- Broken Base: The Soviet Assault expansion was welcomed as a chance to play the campaign from the Soviet perspective and expanded on the backdrop to the war, but for many proved a disappointment as no new units and few new tactical aids were offered with the additional six missions provided to the campaign.
- Harsher in Hindsight: In one mission we see Sawyer lead an expedition deep inside Russia territory to recover intelligence from a prototype B-2 Spirit that had crashed inside enemy lines. The game takes place in 1989 when the B-2 Spirit first took to the skies; a year after the game's release in 2008, the Spirit of Kansas became the first B-2 Spirit to be lost after a failed takeoff in Guam. Thankfully in both instances, the pilots survived their ordeal.
- "Holy Shit!" Quotient: The Americans are ultimately forced to launch a tactical nuclear strike on their own country when their defense of Cascade Falls fails. Worse still, an entire company of your comrades stayed behind as a diversion to ensure the strike succeeded.
- Jerkass Woobie: Cpt. Bannon. At first he's just a straight Neidermeyer but once you start getting into his backstory there's a lot of woobie fuel. First there's the telephone call with his step father, then you see how he screwed up in Europe, and how Sawyer treats him afterwards. He just looked pretty beat up. By the end of the Europe campaign he just looks so depressed you want to give him a hug. Of course, then he takes some levels in badass and pulls off a major heroic sacrifice.
- Moral Event Horizon: One for either side, though not as dramatic as one might think. An infuriated Malashenko shoots and kills his uncle, Colonel Orlovsky in a fit of rage upon hearing of his intent to withdraw. Likewise, though not played as straight, with Bannon fires upon surrendering Soviet soldiers and civil defense personnel, slaughtering them.
- Bannon might not count, as he clearly regrets what happened and when he notices what he is doing, he orders his men to stop shooting.
- Narrator All Along: it's been speculated that the narrator is Parker.
- Narm: Averted by a mild case of Fridge Brilliance.
- Sawyer: "They should carve your name on the base for what you've done!" He's referring to the Statue of Liberty, not their military base.
- Nightmare Fuel: Several trailers of the game showcase the effects of nuclear warfare as entire cities and bases in the US are reduced to ashes, easily the most frightening one showing the utter annihilation of Washington, D.C.
- Even more frightening is when you witness the aftermath of the actual nuclear detonation at Cascade Falls; miles upon miles of countryside are now an irradiated wasteland. Worse still, if you fail the last mission and the military is forced to nuke Seattle, it is implied that the Soviets launch an even larger nuclear strike in retaliation; one can only speculate as to the price paid by both sides.
- Stoic Woobie: Lt. Parker (later First Lt. and Cpt.). Let's just say that behind that silent exterior is a sad soldier who wishes to get out of the war alive.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Everything in-game between the maps and the explosive combat is rendered with rich life-like detail.
YMMV / World in Conflict