A game that’s sure to get a lot of play on the PC this holiday season is Call of Duty: World at War (COD5). The multiplayer beta has been available for a few days, and already I’ve logged a good couple of hours in online matches.
COD5 is an excellent test for the late 2008 MacBook Pro’s discreet graphics chip. Overall, I found the nVidia 9600M GT to perform quite well, rendering the game with a high amount of detail at comfortable frame rates.
For the deathmatch purist, having beautiful graphics is a distant second to having silky smooth frame rates. For my tests, I kept this in mind, but I was also thinking about the single player aspect, where graphical detail is important for providing an engrossing experience.
Starting at the highest resolution, a native 1440 x 900, the game felt a bit choppy and textures looked flat and lifeless at their lower settings. Dropping down to 1280 x 720 and having the details maxed out to ‘extra’ produced a gorgeous palette of colors and textures, but the frame rate took a noticeable hit any time the scene had to render a lot of objects. Working down to 1152 x 864, I found this to be the lowest acceptable resolution for the MacBook Pro’s 15.4” screen; any lower and the graphics looked too blocky, muddy and aliased. At this resolution, I chose a combination of medium and extra detail settings. The result produced acceptable frame rates for online play with graphics still pleasing enough to showcase the 9600M GT’s abilities.
Further tweaking and running the final code of the game may produce even better results. I can’t wait for Call of Duty: World at War to be released now that I’ve tried the beta. It might just give COD4 a run for its money!
Slightly higher quality video here.