It’s never the Italians.

I have a vague memory, the result of not really paying too much attention in High School history class, that the “Axis” powers in World War II were Germany, Japan, AND Italy.

That having been said, I don’t remember ever playing through a WWII-based game where you had to fight Italians.

Call of Duty: World At War, being the most recent example of the genre to grace my disc tray, had plenty of Germans and Japanese, though, so I suppose two of three isn’t bad.

To get this right out of the way: Being that I have several Japanese friends, am studying Japanese in college, and find myself rather attracted to the Japanese design asethetic, playing a game where a large part of it consists of shooting Japanese is a little disturbing.  Rather like watching Otokotachi no Yamato, it made me squirm in my chair; not the sort of reaction I expected to a nice bout of testosterone-driven shootery.

Apparently I don’t care about the Germans, however, because I gunned them down in great numbers.

COD:WAW is a game that was made by the guys who aren’t Infinity Ward, so I was a little worried going into it; they seem to get a lot of fanboy hate and it seemed as though some of it was probably justifyable.

There were frustrating bits.  It keeps the same old Call-of-Duty formula of “fight endlessly respawning enemies until you manage to crawl far enough forward that your AI allies decide to catch up to you and help”, and it features some really brain-dead enemies.  Mind you, I was playing on “Normal”, which is nowhere near the highest level of difficulty, but it was a little sad to, say, shoot some guy in the shoulder and have him ignore me.

Also, I had the game crash once – during a turret sequence that stands out as both really cool AND really frustrating – and I got stuck in the environment on one occasion, necessitating a re-try at the level.

Still, frustrating bits and occasional crashes aside, it was fun enough to stay in my optical drive for the best part of two weeks while I got time to play it in half-hour chunks.  I don’t mind admitting that the last Russian level managed to evoke a truly visceral emotional response, which is pretty unusual for a video game.

Also, as I seem to be saying a lot recently when it comes to the PC version of games, it looks and sounds really really good.  We’re at the point in this console generation where consoles, which start off at the high end, become medium-to-low end simply because technology moves around them.  I’m sure that when we’re all rocking our Xbox 720s or whatever, the COD:WAW graphics will look hopelessly dated and archaic – for now, it’s good to have a decently-specced PC.

Oh, there’s a designed-for-multiplayer mode where you fight zombies, but I didn’t get much in to that.  I have been told that this sort of thing means that I’m Doing It Wrong, but I can live with that.

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2 Responses to It’s never the Italians.

  1. ShortWoman says:

    World At War just wasn’t as good as COD4. And the online play is odd. Surely they’ve fixed the bug, but it was possible to set the server to award ludicrous points per kill. Rank-up city.

    It is a little fun listening to the Japanese say such amazing crap as “Sayounara, ne?” and “INU DA!” I played the zombie mode for about 10 minutes before declaring it “meh, more freakin zombies.”

    Verdict: Will be first in line at Best Buy to get 2 copies of Modern Warfare 2.


  2. baudattitude says:

    I know what you mean about “meh, more freakin zombies” – they may be one of the Perfect Videogame Enemies, but I’m a little sick of ’em. Downloaded Left4Dead when Valve had its free weekend a while back and couldn’t be fussed to even play through the entire first mission.

    Oddly enough I’m kind of tempted by “Plants Vs Zombies”, so maybe it’s just a “enough zombie FPSes, already!” sort of reaction.


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