While a lot of companies consider pre-launch publicity an integral part of iPhone game publishing, Activision prefers otherwise. Out of the blue, (or out of the dead more likely) this titan of the entertainment industry released Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies – the famous and hugely popular level for Call of Duty: World at War. Why am I saying this? Well, because they released it for the iPhone!
With the dominance of dual-stick survival shooters in the App Store like iDracula and Minigore it’s hard to imagine how the same gameplay could work as an FPS on the iPhone, especially considering the interface limitations. Well, the folks at Activision have made it work, and made it work wonders.
The gameplay itself is quite simple – you shoot zombies coming at you through the barricaded windows of the bunker and try to stay alive as long as possible. As time progresses, the zombies get tougher and attempt to barge through in bigger numbers. But you don’t sit on your bottom as well, using the chalk outlines scattered across the house you buy progressively better weapons, spending points earned for wreaking mayhem with the dead. And remember to spend part of the points to open up new areas of the bunker, since the most powerful weapons await there.
All of this is extremely fun and addictive even by itself, but Activision has gone even further and added multiplayer. Yes, this is the first survival shooter on the App Store with multiplayer! And 3 types of it even: Bluetooth, local Wi-Fi and online. I would note that online is also via Wi-Fi connection only, but since 3G is not available in my city yet anyway, it’s not much of a deal. The multiplayer is co-op only, but it would be hard to imagine a different one in a survival shooters. The gameplay itself is excellent, and while it’s impossible to communicate with the fellow players, the experience is great.
First person shooters generally do not have a good reputation on the iPhone. The only ones decent enough to come to mind are Modern Combat: Sandstorm and the recent online Eliminate Pro. And the main reason for this is – controls! Well, Activision has provided 3 different control schemes for Zombies, two of which actually work very well. The movement is controlled the same way for all modes – using a virtual stick on the left. The shoot, target and weapon reload/switch controls are also common and are situated on the right.
The thing that varies is aiming. The one I used the most is Touch mode, where the right half of the screen is used as a giant touchpad. My second favourite is the accelerometer control option, where you tilt the iPhone forward and back to aim up and down and tilt it right and left to turn accordingly. This actually makes for a much more fun and involving experience than the touch mode. The final control scheme makes use of a second virtual stick, which works as well as can be expected, but is my last choice.
The targeting works in different ways, depending on the mode your in. In the general mode, the weapon locks on automatically at the zombie once the crosshair is close to it. This makes it easy to shoot, but also keeps you from making definite headshots. To take full control you can switch to targeting mode at any time, allowing you to use the stock weapons crosshair for those sniper shots you’ve always dreamed of.
The graphics are very good and stylish in Call of Duty. The zombies have a very detailed damage model, meaning you can make a decent sized hole in their abdomen or just shoot off an arm, a leg. If you do the latter, the zombie will try to crawl to get to you. If you shoot of the head (yes, the FPS favourite – headshots are present) the body will still do a couple of steps. With all of this in mind it can only be called a miracle that the performance is ultra smooth on the 3G.
In short, Activision threw in the pot the simple and addictive gameplay, lots of weapons, great graphics and performance, excellent controls that will satisfy all tastes, topped it with multiplayer, online leaderboards and achievements and have essentially cooked up a masterpiece. Using the tilt controls, twisting my iPhone left and right and frantically avoiding the zombies was probably the most fun I’ve had with an iPhone game for a long time. The only downer is the $9.99 price tag, but the game is more than worth it.
With this I declare Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies officially touched!
|Title:||Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies||Developer:||Activision Publishing, Inc.
|Reviewed Ver:||1.00||Min OS Req:||2.2.1|
|Price:||$9.99||App Size:||16.0 MB|