Pacific Theater Antics
Let’s talk about Call of Duty 5 - possibly this year’s biggest shooter in the eyes of some. What makes it work? What makes it not work? In a word (or rather 4 words if you like to count numbers), Call of Duty 4.
There is no denying that CoD 4 set a new standard amongst linear, set-piece laden shooters. With an epic storyline, twists and turns, an amazing-looking UI, and an ending that still has me reeling, CoD 4 is living proof that Activision DOES NOT need to keep milking this franchise to death in an attempt to turn a quick buck. That being said, I still enjoyed CoD 5.
The story mostly takes place in the Pacific Theater, which makes for an interesting setting. And along with the change in gameplay related to the Japanese enemies being more brutal and more insane than previous CoD enemies, this game is definitely better than I thought it was going to be. But where there’s good, there’s also bad, specifically the Russian side to the story. To be frank, I’ve had more than enough of WWII and fighting on any number of sides. While I give props to Treyarch for mimicking the fine effort of CoD 4, they are no match for the innovation that Inifinity brings to the table. Specifically, I tossed my head back in disgust when I played through the first of the Russian missions in CoD 5. The mission tries so very hard to give you that cool feeling that the CoD 4 sniper-flashback mission gave you, but ultimately it fails. The game’s story is almost like Charlie Brown’s teacher nagging on and on, and while the historical videos seem to be trying to teach you something about war, the game never makes it clear.
As good as the game looks and as interesting as the Pacific Theater is, the game feels like little more than an odd expansion pack to CoD 4 while you’re patiently waiting for CoD 6. Treyarch brings very little that’s new to the table here. The one extremely cool feature of the game has to be the flamethrower. As a gamer, I’ve seen my fair share of flamethrowers - there was Halo’s abysmal mess of a flamethrower, Gears of War’s cool-but-non-essential flamethrower, and then this. The CoD 5 flamethrower is the first one that has ever made me WANT to actually set stuff on fire. I attribute this to the way it works. Most other flamethrowers feel like gigantic aerosol cans with little flames at the tip - this one actually squirts out liquid fire onto enemies, giving it more range and 200 times the satisfaction when you see the enemy camp go up in smokes. One mission in particular has you burning up mortar emplacements in trenches while using the flamethrower, and it is by far the best mission in the game.
More Pacific Theater Antics
While I didn’t get to spend too much time with CoD 5 multiplayer, it seemed to be the best of both worlds - combining CoD 4’s addictive “perks” system in a new setting with the WWII weapons everyone’s come to know thanks to CoD 2. The multiplayer plays for the most part without lag and - apart from the occasional hiccup - I had a blast with it. Of particular note is the zombie mode in multiplayer that turns the game into a team-based survival horror game with zombie Nazis. If that sounds absurd, it’s because it’s even crazier than what you’d find in Left 4 Dead. The inclusion of this mode is cool, leaving you in a multitude of rooms to fight off the hordes as they try to break in, but it will still have you scratching your head.
In a nutshell, CoD 5 is a cool game for a rental at the most - if you’re not crazy about shooters, you could probably just wait until next year when the true Call of Duty sequel comes out.
Minimum System Requirements
Processor: Pentium 4 @ 3 GHz/AMD 64 3200+
Hard Drive: 8 GB Free
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
Keyboard & Mouse
Call of Duty 5 (4 out of 5)
Running on the CoD 4 engine, Call of Duty 5 looks as good as anyone would expect from a current-gen game. Apart from the graphics, you also have the new Pacific Theater that is as a setting fresh and interesting. Finally, as far as the weaponry in the game goes, the best parts are those when you wield the best flamethrower in gaming history.
The Russian/German storyline feels contrived and everything you experienced in Call of Duty 2 - just with a graphical overhaul and a small delinations into the new story. Some weapons feel very clunky and unwiedly, leading to an overall nullifying experience when you finally do pull the trigger. Finally, as much as it tries to separate itself from CoD 3 and 4, it ultimately feels like many of the ideas were just pulled straight out of the CoD 4 archive.
This post is part of the series: Call of Duty 5: World at War Reviews
Reviews and previews of Call of Duty 5: World at War.