area, as they advance upon your position you’re forced to fight your way out. The range of weapons is as pleasing in COD:WAW as in any of the previous titles, from the good old Thompson smg to the deadly Ariska Bayonet which replaces your knife when meleeing.  Whether you prefer to run and gun or stealthily hold back there’s plenty of choice for all styles of players, and every now and then, to satisfy the virtual pyromaniac in us all, the chance to play with a pretty awesome flamethrower, not one of those silly novelty types that many games usually feature either, this flamethrower feels as realistic as one would imagine a flamethrower to feel and instead of just being a bit of fun it’s a more than useful piece of weaponry.

Your mission as Private Dimitri Petrenko of the Red Army sees you following your injured commanding officer, Sergeant Reznov (voiced by the legendary Gary Oldman) through German infested streets, taking cover in a building as the enemy torch, throw grenades and spray bullets into it as if you two were the only opposition of the whole war. In true Call of Duty style paying precise attention to orders will ensure you survive the carnage, ignoring Reznov will only get you killed. As different as the Americans and Russians are so are the Japanese and Germans. The Germans seem tame and predictable when compared to the Japanese who will lay in wait in the grass and trees, only springing up as you approach and then charge at you with a blood curdling scream. As with the dogs in COD4 timing is everything. You need lightning fast reflexes to survive an encounter with an enraged Banzai solider and a strong stomach to watch what happens if you do. Yes it’s violent but it’s not like these scenes were fabricated from a dark twisted mind, some of the most disturbing images are actual footage of real people during WWII.

One thing every COD fan will need to know is if the multiplayer is any good. COD4 is one game that combines a superb campaign with a diverse multi player and COD:WAW manages to do the same. There will be COD4 loyalists who will disagree but COD:WAW’s multiplayer easily matches the quality and experience of it’s predecessor. The weapons may be older and less powerful but with things like tanks to aid you and a kill streak of 7 granting you a pack of dogs that rampage through the map for one minute it’s no less fun and there’s something very satisfying about seeing your score go up from one of your pooches making a kill while you seemingly do nothing.  Many of the perks remain the same, unfortunately the infuriating Martyrdom is one of those, but there are a few differences just to keep it historically accurate.  For those who believe certain perks to be cheating even though they are part of the game the Juggernaut perk is still available, get over it!