Call of Duty 2 Reader Review
Guided by the profanities of your comrades, you begin your charge forward towards the looming Nazi headquarters. You ready your gun, preparing yourself for the imminent encounter. And they are loose! The enemy floods upon you, raising your barrel, you begin to mow them down, but they are upon you now. You swing the butt of your rifle in an upwards arc towards the masked face of your German enemy, and it impacts, he falls toward the frozen ground. More are coming, a seemingly endless swarm of enemies continue the offensive. The situation seems hopeless, but you fight. To the harsh symphony of war, you brutally vanquish your enemies.
This is Call of Duty 2. Sequel to the hugely popular game from 2003. It is a masterpiece of the arts, it's levels ridden with the rough yet beautiful sounds of war, and it's world adorned by masterfully crafted visuals. It promises it's audience something more then the average World War II shooter, not an innovation, but simply a heightening of the contents quality. Call of Duty 2 shows us that a game is not about gimmicky novelties, but about the quality of a game's essence.
Much like it's highly acclaimed predecessor, Call of Duty 2 leads you three campaign. One for each of World War II's main combatants: Russia, Britain, and America. While the campaigns generally take the same approach there was one variation which I was quite disappointed with. During the desert campaign of the British, there were maybe three levels in a row in which you has to ride through with clumsy, bulky feeling tanks, I would say this is one of the few moments of the game that was truly a failure. Venturing into the lesser features, I nifty new characteristic that I enjoyed was the inclusion of a diary page written by your current character that is viewable during the loading sequence. While this is by no means a contributor to gameplay, it is an interesting way to learn a bit about the soldiers. Though somewhat repetitive at times, each campaign has it's own flavour through unique weapons, environments, and missions objectives. This helps keep the variety throughout the game.
From the time you are first thrust into the boots of a soldier down in the trenches of snow-covered Russia, you will notice the giant graphical leap Call of Duty 2 takes over the original game. It's one of the first games I would truly consider next generation, throughout it you will discover the realistic fall of snow and the blinding yet amazing gusts of sand. The quality of the graphics are undoubtedly fabulous. Yet, they have there short comings. A main one not being the visuals, but there presentation. Many of the games animations are somewhat shabby, a player running across a field will look somewhat disconnected from the ground beneath his boots, and they generally carry there weapons in an awkward position. The soldiers faces and outfits also tend to look a bit phony, they could use a good bit more dirtying up to keep with the realism in the game. However these flaws are generally easy to overlook, I would wholeheartedly say this is a good looking game.
Now that that's out of the way, lets get to the guts of the game. The gameplay. For those who played the original Call of Duty, you can expect a very similar style of play. It's a fine point between the running 'n gunning of Halo, and the more precise tactical approach of something like Rainbow Six. An enjoyable new gameplay feature, is the inclusion of less restricting objectives. While everything in the original games felt extremely linear, Call of Duty 2 will allow you multiple choices of objectives to pursue. This is certainly not free form, but merely more realistic. Unfortunately, the changes were not all for the better. Following a new fad, Infinity Ward decided to include a health system similar to Halo, in which you are not required to use health packs, but instead regenerate your health automatically after a time. Sure, this takes a way the nuisance of finding health packs, but it breaks a layer of the immersion in the process. You start to feel a tad super soldier-ish when you can plough through a horde of Nazis and only need to take a few one second breaks to regain health.
Luckily, the new health feature does not seem to interrupt the enjoyable multiplayer. Players are easy to kill in an online match to help the pace of the game, so don't expect your Wolverine-ness to be helping you when you get all backed up in a corner. Multiplayer includes the basic Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag. Two new modes are also included; Search and Destroy and Headquarters. Search and Destroy is fairly similar to something like Counter-Strike's defusal mode. You simply have to plant explosives at an enemy base, and your opponent will attempt to disable them before there shiny objectives are blown to oblivion. Headquarters is also objective based, you are required to establish a base and hold it. As you keep it under control you will earn points; however the enemy will be working to knock your teammates out of the base. Overall, multiplayer holds the same fun mechanics of the single player experience, and everything translates over to the online medium quite well.
The bottom line is, Call of Duty is a fantastic World War II experience. While it makes not huge innovations over the original, its content is of extraordinarily high quality. It has its bugs which can become fairly annoying, but they are rather easy to overlook in favor of the stronger points.
9 / 10