Call of Duty World at War: Nothing More Than a New Paint Job, But is that a Bad Thing?

When I heard Call of Duty was returning to its roots I was a tad shaken. WWII has been immortalized in the realm of video games, and Infinity Ward’s departure from the norm was what made Call of Duty 4 stand out. The forth iteration of Call of Duty was a gem, a multiplayer masterpiece. Its riveting single player was only surpassed by its impressive and enticing multiplayer. It took the franchise out of the past, and caught it up with modern conventions. Instead of living in the past, it began to shape the future. Thus, I was a little unnerved knowing that Call of Duty: World at War would return to the hands of Treyarch and the realm of WWII. Would they be able to build on Modern Warfare’s success?

At first glance, Treyarch seems to have answered that question with a resounding "yes." The game may have moved to the past in setting, but it’s a modern shooter. The customization and class structure of the past remains. In fact, nearly everything from the last game is still there. The game is a pleasure to play, but something just doesn’t sit right. It’s the same game.

Sure the enemies look different. Sure the weapons have new names. Sure Keifer Sutherland’s voice makes an appearance. There are a couple new perks, and there are now vehicles. Other than that, it’s basically just a new set of maps. The game truly captures the feel of Call of Duty 4; however, it seems to be unable to distinguish its own unique feel.

As a whole, one of the hardest jobs developers have is producing content for a series that can retain the flavor and style of play that series regulars came to love, while still innovating the franchise. If Treyarch had come in and totally reshaken everything, gamers everywhere would be up in arms claiming this wasn’t Call of Duty anymore. However, it seems they may have fallen into the other extreme and left too much of the past title.

Time will tell whether Treyarch made the right choice, as gamers will have the option to voice their opinions with their wallets this fall. The game will sell; there is no denying that, but will it be able to keep afloat among the dozens of quality releases? Call of Duty 4 excelled and shined above the rest, will World at War follow suit?

Check back later this week for our in-depth preview of World at War. Until then, let us know what you think of the beta on the forums. If you weren’t able to get a code, make sure to enter our giveaway here.

Author: John Laster