Call of Duty: World at War First Look

While I've always enjoyed a good Call of Duty campaign, Infinity Ward's fourth entry really stood out for its wide variety of missions. Escaping a capsizing ship, sneaking through Chernobyl for a quick assassination, or hovering above the battlefield in an AC130 gunship--the game was constantly varying the environments and the scenarios, keeping things fresh in an otherwise stagnant format.

So the most encouraging thing I can say about Call of Duty: World at War is that, according to a Treyarch representative, this formula will continue in full. Though we're back in World War II, there will still be Ghillie Suit-style setpieces, in addition to two vastly different battlefields; players will control both a US marine in the Pacific theater and a Russian soldier on the Eastern Front. nope Four-player cooperative play on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC is a welcome addition, and for those preferring an offline experience, the console versions will support two-player split-screen play. Experience points earned in co-op will also carry over into the game's CoD 4-derived multiplayer mode, though a Treyarch rep mentioned that the team was well aware of the potential for XP exploits, assuring me that they were working to guard against them.

The single-player demo I got a look at was typical Call of Duty fare. Beginning in some kind of torture hut, a Japanese soldier hacked and slashed his way through numerous POWs, working toward the player's first-person head. Of course the player makes his escape, and proceeds to follow a squad of fellow marines through a jungle warzone.

Using the same engine as Call of Duty 4, World at War looked predictably sharp. Light beams shining through the dense jungle and other whiz-bang explosions were on display. Speaking of that jungle, the soldiers wore camouflage that seemed to blend in even better than Solid Snake, a nice touch.

As compared to the brutally short development period for Treyarch's Call of Duty 3, the team has had a full two-year development cycle to meet the new standard set by Infinity Ward's bestseller. Hopefully we'll get our hands on a more substantial portion of World at War come E3.

World at War is slated to arrive on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS this fall.

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