Review by xXfactor
A great World War II experience
Call of Duty 2 [Xbox 360]
It seems as if every couple of months, several new World War II FPS games hit the shelves, most of which turn out to be sub-par. However in 2003 developer Infinity Ward released Call of Duty for the PC, upon release it received much praise for its intense single player action, and long lasting multiplayer. Two years later Infinity Ward has released the much anticipated sequel to its game of the year winner, this time for the Xbox 360 and PC.
[Presentation --- 9/10]
Veterans of the original Call of Duty will feel at home when scrolling threw the menus of CoD2, simple yet effective. Players basically have two options, Single Player or Multiplayer. Upon selecting single player, you have the option to start a new campaign (or resume from your last save point), or go to a mission select screen which displays all of the levels which you've unlocked; any of which can be selected and played. The Single Player story spans from 1941 threw 1945, and just like in the original CoD, you get to play as the Americans, British, and Russians. There are 10 levels, each of which recreates the battles each of the above-mentioned countries fought during WWII. While many of the different levels take place in different cites, they are all pretty linear. The environments are impressive; many broken walls and houses to use as cover, and buildings you could enter. The levels which incorporate weather are particularly impressive and immersive; the falling rain looks great, and the crunch of snow under your boots sounds fantastic as you walk. Finishing each mission is usually simple, get from point a to point b and kill every nazi you see along the way, however sometimes you may have specific objectives you must complete, such as setting explosives. If you are ever confused as you what you are supposed to be doing, simply press the start button and your current mission objectives are displayed for you. Though the player tends not to care about the straight forward objectives, and the somewhat linear level design, simply because the gameplay is so intense, fast
paced, and quite frankly, great.
[Gameplay --- 9.5/10]
Unlike in most WWII games where your character seems to be the uber soldier, who must do all the killing while his teammates either sit back and do nothing, or just die. Call of Duty 2 takes that aspect away, and makes you actually feel like a soldier. The AI is rather good, which allows for all of your teammates to take their posts, and try to take down the Germans, just like you. Theres nothing quite like defending your base against an oncoming fleet of German soldiers, and watching one of your men take a bullet to the face right next to you as the enemies return fire. This game is all about the fast paced yet realistic and undeniably intense fire fights, and the guns of CoD2 help make those fire fights what they are. The guns of Call of Duty 2 feel real, each and every one of them. Each group (American, British, Russian, and German) have their own set of artillery, which consists of a variety of rifles, automatic, and semi-automatic guns. Which guns you prefer to use will depend on your personal preferences, but there is a good variety of choices. And of course if you don't like the current weapon in your hands, you could always pick up the dropped weapons of fallen allies or enemies. Different power, and rates of fire make most of the guns feel quite unique. Guns of course, won't be the only weapon at your disposal, there are two sets of grenades for you to lob at your enemies, Frag and Smoke grenades. The traditional frag grenade lacks power, its blast radius is not very high, and the fuse on them is a bit to long, however they are great for clearing out buildings quickly and efficiently. Smoke grenades on the other hand, are fantastic, and an absolute must for beating CoD2 on the higher difficulties. Once a smoke grenade is thrown, it begins to emit a cloud of smoke that starts of small, but becomes huge in no time. Not only does the smoke it self look great, but it works great as well. Throwing a Smoke in front of an enemy on a turret will render him useless, and grant you easy passage in front of him. When your out numbered and facing an onslaught of Germans, a single smoke grenade in the middle of the battlefield will slow them down immensely and let you get the upper hand by getting to a good position and picking the enemies off as the smoke dies down. You are limited to 4 smoke grenades in most levels, so use them wisely.
CoD2 has four difficulty settings, the game can easily be enjoyed at the default setting of 'regular', however if you are a veteran of the FPS genre, 'Hardened' is recommend as the harder AI leads to a more intense and long lasting experience. The 'Veteran' difficulty is well, very hard. Instead of making the AI smarter and more accurate, the developers decided to put the Germans on infinite respawn. So if youre out side of a German occupied building, and you sit there for an hour and kill enemies as the come out, then enter the building to see its still filled with them, it will lead to frustration as you get shot at from all angles. This aspect of the game takes a lot of away from the immersion factor, and makes the 'Veteran' difficulty a chore to play at some points of the game. The AI of your teammates can also hinder you in during the harder difficulties, especially when you clear out an area, and your teammates refuse move forward at all until you do. This does not make much sense seeing as how your character is not the highest ranking officer, and it makes you question the use of your comrades.
Just watching the AI in the game, leaves some gameplay options to be desired. For instance, you will often see a teammate pick up and throw a live grenade back at the enemies, or you may see a NPC open or break down a door. Neither of these two abilities are available to the player, both of which could of been good gameplay features.
Perhaps the most significant change between CoD and CoD2 is the health system. In the original you could pick up health packs as you go threw a level, but in CoD2 that system is thrown out. Rather than health packs, your screen will begin to flash red and vision will be become blurred as you get shot; to regain your health simply get behind some cover and wait a few seconds and you'll be good to go. This health system seems to be a love or hate relationship for most players, but whatever you think of it at first, it works and you'll get used to it.
All in all the gameplay is fast, furious, and the major selling point of the game.
[Graphics / Sound --- 8.5/10]
Graphically CoD2, for the most part, is impressive. The character models are good. The guns look fantastic in first person view, looking down the scope of your rifle looks near realistic. The weather effects, as previously stated are fantastic, both the rain and snow. Perhaps the best graphical effects you'll see is the smoke, not only from the smoke grenades, but each bullet which hits a wall or another object lets a wisp of smoke into the air. At some points the environmental textures don't look to good, but its a rare occurrence. There is a lack any real good blood effects, but for most players its not really a bother.
If you played the original Call of Duty, you know that the sounds in the game were a big part of its intensity, the same goes for CoD2. Each gun sounds great; the explosions from grenades, mortars, and tanks sound fantastic, you'll think youre actually in the battlefield. When going threw some of the levels, you could here Germans speaking over intercoms or radios delivering messages, which sounds authentic, and adds to the experience.
The lack of rag doll physics hurts the game, but most of the death sequences are decent. Some death animations are not good however, such as when an enemy is climbing over a wall, and you shoot him in the head, instead of dying when you shoot him, he will first complete the wall-climbing animation and then die, which can look pretty stupid.
While the game may not look "next generation", the graphics are good, and the sound is one of the stronger points of the game.
[Multiplayer / Replay Value --- 7.5/10]
One big aspect of any FPS game these days, is the online play. CoD2 has Xbox Live play, which features ranked matches, custom matches and private games. When the game first came out, there was severe lag problems, which literally crippled the game, but since then a patch has been released which fixs most problems the game had.
There are several new maps, and a few returning maps from the original Call of Duty, all the maps are well done, and fun to play for the most part. The game lacks however when it comes to weapon balance. Many of the rifles in the gameare one shot kills, to any point of the body. That along with the over powered shotgun (trench gun) which has an amazing range, can quickly turn a fun game into a game of 'who can sit in a corner and camp for the longest'. The extremely long fuses on grenades render them useless in most situations. The lack of any new gametypes also hurts, and the fact that only 8 people can play together on Xbox Live is not impressive seeing as how this is supposed to be a 'next generation' game. The option for 16-Player system link games, and 4 player split screen are great, but the lack of any co-op options hurts.
The single player is easily replayable for this who enjoys going threw it the first time, as it is a great experience. Those who dare play on the 'Veteran' difficulty are awarded achievement points upon completing each mission, which can be incentive enough to be beat it.
[Overall --- 8.5/10]
Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360 may lack in the online department, but it packs a punch when it comes to single player. Amazing gameplay, and intense firefights accompanied by great graphics and sound make for a great experience one soon won't forget.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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