Platuesday is a weekly feature in which we pick one game from our trophy list that we have achieved the Platinum trophy for and explain the process, difficulty and any extra tidbits that we can think of.
The Overall Experience
Call of Duty: World at War is one of those games that doesn’t seem so daunting to platinum at first. Upon first glance, Treyarch’s 2008 entry into the franchise seems to be nothing more than your standard ‘beat the game on the hardest difficulty and do some extra tasks along the way‘ affair. While there is some truth to that, completing World at War’s trophy list is an arduous task due to the unrelenting difficulty alone. The game itself plays fantastically with responsive weapons, a good soundtrack, and varied mission design, so it’s still enjoyable to play regardless of the hell that awaits. You won’t have to complete the game without dying or perform any outlandish feats (well sort of,) but the sheer frustration that boils within as a result of attempting to see World at War’s campaign through to the end on Veteran difficulty is enough to cause maximum controller crunch. With teeth.
A quick browse of the internet will enlighten you with horror stories involving the Veteran campaign. There are pages upon pages of forum posts dedicated to people requesting assistance on certain sections they’re experiencing difficulty on, alongside discussing their own ordeals in attempting to wade through the mud-and-blood-soaked fronts of both East and West. It may come across as exaggeration, and some players may have breezed through it without so much as a minor stumble but the general consensus is that World at War on Veteran is truly a difficult game, one that will both test your patience, judgment, and aiming skill for a few specific trophies.
The most prevalent cause of death in this game isn’t a whirlwind of bullets streaking across the battlefield and dropping you in half a second. It’s not a sudden grisly banzai charge, either. World at War’s harbinger of death descends upon your hapless soul with a faint thud, a slight tick and an anxiety-inducing icon on your screen.
The Axis Powers’ munitions factory must have been working overtime with a hefty load to spare because enemies in this game LOVE to toss grenades your way, no matter where you are. Due to the high amount of damage players sustain on Veteran, taking cover is often essential for surviving a torrent of gunfire but stay in one spot for too long and you can say goodbye to any sense of sanctuary that one sandbag was providing you because you can count on that familiar sound drilling your tensed eardrums, providing you a preciously brief few seconds to escape to a new spot before you are caught in the explosion. Provided you don’t get shot on the way, you’ll only have a few seconds to spare in your comfortable new foxhole before history deems to repeat itself and you are once again forced to vacate to a new area.
This unholy hail of grenades isn’t present in the game’s lower difficulty modes, so the developers must have wanted to spice things up a bit for any brave players that dared to try and stomach the grind of going through that same checkpoint again, and again, and again.
The game’s coup de grâce of pain comes in the penultimate mission, Heart of the Reich. During this extremely unpleasant romp through the war-torn streets of Berlin, the player is tasked with destroying four Flak 88 artillery guns guarded by a legion of troops and pushing through into the Reichstag. What makes this part of the game so soul-crushingly horrible is scarcity of the checkpoints whilst demolishing the cannons, which makes the lack of useful cover and ever-spawning enemies that much more of a chore to deal with. The player is able to use rockets to destroy the guns, which is helpful against all but two of them, which must be destroyed with other, more intimate explosive means. I genuinely lost track of the amount of time I spent in this monotonous cycle of spawn, grenade, death, spawn, bullets, death and by the end of it I was numb to the world; I had become a CoD machine, programmed to stare at my screen while mindlessly going through the motions. I eventually accomplished my goal and reached the finale, a feat for which my hands and my head were both eternally grateful. Special mentions go to a handful of missions that all caused me distress, including Burn ’em Out, that one sniper mission and Blowtorch and Corkscrew.
Aside from the aforementioned woes brought about by Veteran, World at War features a couple of trophies that are guaranteed to frustrate those with less-than-stellar reflexes and timing. Even if one plays on the easiest difficulty, multiple attempts would likely be needed. The first of the hurdles came during the Vendetta mission which tasked the player with assassinating a German General. Normally, this would be achieved with the use of the sniper rifle that has been used throughout the mission, but if the Platinum is to be earned, then players will have to get used to pulling off much trickier shots. The first trophy associated with this section is Gunslinger, which is earned when General Amsel is assassinated with the use of a pistol.
Unless the player has an impeccable aim, timing, and the blessing of luck on their side they will have a hard time accomplishing this feat. It’s doable but very tricky. The second of the trophies here is The Professional, which tasks you with eliminating Amsel’s henchmen and his dog in a single clip with no reloads. This is somewhat easier than The Professional due to the sniper rifle being allowed, but steady aim and good timing are still required. Fortunately, there’s a glitch that lets players bypass this completely via clever jumping and knowledge of the map, which can be exploited if the difficulty of completing it the normal way proves to be too insurmountable.
The Blue Ribbon trophy requires the player to finish first in a competitive co-op match which can be achieved via either boosting or simply being the best during that mission (I smugly did the latter). The only real challenge remaining was the Sum of All Zeroes trophy, which is unlocked when the player downs 45 Japanese Zeroes during the Black Cats mission, an on-rails shooter where the player takes a gunner seat in an aircraft to engage enemy forces both on sea and land. This trophy took me multiple attempts due to difficulties in tracking enemy aircraft and making sure I’d destroyed enough.
The Wrap Up
Call of Duty: World at War’s path to Platinum is a relatively straightforward one, provided the player is able to put up with the many, many deaths and moments of frustration that certain missions can bring. It took me around ten or so hours to complete the game from start to finish on Veteran and earn all of the trophies, which likely would have taken longer if I had not opted to start with the hardest difficulty from the get-go. If players are losing sleep in their search for an intimidating yet completely doable Platinum to add to their collection then they can safely go to sleep at night without that heavy burden on their minds,
It’s been 13 years since World at War’s release, and Call of Duty games since then have fluctuated in how crushing their Veteran modes are. I have distinct memories of having a much easier time dealing with the likes of Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2019, but whether that is down to my own improved skill or the game itself being easier is up in the air. Take a gander on a message board or comments section and you’re bound to see players hungry for a remaster or remake of World at War, which would present itself as both a blessing and a curse. Of course it would be wonderful to experience the game again with a shinier coat of paint and new features, but the prospect of having to go through the ordeal of Platting the game for a second time would surely give pause and maybe even some flashbacks to those who have already suffered through it. If it’s been done once, then it can surely be done again and if or when that World at War redux shines over the horizon, we can be certain that there will be players who grit their teeth, unholster their carbine rifles and eagerly charge forward, throwing themselves into the chaos of Call of Duty’s grueling depiction of World War 2.