Review by Drunky

Reviewed: 04/24/06

Nothing special when it comes to war games.

With Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and Battlefield 2: Modern Combat out there for the Xbox 360, what sets Call of Duty 2 apart? Nothing really, but its still great fun.

The game takes place in the past, World War II to be exact. You’ll carry out missions as Soviet, American and British soldiers. You wont get too attached to your character, seeing as you’ll change every so often. Aside from mission objectives, there is no storyline. You’ll just be given varying goals you have to complete before being allowed to continue, but as with most war games, they all involve killing whoever stands in your way.

The gameplay is easy enough to get the hang of, even for the most inexperienced players. Call of Duty 2 is a standard first person shooter game, point, shoot, hide if necessary. Unlike Ghost Recon you’ll only be in control of your own character, leaving the computer to fend for themselves. Even if they suck at it, they’re really only useful for suppressive fire and fodder. You’ll be amazed as you watch one computer character run around a corner, be shot in the head, and then watch countless others follow in the exact same fashion. Sadly the opposing AI isn’t that stupid. They have their moments when they stand half hidden in a doorway allowing you to kill them by shooting them in the elbow. Their sub par hiding skills aside, they are rather intelligent. The difficulty comes in their sheer numbers, but they have their own tactics to make your life hell. Such as when you throw a grenade, they’ll pick it up and throw it back and if you try to chase down a tank, it’ll back up over you.

Speaking of grenades, since you’ll be playing in a World War II environment, you’ll have to use authentic WWII weapons. This is more of a novelty than a treat, seeing as most gamers are accustomed to telescopic lenses on the rifles, higher clip capacities, faster reloads and just more power in general.

Aside from a variety of weapons and explosives, you’ll have little control over the battlefield. As I said, you only control your own character, whereas other games allow you to control teams, vehicles and even call in support if necessary.

The game offers little in extra features and keeps a simplistic FPS style. It would seem like its targeting the casual gamer group, except for the fact that games achievements are largely awarded for beating it on the Veteran difficulties. Which is not an easy task to say the least. You will be killed a lot, and I mean a lot. There are some things you can only learn to overcome by being beaten repeatedly by it. Luckily there is an excellent checkpoint system. The checkpoints are perfectly placed and scattered throughout the level, you’ll be killed, be treated to a few words of wisdom and respawn almost instantly. It manages to keep the fast paced and action packed feeling so you don’t get discouraged. Until you have to redo the same area dozens of times. Like I said, since all the achievements are on the Veteran difficulties, almost everyone will be playing on it, and it doesn’t really appeal to the casual gamer. The scripted movements and actions of the computer will help you practice, but the amount of times you need to replay some areas are just overkill to the point of giving up.

While the gameplay may be average in style and frustrating in difficulty when compared to other games, the music and sound effects are incredible. The sound effects are of course, dead on. You can hear the bullets being chambered, the heavy breathing as you get injured, and the rumbling of incoming tanks. The sound effects help immerse the player greatly in the World War II environment, but more importantly it aids the game play. You can hear the enemy footsteps in the room next door, letting you know when you’re about to be ambushed, and even your team aids you. They’ll spot your high priority targets and warn you of incoming dangers… when they can stay alive of course. The soundtrack is excellent, it has the same patriotic and rousing tone that graces all the World War II media, placed at the climactic final moments of a battle.

Seeing as you’re playing a WWII game, you’ll be able to play as different Allied countries. This might sound like you just get a different colored uniform, but you also get a whole new array of weapons at your disposal. Sounds like something minor, but when you’re considering you’re no longer playing a game littered with sub machine guns, high powered sniper rifles and incendiary grenades, its actually a great surprise.

The graphics are adequate at best. The intentional drab environment aside, it lacks the same detail and interactivity of other games like GRAW. It does however recreate the miserable and chaotic surroundings exceptionally well, from the ruins of the buildings to the flaming cars. It looks like a true war zone. The character movements are life like and react accurately to their injury. A leg shot will take them to their knees while a headshot drops them like a rock. Perfect when you’re playing around with the sniper rifles.

As for the play time and replay ability, its not that great. Even on Veteran difficulty you’ll be able to complete the missions in hours. There would be little reason to replay the same 27 levels, as they’re all fairly linear, needing little strategy.

I would have to say that if you’re looking for a challenge and raw action, this would be a rental. If you’re looking for something a little more strategic you may want to try Battlefield 2 or GRAW.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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