Reviewed: April 12, 2010
Released: March 31, 2010
App Store Price: $14.99
Call of Duty is arguably the most successful franchise in the history of electronic gaming with multiple titles on multiple consoles including a proven track record on mobile devices such as the iPhone. It was the iPhone in fact that saw perhaps the most successful of these spin-off titles with Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies, originally released as a multiplayer game mode on the console, but able to hold its own as a standalone mobile game, and now those pesky Nazi zombies are back, bigger and better than ever on the new iPad.
The first thing the iPad brings to the table is the inclusion of both previously released maps from the iPhone. Having both “Nacht der Untoten” (Night of the Undead) and “Verrückt” (Zombie Asylum) available from the start helps ease the $15 sticker shock when you go to grab this game from the App Store. Throw in some stunning HD visuals and fantastic sound and music and this is console gaming in the palms of your hands.
Admittedly, the gameplay takes a bit of getting used to. The twin sticks of your gamepad have been replayed with twin analog hubs in each lower corner of the screen allowing you to move and aim simultaneously. You fire by tapping the right analog hub and there are dedicated buttons for reloading, iron sights, and a knife attack. You can tweak the control sensitivity to find what works best for you or even experiment with the alternate control schemes that include using the tilt feature of the iPad before diving into some relentless survival horror gameplay.
Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies puts you in one of two locations where you must barricade yourself in and fend off countless waves of zombies. They will come at you from all sides, tearing down your barriers forcing you to strike back with guns and knife swipes while trying to repair broken barriers to slow the flow of the undead. Kill zombies to earn currency to purchase new weapons and ammo and see how long you can survive. It’s a total adrenaline rush that will leave you breathless and exhausted after only a few levels.
The presentation on the iPad achieves console quality with amazing HD graphics that make the most of the 1024x768 display with detailed textures and animation, all flowing with a smooth framerate that actually helps you play better. The music and sound effects are excellent with haunting themes and terrifying sound effects that are only made better with a good set of headphones.
With its arcade style of gameplay and no bothersome story or mission design Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies is a virtually endless experience. You play till you die then you start over and try to get further. If you are fortunate to have friends with iPads and a copy of the game you can engage in some exciting co-op play via local Wi-Fi with up to four people or head online for Open or Private matches with strangers from around the globe – after all, this is World at War. Throw in some online leaderboards and achievements as added motivation and you won’t be playing much of anything else for months to come.
I feel a bit sorry for iPad owners who already purchased the iPhone version because I am about to recommend that you spend another $15 to get this version. Yes, it is that much better, both in gameplay, graphics, and sound. It normally takes a year or more before we see a game come out that makes the most of a new system, but Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies is here at launch, ready to show all the other developers what iPad gamers expect from their games.