Generally favorable reviews - based on 84 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 84
  2. Negative: 0 out of 84
Buy On
  1. 100
    Call of Duty: World at War is clearly one of the top games of this year, and a must have for any action gamer.
  2. AceGamez
    Its fairly brief but dramatic and adrenaline-fuelled campaign has been greatly enhanced by the excellent co-op mode and XP incentives, while its multiplayer is every bit as good as CoD 4, making this arguably the definitive Call of Duty experience thus far.
  3. Treyarch has taken all their expertise with the COD engine and borrowed all of the fantastic multiplayer tech from Modern Warfare to create the ultimate military shooter, a shooter so satisfying and complete you won't care what war it is you're fighting.
  4. With Call of Duty: World at War Treyarch successfully did two things: they made World War II shooters relevant again and brilliantly followed up one of the best games of this generation.
  5. In all its blazing glory, Call of Duty: World at War powers up with the Call of Duty 4 engine to push the boundaries of the franchise.
  6. 93
    I cannot emphasize enough how great this game truly is and how much respect I have for the team to make a game that not only impresses on a technical level, but somehow manages to make playing in this overdone war fun again.
  7. Treyarch did a remarkable job of breathing new life into the WWII shooter. They followed the conventions outlined by Infinity Ward to a tee and, as a result, created a shooter that is every bit as good as last year's entry. Of course, there isn't a whole lot of innovation this time around, but the increased Multiplayer options, new settings, and great enemy A.I. should more than satisfy all but the most jaded Infinity Ward fanboys.
  8. 92
    This is a solid, confident shooter with plenty to offer the casual and hardcore alike.
  9. Call of Duty: World at War was a surprisingly satisfying experience all around. Developer Treyarch really showed that they could be trusted with the keys to Dad’s car, and made a game that could be compared favorably to anything Infinity Ward has done.
  10. Call of Duty: World at War is a fantastic title.
  11. If you enjoyed Modern Warfare or FPSs in general, this is one of the higher quality shooters you'll find this year. If you're not a fan of grit and prefer your war games more sanitized, such as in Halo, then you'd do well to steer clear.
  12. Also, after two weeks of Gears of War, it’s truly refreshing to see a multiplayer experience so streamlined.
  13. Games Master UK
    Intense, brutal and utterly brilliant: World at War delivers the goods in every way. [Christmas 2008, p.66]
  14. While Call of Duty: World at War definitely borrows heavily from it's predecessor, it still remains a damn good follow up to Modern Warfare, and well worth taking the time to check out.
  15. 90
    Although the campaign storyline isn't nearly as engaging as the one seen in "CoD4," there should be enough memorable set pieces and intense sequences to keep you riveted throughout. The addition of a co-op mode brings a great deal of replay value to the proceedings, especially once you start throwing the death cards into the mix. Ultimately, it's the multiplayer and co-op action that will keep us coming back for more.
  16. Call of Duty: World at War has had a lot of time spent on it, it takes full advantage of (and in some places improves upon) one of the best FPS engines there is, and its unflinching approach to the mature subject matter gives the immersion-factor a kick up the guts. Does all of this make Codwaw worthy of a purchase? Hell yes.
  17. 90
    Developer Treyarch did a fantastic job of not reinventing the wheel with World at War. Rather, they took the best elements of Modern Warfare and expanded upon them. The end product is a thrilling experience that injects some of the visceral punch back into World War II.
  18. There is a nice mix of action and intense moments that will leave you grabbing the controller so hard you will think it will break. Even using the various vehicles in multiplayer is a breeze.
  19. Those worried that World War II has been done to death, fear not. Treyarch's willingness to push the boundaries has uncovered a side to the war few developers even knew existed, and we'll be damned if it doesn't make for one hell of a game to boot.
  20. A stunning game that doesn't miss a beat from start to finish and includes one of the most feature packed multiplayer components of any game released this year.
  21. 90
    It's nothing revolutionary, but you can't fail to enjoy World at War and it ticks every box rather convincingly.
  22. The single-player campaign involves a riveting and emotional story, and the inclusion of co-op is fantastic. The game itself however is heavily weighted towards multiplayer, as was its predecessor.
  23. Any fan of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, is probably going to want to add Call of Duty: World at War to their collection.
  24. World at War also sees the implementation of four-player co-operative gameplay online, and two-player split-screen, with options for a meta-game or just regular co-op. Despite its smooth running, the co-op isn't the most effective we've seen - getting further in the game on co-op won't unlock those missions on Solo - which seems a bit backward compared to other titles.
  25. Sticking with the premise of previous titles, the meat of this title is in the online mode. If this isn't your cup of tea the longevity of this title is limited to say the least. Treyarch were handed the best console fps-controls and online mode and all they've really done with it is to set it in a new era. If you're up for a great fps experience set in the WWII-era, this is a great title to buy.
  26. But this one is a blast to play, and so I give it a hearty recommendation despite having been skeptical all along about the quality of another Treyarch WW2 game.
  27. 90
    Call of Duty: World at War is an excellent shooter.
  28. If you’re looking for a huge change in the World War 2 genre that Modern Warfare did for the Modern era, you’re looking in the wrong place, but if you’re looking for one of the most intense and well designed World War 2 First-Person Shooters then look no further comrade, World at War has landed.
  29. Call of Duty: World at War I believe will surprise gamers with how complete of an experience it is.
  30. games(TM)
    We wanted to apologise, to run, to leave the horror of it all far behind, and there can be no more appropriate response to war than that. [Christmas 2008, p.90]
  31. World at War is just as solid as Modern Warfare, with interesting missions, fabulous immersion and the competent (but mostly familiar) multiplayer options. And zombies are fun!
  32. Perfectly staged WWII shooter with impressive audio-visual quality. Nevertheless, we want a new, refreshing scenario for the sequel!
  33. Perhaps the guys at Treyarch haven't surpassed its predecessor's bar, but it really was too high. Nevertheless, this does not mean Call of Duty: World at War is not a very good game, it is indeed one of the best of its genre, and no shooter fan should miss it.
  34. Even though Call of Duty 4 took the series out of World War II, developer Infinity Ward raised the bar significantly, and that has left stand-in Treyarch with a lot of work to do. In the end World at War hasn’t topped that effort, but it has at least benefited from the attempt, with the result being another really good, very comprehensive WW2 shooter.
  35. 88
    Its repetitive and lazy single player sins vanish beneath the screams of your mates’ laughter across your Xbox Live headset. The multiplayer might be a totally unoriginal rip-off of everything that CoD 4’s online game did so well, but why wouldn’t it when the original is so brilliant?
  36. World at War is a great new entry in the epic saga. The new Call of Duty just misses the inspiration that Infinity Ward brings to every project, and which Treyarch still aspires to. This new game offers everything we were waiting for, and has better value in its co-op campaign.
  37. World at War finally gives us a reason to visit the Pacific Theater with its fun cooperative and multiplayer modes. But the “been there, done that” single-player missions and overall derivative tone keep this very good game from achieving the greatness of its predecessor.
  38. The multiplayer mode is very motivating: Using the splitscreen functionality, you can play the whole story together with up to three friends. Very exciting and funny, but WWII is already a little bit old-fashioned!
  39. World at War is actually Call of Duty 4 in disguise. Not every change is an improvement, but fans of Modern Warfare will probably enjoy its follow-up just as much, given that they aren’t tired of World War 2 by now. The multiplayer remains addictive, and the online co-op mode is an awesome addition, and together they make this one of the surprises of 2008.
  40. Call of Duty: World at War is a great game that feels all too familiar, yet it's undoubtedly the best shooter based on the conflict. Comparisons between it and Call of Duty 4 are inevitable, but even on its own merits, it's a paint-by-numbers affair. The single-player campaign is intense and the cooperative play is engaging, but the competitive multiplayer, despite some added perks and tweaks, is subdued by the era it so accurately replicates.
  41. 87
    The WWII setting compounds the wearying feeling of over-familiarity, but the solid engine that powers the game ensures that it’s often the most spectacular take on the conflict yet, and one that’s certainly the most exhilarating.
  42. 87
    CoD 5 is a very solid FPS that can sit proudly enough on the shelf next to it's predecessors. If you are not turned off by the idea of returning to WWII, you'll have five or six hours of enjoyable shooting in solo mode, and probably many more in the team deathmatch and war modes online.
  43. If you don't care what era your action takes place in, then Call of Duty: World at War manages to be an exciting addition to the series.
  44. While not on par with Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, World at War is better than Treyarch’s last entry, Call of Duty 3.
  45. When it all boils down to it, much of World at War is COD4 with a World War 2 overlay.
  46. However, the new approach to World War II adds a surprise at every turn and World at War delivers a good single-player experience, and even manages to hold its own against some of the toughest multiplayer competition out there.
  47. World at War brings proven Call of Duty mechanics back to WWII with great success.
  48. The short-lived campaign doesn't quite reach the highs of Modern Warfare, but the ever-solid shooting and multiplayer mechanics make this a great shooter.
  49. 85
    Call of Duty: World at War feels at times like a little brother holding the hand of the more confident Modern Warfare, but keep in mind that it definitely shares the same genes.
  50. World at War is a terrific game and a solid addition to the Call of Duty franchise.
  51. It is a good World War II shooter that a lot of people are bound to enjoy, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but I feel it doesn't have enough of its own identity to really win me over from continuing to play COD4.
  52. World at War proves to be another solid addition to the Call of Duty franchise.
  53. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    A great WWII shooter. [Jan 2009, p.51]
  54. Treyarch has made vast improvements from their COD 3 work and delivered a solid product.
  55. Call of Duty: World At War needs better character development and more "oh my God" moments. However, it's still a terrific first-person shooter. The combat is tight, the presentation shines and the multiplayer, particularly Nazi Zombie mode and co-op campaign, will keep you blasting enemy soldiers for weeks.
  56. Call of Duty: World at War is a perfectly competent game with exciting multiplayer options and a campaign that's worth playing. But in most of the ways that actually count, last year's game was better.
  57. Following the work of Infinity Ward with "Modern Warfare", Treyarch has made a good work following those steps as close as possible, while adding elements of their own. The grim scenario of the Russian campaign is a clear highlight and a triumph for the studio, and the same could be said of the four player cooperative mode. However, we miss more evolution on the graphics engine, and some elements added to the multiplayer experience don't convince us.
  58. 360 Gamer Magazine UK
    You know what to expect, so just take that expectation and make it a little prettier, a little glitchier and quite a bit shorter. And add more burning Japanese men. It’s Modern Warfare in period costume with the crusts cut off, which will probably work more in its favour online but results in a slight single-player downgrade from last year. World at War is a nearly-there title with some surprising gameplay niggles. But it’s still a step up from "Call of Duty 3."
  59. COD: World At War is a battered warrior that more than earns its stripes. Leading the charge with a meatier and lengthier single-player campaign, Treyarch has won the battle in producing a true standout in the series.
  60. The addition of a robust and varied co-op option helps to mitigate the disappointment of the by-the-numbers traditional multiplayer modes. However, looking back to Kristan's review review of Call of Duty 3 you'll find the exact same complaints being raised two years ago. Corridor gameplay. Outdated features. Flaky AI. They're all still here, albeit masked by even more whiz-bang effects than ever before.
  61. 80
    World at War can't fill Modern Warfare's combat boots despite an earnest attempt by the developers to replicate the experience in a World War II setting. At the same time, the game still offers some genuine fun with an impressive amount of bang for your hard-earned buck.
  62. Call of Duty: World at War has a good, but not so memorable single player experience and a fantastic multiplayer. The cooperative mode is the best thing about the game, so people without Xbox LIVE Gold should wait for the game to appear with a budget price.
  63. an ordinary game on an extraordinary engine. The faults are mostly swept aside by the gameplay, which is taken straight from Call of Duty 4, and the multiplayer should be different enough to pull those stuck on its prequel away in favor of a change of location and weapons.
  64. It’s too much like its predecessor. For a lot of people this will be a great thing, whilst others may find the formula wearing a bit thin. It’s an enjoyable experience but may leave you wanting something more.
  65. While it's a shame that the campaign isn't as good as its predecessor's, World at War sticks to what made Modern Warfare great: a solid multiplayer experience that can last you months.
  66. Overall this is a fun title to play this holiday season. While I had fun going through the campaign and seeing how the story unfolded I still prefer the modern warfare setting and weapons.
  67. 80
    Call of Duty: World at War may not be another Modern Warfare, but its still a very well-developed game with plenty of fun to be had.
  68. Besides the inevitable similarities with Modern Warfare which does not deviate the game from a similar execution and even with some minor flaws is stays as a solid and convincing title with some very appealing points.
  69. 75
    The single-player's a solid step forward from "Call of Duty 3," and the cooperative multiplayer should give the game some legs...but I just wish competitive multiplayer had grabbed me the way Modern Warfare's did.
  70. World at War is like watching a fireworks show that you’ve seen a few times before. You’re simply not wowed by the buildup, the grand finale, or any of it anymore. When - not if - the next sequel arrives, it’s going to have an upstream swim against an apathetic tide of familiarity.
  71. The multiplayer is as solid the series has seen yet and is capable of carrying the game, but it is disappointing to see the single player campaign waste so much potential.
  72. Even though Treyarch took Dad’s precious wheels out for a less reckless spin this time around, World at War is still senselessly eating away at Call of Duty’s mileage.
  73. Should you decided to give it a try, make sure to dive into the all-new Nazi Zombie mode, which puts you and a group of up to 4 players against hordes of vicious zombies (that's when the real fun starts).
  74. If all you’re looking for is more of the same, then Call of Duty: World at War is certainly a worthy addition to the franchise.
  75. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The campaign's quick-paced action and violent nature will entice any FPS fan. [Jan 2009, p.75]
  76. World at War is a fun rollercoaster ride that is every bit as good as Call of Duty 2 and 3. Unfortunately after the success of Call of Duty 4 it's hard to go back to World War II, even when the game looks and plays this good.
  77. World At War puts on a great show, but it's the last time I'm going to be able to watch this same show without getting bored. Activision will most likely continue to make a lot of money selling us the same magic tricks even though we've been able to see the wires for some time. Where's the ambition in that though? Don't excellent games sell more than okay games?
  78. In contrast to last year’s effort, none of the game’s high points are as memorable, and in addition, quite few gunfights start to border on routine as you get further into the game. For that reason, combined with the selection of other erratic blemishes named above, World at War is a notably less appealing game.
  79. If you loved the last game then you will like this one and it is also a good starting point for newcomers, but series veterans might want something more.
  80. Overall it’s hard to see what Treyarch were aiming for here, as the story retreads old ground and most of the set-piece moments seem to have been lifted directly from the previous games. Coupled with dodgy A.I and the ever present endless rush of foes and it’s just not that great.
  81. World at War is for the most part a competently made and solid game.
  82. Ultimately, the single player campaign is atrocious and I had a rotten time playing it. It seems to take everything that was frustrating about Modern Warfare, magnify those elements, and then leave out the interesting objectives, characters that matter, and anything that leaves a lasting impression beyond anger and disappointment.
  83. 60
    The impressive graphics, compelling mutiplayer and even the basic gunplay in World at War are all iterations of "CoD 4," minus that game's character, urgency and relevance. The result is a forgettable, mostly middling shooter that will sell decently, but fall far short of "Modern Warfare's" boffo 10 million-plus units.
  84. Edge Magazine
    Treyarch has taken just enough from COD4 to make World At War a broad success, but it remains firmly in its shadow. [Christmas 2008, p.90]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 582 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 130
  2. Negative: 26 out of 130
  1. Apr 20, 2011
    By far my favorite Call of Duty game. The maps are wonderfully set up, the variety of weapons is great and kill streaks are set at greatBy far my favorite Call of Duty game. The maps are wonderfully set up, the variety of weapons is great and kill streaks are set at great increments. MW2 and BO get me extremely aggravated due to camping and not having near as good of maps. The story isn't anything fantastic, but no one gets these for the story. I get the new Call of Duty every year and World at War is the only one I end up keeping and going back to time and time again. Full Review »
  2. Nov 8, 2011
    "Call of Duty: World at War" has everything wrong. The textures are muddy and dirty as well as the sneaky, invincible AI. The story is good,"Call of Duty: World at War" has everything wrong. The textures are muddy and dirty as well as the sneaky, invincible AI. The story is good, but TOO linear. Especially after playing this game on Xbox for a brief period, I realized this game isn't for the Xbox; it's not meant to be. In my opinion the PC version was better with plenty of swag, so if you really want to play this piece of junk, at least buy it on PC or Playstation. Full Review »
  3. Mar 31, 2012
    Takes the same great formula for gameplay from cod4, and uses the same great multiplayer. The campaign is also great following two fronts ofTakes the same great formula for gameplay from cod4, and uses the same great multiplayer. The campaign is also great following two fronts of the war that were not focused on by other ww2 games. It creates and gore filled horror of war that is not seen in any other cod, and creates a visual of a hellish experience. It took the modern eleiments from cod4 and put it into a ww2 game with little troubles. It is taking from another formula, but the formula is still almost perfect for this style of game so I don't criticize Treyarch much for this. A great experience all around Full Review »