It has been nearly a year since Infinity Ward launched its smash hit that even Halo 3 has trouble keeping up with, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This game dramatically changed the Call of Duty franchise, raised the bar for wartime shooters and online multiplayer and even took and continues to hold the top spot of the Xbox Live leader boards. While Infinity Ward has already made a near-perfect game, it is now Treyarch’s turn to try and continue on with the success. We’ve played around with the Call of Duty: World at War beta and spotted some differences and similarities in the process.
Call of Duty 4 had an amazing single-player experience but the true glory and excitement was really in the multiplayer. People were a bit frightened when they heard Call of Duty: World at War would be returning to its World War II roots. “What’s going to happen to the perks?" They thought. "What about my UAV recon? What about my helicopters?!” But I can confidently say that Treyarch has successfully replaced and added upon these elements in a way that retains the WWII feel but at the same time offers the same gameplay and fun that Call of Duty 4 provided.
That being said, the core gameplay of Call of Duty: World at War is pretty much the same. Although, it’s tough to notice on first glance, but there are many things that Treyarch has improved from Call of Duty 4, most obviously the setting and art style. Another obvious change: new gameplay modes. Of course, we have our standard game types, but now we also have War, which is, if I were to describe it, a mix between Headquarters and Domination (from Call of Duty 4, but War was also featured in Call of Duty 3). In War, there are five set flags. Each team starts with two flags, and the flag in the middle of the map is up for grabs. Starting with the ‘middle flag,’ teams try to capture all five of the flags, one at a time. But once a team captures a flag, the other team can still retake it if they are good enough to fall back and capture their own flag first, which is now up for grabs.
We also have the self-explanatory Capture the Flag, but we are hoping there will be other new game types as well. But other then that, it seems like all of our favorite modes from Call of Duty 4 will be reintroduced, possibly with some type of hardcore mode like hardcore free-for-all.
Call of Duty: World at War features a very similar ranking system as its predecessor. We have our XP, we have our challenges, we have our weapon and perk unlocking and weapon attachment unlocking. But all of these have a bit of a tweak to them. For example, Treyarch has brought back our favorite weapons attachment (red-dot site, silencer), which they have changed a bit for the WWII feel; but they now also have new attachments such as the bipod, which increases weapon stability and accuracy, and the bayonet, which increases your knifing range with rifles. Another cool little edition is the After Action Report or the ‘AFF’, which is your prior game stats. After a game, a screen will pop-up saying how many kills you got that round, deaths, K/O spread, headshot, best spree, your ‘nemesis’ or rival that round, your match bonus, XP received, the XP needed to level up, and how many supports you called in (recon plane/artillery/dogs), plus how many kills the support (artillery/dogs) acquired. And you can bring this screen back up by simply hitting the ‘back’ button on your 360 controller.
The game also gives you a little bonus for prestige-ing. Unlike Call of Duty 4, which took away everything you owned and made you feel like a helpless ‘noob’ and in return gave you a neat little badge, this game unlocks a gamer-pic at the first level of prestige, and another at the tenth level. You can also unlock new create-a-class slots, reaching 10 slots by the highest prestige level. The game will also have achievements designed for the 360 version of the game on the 1st and 10th level of prestige, but they are 0 point achievements, so there really is no point in unlocking them for achievement whores like me.
Along with all of the changes we noted, there are other small details that Treyarch have improved upon. For example, knives are roughly a half a second slower to keep the gameplay balanced. You will not be awarded ‘camo’ for your guns by getting headshots. You now have the ability to choose your match search preferences, which is helpful for people who live outside the U.S. Another cool thing is that while playing, you can set up a squad for you and other members of your team. Whoever is in your squad will appear as a blue icon on your HUD instead of green, so you always know where your buddy is and can watch each other’s backs. Perks have also been modified to fit the WWII feel, but you still have all your favorite ones. Yes, even you juggernaught noobs out there! A perk that has been modified significantly is the ‘last stand’ perk now called ‘second chance’. You still drop down on your back and pull out your pistol like before, but now you stay in second chance for a longer time and other teammates who have the second chance perk on will now be able to revive you, Gears of War-style. And you’re not just sitting there waiting for someone cross your path by happenstance; other second chance holders are indicated about your dilemma on their map, and they can come to your aid. This is crucial for giving you another chance when you have 6 kills and are about to get dogs.
While many people have said that Call of Duty 5 is just Call of Duty 4 with a new paint job, they could be right. But it’s no ordinary paint job. This is like a Pimp My Ride level of a paint job. Treyarch has done a magnificent job improving upon the Call of Duty 4 elements while retaining a World War II feel. While I was scared about the return to the WWII era, I could not be happier with Treyarch’s work on the multiplayer of Call of Duty 5, and I am eagerly anticipating the release date of November 11th. Stay tuned for our review of Call of Duty 5 and keep checking back to TGR for all of your gaming new, reviews, and features.