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Joystiq hands-on: Call of Duty: World at War (Wii)


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Was it mere coincidence that Activision's latest Wii FPS was situated right next to The Conduit at Nintendo's SF media event? You know, as if to say, "You want first-person shooters? Wii has you covered." Surely not. One thing's for certain: The situation certainly made it easier for us to transition from one game to the other in order to gauge how different developers are putting motion-control to use in the genre.

In the case of Treyarch, its Wii team has obviously played plenty of Metroid Prime 3; Call of Duty: World at War is pratically a play-alike (without the Morph Ball, grapple beam, and ... er, all that other sci-fi stuff). We were pleasantly surprised to find that the game is also similar to another FPS ... Call of Duty: World at War – the "HD" version.

Gallery: Call of Duty: World at War (Wii) | 5 Photos

Activision attributes this to the fact that, at least when it comes to size and overall design, the game's levels are identical to those found in versions of the game being developed for more technologically beefy consoles. Sure, it's not anywhere near as pretty as the PS3 and Xbox 360 games also due this fall, but it's keeping up in terms of gameplay.

The level we spent time with was in the Pacific theater and saw us squaring off against Imperial Japanese Army forces. We'd already fought them on Xbox 360, so we were familiar with their merciless tactics and propensity to charge at us full-tilt, bayonets at the ready. Sure enough, the Wii game's A.I. acted just like we'd remembered.

Most of our play time was spent battling inch-by-inch to cover in some truly brutal scenarios, while debris and shrapnel flew around us. Low-res or not, it was intense. We started off using the flame thrower to cook our enemies extra-crispy and fill their bunkers with billowing, scorching gas.

Perhaps it was the TVs we were playing on, or maybe we've just become accustomed to HD FPSs, but when we switched over to our machine gun, we found that it was much easier to nail enemies without using the iron sights – they just sort of muddied the screen when brought up. Using automatic weapons gave us a chance to try the reload mechanic, which consists of moving the Nunchuk towards the Wiimote then away. It actually worked quite well; there wasn't even a bit of shaking required.

All in all, we came away from our demo with a sense that Wii owners won't be getting the short end on the M1 Garand with this Call of Duty installment. So far, it looks, sounds, plays, and feels like a suitably epic FPS for Nintendo's console, without any glaringly cut corners.

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