Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a triumph, sweeping awards and top reviews in 2007. Developed by Inifinity Ward, owned by Activision Blizzard and including a number of people who worked on Medal of Honour: Allied Assault, the game brought the long-standing Call of Duty series up-to-date by focusing on subjects such as terrorism and nuclear threats.
When it’s follow-up was announced to be taking proceedings back to WWII, a lot of people were unhappy, many wanted to see Modern Warfare 2 (which they will later this year), but instead Activision in their wisdom decided to hand over development of Call of Duty 5 (which became World at War) to fellow company Treyarch, who made Call of Duty 3, a title which wasn’t well receieved by fans of the series, as well as several other mediocre titles such as the Quantum of Solace game.
When you pick up the game, you can immediately see the influence Infinity’s title had on WAW’s development, at times you feel like you could be playing the same game, though obviously, that’s the point. Others have gone into more detail than me, but I did notice that sadly the game falls short of the mark in a few key areas.
The AI in the single player campaign forces you to take point at pretty much every opportunity in order to force them to do anything, and often only covers you after you’ve cleared out an enemy bunker, their weapons trained on a blank section of wall. Another issue is movement, though generally little different from COD4, you find yourself sticking on walls and debris on the floor at the most inoppertune moments and shout in frustration as enemy soldiers cut you down.
In multiplayer things fare somewhat better, the inclusion of vehicles is a bonus and an ingenious, if irritating, turn to swap the helicopter of COD4 for a pack of dogs causes endless entertainment, if you get that big a streak. The levels though are quite blocky, and too often you find players exploiting cover to camp, which isn’t such good fun.
Treyarch have clearly done their best with the title, but you can’t help but wonder how different the game might of been if the order they were released in was reversed. If you had to make a straight choice between which to buy, unless you have a wild passion for WWII, it’s Modern Warfare every time.