Status: Single-player campaign complete
Most Intriguing Idea: Hey guys, there were WWII theaters other than Europe! Guys?
Best Design Decision: Wonderful level intros.
Worst Design Decision: Before-and-after conflict structure.
World at War was viewed as something of a disappointment after the red-hot excitement of the first Modern Warfare installment, but since I played it right after the execrable Medal of Honor: Warfighter it seems like a blissful revelation. The games share the characteristic of a chopped-up narrative, but World at War‘s linear timeline makes the game much easier to follow. Additionally, it has some really stylish level-intro videos blending stark graphics with old newsreels to great effect.
One disappointment with the narrative was that the stories skipped over too much time and didn’t really have anything to do with one another, except on the most basic thematic level. While I enjoyed the Soviet story just fine, and it had much better characters than the Pacific campaign, it really needed to cover something other than Stalingrad (Kursk?) in Russia. Instead, we skip from a desperate sniper mission in Stalingrad to the breaking of the Seelow line. A mission in between these points would not have gone amiss. The Pacific campaign has an intermediate mission like this but it too could have done with a few more missions, if only because I liked the variety in terrain.
As far as mechanics go, I thought the guns had relatively good feel and although they weren’t exactly tight the stance changes and gun mounting worked reasonably well. The vehicle sections were a bit goofy (especially the tank one) but served as a nice change of pace without gumming the game up.
Nothing about World at War is amazing, but it’s a competently executed and occasionally exciting linear shooter.
Verdict: Cautiously recommended