Call of Duty: World at War Game Poster Image

Call of Duty: World at War



Intense first-person shooter captures brutality of WWII.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

You play as a soldier during World War II combat missions.


Players use weapons like assault rifles, machine guns, grenades, and flamethrowers to kill enemies. You can also slash enemies with a knife or stab them with bayonettes. Plenty of blood is shown, some in slow-motion. With the flamethrower, you will view foes being burned alive and hear their screams. Also, when witnessing explosions, you will encounter bodies with limbs blown off.

Not applicable

Cussing is heard including "s--t," "f--K" and "bastard." Players may encounter more filthy language when online.


This is part of the Call of Duty franchise of video games from Activision.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a grisly shooter based on World War II. Players can kill enemy forces with guns, grenades, rocket launchers, and flamethrowers. Besides seeing lots of blood, players will witness enemies writhing as they are burned alive or losing limbs in explosions. Players will also see bodies strewn across the various battlefields and experience realistic sounds of agony. Profanity is also heard. The game is playable online, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for children under the age of 12, and colorful language will most likely be heard there as well. An unlockable zombie mode features hordes of Nazi zombies that need to be killed.

What's it about?

The Call of Duty franchise returns to familiar territory with the release of CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR, an intense first-person shooter that captures the brutality of warfare. The campaign takes place through the eyes of an American soldier fighting the Japanese and a Russian battling German forces. As U.S. Private Miller, you navigate the jungles of the Pacific led by Sgt. Roebuck, voiced by 24 actor Kiefer Sutherland. When playing the role of Private Petrenko of the Soviet Army, you'll push into the German capital Berlin to finish off the Nazis.

Players can tackle the campaign either solo or with a friend through the cooperative mode. There's also a deep multiplayer mode where players can rank-up based on skill level and acquire new weapons. When you conquer the campaign, you can unlock a Nazi zombie mode where up to four players fight wave after wave of zombies.

Is it any good?


While the last release in the franchise, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, set the bar for first-person shooters on consoles, World at War delivers a very similar experience. The campaign is chaotic and intense. The Russian missions tend to feel like typical WWII games, but action in the Pacific is more intriguing. Japanese enemies employ ambush tactics like charging with bayonettes. Because most prefer hiding in grass, your character will often use a flamethrower to flush out enemies.

World at War is also dark and brutal. Smoke and gunfire blanket the skies of Berlin as you break through Nazi defenses. You'll see enemies burned alive or missing limbs following explosions. On the default difficulty, opponents are relentless. However, they do exhibit some odd behaviors. There were a few moments where opponents were inches away and opted to sit and aim as opposed to aggressively attacking. Weapons are diverse, ranging from mountable assault rifles to grenades and sniper rifles. Multiplayer is equally impressive, with a deep ranking system and rewards for bolstering your skills. With a wealth of World War II games available, World at War stands out as one of the best.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about video games based on historical events. Is this a good way to learn the perils of war? Are there other ways video games can teach historical events like World War II?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows, PlayStation 2
Available online?Not available online
Release date:November 11, 2008
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

This review of Call of Duty: World at War was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written byI_TellTheTruth January 7, 2011


Who are we kidding? All kids play COD. I started playing this when I was like 13. But, according to this website, it would definitely earn the NO KIDS rating because of the Violence and Language. LANGUAGE: Tons of F-words and S-words. In the campaign, online, and in Zombies (new maps.) There's no getting around the swearing (although I think there is a graphic content filter option, but I've never tried it.) VIOLENCE: Gratuitous amounts of gore. In the campaign you can shoot off limbs or heads. Grenades blow soldiers apart and rip stomachs out of bodies. On XBOX Live, heads can't come off, but explosives blow soldiers up and limbs fly (You even get awards for taking limbs off using the tank). In Zombies mode, heads blow up, stumps spurt blood, bottomless torsos crawl towards you, leaving bloody trails behind them. It's not any MORE violent than the story mode, but it's just that you're fighting SO MANY zombies that it seems gorier. Plus, it's more horror/fear - themed, so all around it just seems very intense. The game overall really IS NOT for kids ... but hey, they're gonna be playing it anyway. Just be aware that it is incredibly graphic and there's tons of profanity.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 13 year old Written bybluecanoe1221 January 14, 2011

Fun and very educational.

I'd say that this game is okay for mature kids who are 13 years old and up. There is a graphic content filter that will remove most of the blood and gore. I allow my kids to leave it on though- the game was meant to capture the brutality of World War II, and I feel that the blood and gore helps that although it is more violent. The game is actually quite accurate. The violence is of a realistic amount- if you've seen any footage from the War, you know what it's like. My son studied WWII in school and this game really helped him a lot. If you're one of those parents who thinks that everything's inappropriate for your kids, rent it first.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bybmaya June 27, 2009
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?