What's it about?
Someone once said that “a good idea is a good idea forever”. Unfortunately, that someone was David Brent. And, when applied to gaming, such a statement couldn't be much further from the truth. Take World War II shooters, for example. With Wolfenstein 3D now well past its fifteenth birthday, they've become about as interesting and historically accurate as an evening in with Uncle Albert. With this in mind, the guys at Activision have gone beyond the tired “shoot Nazis, reload, repeat” model for the latest instalment in their phenomenally successful shooter series. There’s still plenty of Wehrmacht to see off, but the best missions in the campaign mode see you in the muddied boots of American soldier Private Miller, torching banzai-charging Japanese infantry with flamethrowers, blowing up bunkers and generally lining yourself up for some serious post-traumatic stress.
If you’ve got mates, there’s also an arcade-style survival horror mini-game, in which you and up to three friends co-operatively defend an old house from an onslaught of Nazi zombies. And that’s before you’ve even got to the multiplayer. The weekend-sapping, girlfriend-alienating multiplayer.
What’s good about it?
Truly terrifying set pieces are executed with stunning graphical flair and disturbingly authentic sound effects, including a beach landing segment that’s straight out of Saving Private Ryan. The mission tally is bigger than Modern Warfare's, with the new co-op mode adding some replay value. Even though you’ll spend more time competing for points with your teammates than actually helping each other out.
What’s bad about it?
The multiplayer sometimes feels like a reskinned version of CoD4’s, with muddier colours and German swearing. The perks system is back with a few new additions, but most are just renamed versions of the last game's. You’ll still cancel stuff to head into the online trenches, though. Job interviews, driving tests – that sort of thing.
Even disregarding the shift in setting, CoD:WaW does just enough to prise its predecessor out of our disc tray. It’s not a permanent replacement, since pretending you’re in Black Hawk Down is simply too much fun. But as period shooters go, this is going to take some beating.
When? November 11.