Review by dougmoto

Reviewed: 07/25/06

I put peace on hold to play this game

War is one of the most captured events in video game history. Many different franchises try providing fun simulations of wartime combat, but many fail. Fortunately, Call of Duty 2 emerges from the ashes and creates a game experience unlike any other. Here’s a look at possibly one of the best war games ever.

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Gameplay:9

Activision has really done a good job with the controls for CoD2. The movement is tight, aiming seems natural, and knowing when to run comes naturally. The 360 controller provides a comfortable canvas for the button placements, and it works out great. It’s never been easier to lob smokes or grenades, or to melee an unsuspecting enemy in the back.

One of the biggest next-generation differences I noticed was the computer A.I. It’s developed so much since last-generation consoles, it’s incredible. The computer will now wait ever so patiently from behind cover, it’s almost frustrating. If you throw a grenade, no longer will they sit and watch, they’ll throw it back, or run for cover. The sound of gunfire or the sight of smoke will draw them out, but they hardly ever travel alone. Suffice to say that Call Of Duty’s artificial intelligence has really impressed me.

The balance of the game in multiplayer is good, but not perfect. The starting rifle is almost always a one hit kill, and if you have fast reflexes, you can dominate. The sniper rifle is rendered almost useless, since it’s simply a scoped version of the normal rifle. Most automatic weapons are decent from close range, but lack the accuracy for long range battles, which several maps feature. Speaking of which, the map selection is good. There are around 15 or so different places to play, each have a unique environment and strategies.

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Graphics:9

The character models in this game are excellent. They compare quite nicely to high quality PC games in terms of detail. There’s still a tiny bit of awkwardness in the model movement, but it’s as smooth as it’s ever been. When starting off, you might find it difficult to distinguish between your troops and the Germans, but soon, it becomes second nature.

The weapon models seem detailed, but not so realistic. It’s hard to describe, and I think the best example would to compare them to Counter-strike:source. A realistic, nicely textured look, but somewhat out of proportion or odd looking. Still, the weapons are getting more and more detailed, and CoD3 should fix that right up.

The textures in this game are amazing. When I first played, I spent almost half an hour just marveling in the detail of the textures in the snow and on the buildings. Then I got to the British campaign, and saw the levels in France. They’re just graphically stunning. I was unaware that a console was capable of generating such graphical beauty, but of course it helps very much playing on a 56 inch HDTV.

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Sound:9

Usually sound takes a backseat, for me at least, and I sometimes forget to notice it. Not the case for CoD2. Right away, the sound will create the excellent atmosphere around you. Gunshots, to screams in foreign languages, to the terrifying hum of the Panzers, you’ll learn to recognize, and react by sound.

The voice acting is great as well. They’re nothing Oscar worthy, but great for a first person shooter. You learn your role in the squad very quickly, as you’ll have your comrades screaming: “Davis! Get some smoke out there!” or : “Davis! Clear that bunker!”

The music cuts out during the actual gameplay, but starts up again when you’re about to finish the level. It may sound unimportant, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the game. You’ve just barely made it through the last, and you don’t know how much more you can take. Just as you’re about to give in, the soft victory music starts to play, and you know you’ve almost made it. It’s great stuff.

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Replay/Multiplayer:10

Writing this, I’ve already beat the game once, but I’m going back to beat each level on veteran, which is a challenge so far. The game is so good, it’ll just make you want to beat everything on the best difficulty.

Multiplayer is fantastic. Even if there are no computer bots to play against, if you can manage to get 3 of your friends to come over and play, the experience will be rewarding. The single player intensity is carried over very nicely to the split screen action, and you’ll find yourself trash talking after a nice kill, or cursing after an untimely death. Not many games can make you do that.

On top of the GREAT split screen multiplayer, there’s also the system link, for linking up several 360s, and of course, the online experience. Can it get any better?

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Overall (Not an Average): 9

Although I may not agree with the values of war, I can certainly agree with this game. With smart computers, stunning graphics, and an intense atmosphere, Activision has knocked me off my feet with this offering. It’s my first game for the 360, and I don’t regret it one bit.

-Dougmoto (Counting the days until CoD3)

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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