Call of Duty: World at War
Publisher: Activision Price: £49.99 Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS) Age rating: 15 ALREADY considered a favourite for the coveted Christmas number one spot, Call of Duty: World at War is no ordinary shooter. While most World War II games
Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS)
Age rating: 15
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ALREADY considered a favourite for the coveted Christmas number one spot, Call of Duty: World at War is no ordinary shooter. While most World War II games concentrate almost exclusively on the Western Front, this brutal war story focuses on the Pacific theatre campaign by the Americans and the Russian advance on Berlin. As such, you take control of a US Marine battling the Japanese Army and a Russian conscript fighting the Nazis in Eastern Europe.
The Pacific theatre offers up a particularly grisly collection of missions that'll see you stalking Japanese soldiers through dense undergrowth one minute and then taking part in a bombing mission on a fleet of destroyers the next. The first time an enemy soldier rushes at you with a katana gripped in his hand is a peculiarly scary experience, while riding shotgun on a tank makes you feel incredibly exposed and vulnerable.
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Berlin feels much more familiar, but this smashed city isn't just a static backdrop. It's constantly being pummelled by artillery and tank fire as aircraft drone overhead and buildings explode, showering the streets in debris. Rubble provides a perfect environment for snipers making the urban jungle just as treacherous as anything you'll find in the Pacific campaign. There's also a definite moral ambiguity to the game, with the Russian soldiers hungry for revenge on a German army that had previously laid waste to their homeland. You'll witness various acts of brutality by your fellow soldiers and the game constantly challenges you to either take the moral high ground or commit your own atrocities.
With four-way co-operative play and a host of other multiplayer options - including a fantastic stand-off against wave after wave of Nazi zombies - the games designers certainly haven't forgotten the importance of online play to the Call of Duty experience. And there's a notable collection of new weapons on display, including air strikes and a lethal flamethrower that's excellent at flushing enemy soldiers out of underground bunkers.
Any WW2 action game that leaves you shaking is doing its job, but this one could leave you shell shocked.