I haven't been so emotionally moved by a game since the first Medal of Honor
. Throughout the single player campaign of Call of Duty: World at War
, you will first step into the boots of Private Miller, as he is rescued by Sgt. Roebuck after having been captured by Japanese while his group was scouting Makin Island. You'll then follow Sgt. Roebuck to Peleliu and finally as the team storms Shuri Castle in Okinawa, Japan. You will alternate between Miller and Private Petrenko, a member of the Red Army who teams up with Sgt. Reznov when his group is annihilated in Stalingrad. Reznov, Petrenko and their men will work their way from Russia to Berlin to not only drive the Germans from the Motherland, but to plant the Russian flag on the German Parliament as a final blow to the Third Reich. You'll also do a single mission as Petty Officer Locke when his team makes a raid on a fleet of Japanese merchant ships and also tries to rescue survivors from a bombed-out U.S. fleet. This mission, in particular, is really moving because, depending on your skill level, you can rescue a number of survivors - if you are good enough. You'll be shooting at U-boats that pop up to take you out, while survivors are trying to get on board. But the rub is that you have to physically lend a hand to pull them in, so it's not automatic. When you fail them, you truly feel like you have failed. In most of the missions, however, you'll be working as a member of a team. The A.I. of your teammates and also your enemies is pretty good, although sometimes you'll need to push forward as your team will hang back and wait for you to make the first move. As I offhandedly mentioned earlier, Sgt. Roebuck had the inate skill of always jumping in front of me and sticking his rear in my face. At one point, he jumped in as I threw a grenade, causing it to bounce off his head and into me, killing me. That, my friends, is how he earned the nickname I have bestowed upon him.
Missions include the aforementioned survivor run, plus plenty of running through streets and buildings, clearing out enemies as you go. I especially enjoyed the missions where you were in super-close quarters, flushing out hiding Germans who were completely dug-in. Japanese popping out of the ground from hidden fox holes screaming "banzai!" are a new surprise and they have no problem running at you full-force, even if it costs them their lives.
Your arsenal of weaponry includes the usual suspects like the Panzerschreck, the Thompson, the Gewehr, the Type 100 and 99, the Mosin-Nagant, plus the Japanese bayonet among many others. My favorite new addition is the flamethrower! Lots of fun can be had with this baby. Plus, if an enemy has one, a well-placed bullet can turn them into a fireworks party. A new weapon in some missions is the satchel bomb, where you can toss a satchel bomb into a machine gun nest and then run away and detonate it from a distance. You'll also have the ability to call in an air strike in some missions, sometimes destroying tree lines or buildings riddled with enemies.
One of the most interesting additions is Nacht Der Untoten (Night of the Undead), which is a mode that is unlocked when you complete the game on any difficulty. Here, you are barricaded in a broken-down building with Nazi zombies attacking from all sides, slowly at first, then ramping up, since it's a survival mode. When they approach, they will begin tearing down your barricade, board by board. Your ammo is severely limited, although sometimes they will drop ammo when you kill them. They'll take a few shots to kill, unless you get a head shot, so you'll need to perfect that. You'll have to kill the zombies, then rush to the various barricades and quickly rebuild by pressing (Square). Scattered around the building are new guns you can "purchase" since you'll earn money with every kill, plus there are barricaded areas that you can clear with money as well. It's a hard road, but a nice diversion, for sure.
Ahh, multiplayer. Not my forte, I will admit. I don't play well with others, as the saying goes. But soldier on, I did. There are the typical modes like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, but I found the experience to be so juvenile that I could barely stand it. The 13-year-olds with headsets do nothing but curse and trash talk, and while I am certainly not a prude (the trash talk I do in my own home while playing single player could damn near peel the paint from the walls), it's really annoying. I didn't experience any lag or anything, so that's a good thing. There's also a cooperative mode where you can play with another player in split screen.