Review by horror_spooky

Reviewed: 10/22/07

A War they Shall Receive

Unless you usually stay away from first-person shooters, you have probably stormed the beaches of Normandy a million times as a gamer. Ever since the Medal of Honor series started, there seemed to be a massive wave of World War II games, with multiple titles surrounding the event coming out each year for all systems, and at first, these games were amazing, but then they started to get bland. You can only fight the same war so many times until you have to question your own sanity. However, with Call of Duty 2, the last great war has been revitalized and redone to provide a fresh and new experience for fans of first-person shooters.

What makes Call of Duty 2 more interesting and fun to play than most other World War II-themed first-person shooters is the fact that you don’t just play as one character throughout the entire game. On the contrary, as you progress through the game, you play as multiple soldiers from different nationalities (soldiers from Russia, England, and America are available for play in the campaign mode) and locations around the globe. It’s a real breather to get away from the snow-covered lands of old Russia to play in the vast deserts of Africa in a tank for a little while, then having that usual World War II D-Day extravaganza following right after.

Ever since Halo: Combat Evolved was released for the original Xbox as a launch title, vehicles have become an important part in the FPS experience, and have been added into the most popular series periodically over the years, and Call of Duty 2 is no exception from this new rule. There will be some moments where you’re simply controlling a turret on the back of a truck, but other times when you will be driving and controlling a tank to its full potential.

All those World War II weapons that gamers have come to recognize without hesitation are present in Call of Duty 2, but what is most impressive in this title is how the developers included smoke grenades. When you lug a smoke grenade into an area it works like I would assume it would in real life, the smoke blocks out nearly everything. Throw a bunch of smoke grenades, run into the smoke, and try to find your way out, I dare you. The inclusion of these smoke grenades really adds a new level of strategy as you progress through the levels, and they really gave the game that extra kick.

A multiplayer mode is also available with up to four players offline, but the maps are much too large to really enjoy these battles. Also, there were way too many areas to choose from, which I usually wouldn’t complain about, but most of these levels seemed too similar and none of them ever really developed that standing-out sensibility. Of course, on Xbox Live, the multiplayer is loads better, but for those offline players, this may affect your purchasing decision. Depending on the map you choose, you choose from either being a man from Russia, England, America, or even Germany. I think it would have been better if you could pick your character no matter where you were, since it was just a multiplayer mode and not part of the main campaign anyway. Another thing about multiplayer that somewhat irritated me is the lack of vehicles, which would have been a great addition to the gameplay and would have definitely brought it closer to perfection.

The multiple time periods you play in are separated out into sub-categories that are designed to play through multiple times on the various difficulty settings available. Each of these missions is pretty long, and the game will take a decent chunk of time to complete, which is a VERY good thing.

The special platinum edition of Call of Duty 2 comes with an extra disc of bonus features, though most of them aren’t very worth while. However, there are some mission walkthroughs with commentary by the developers that is actually pretty interesting and comical, and definitely worth checking out for any gamer.

Obviously, the game is based in during World War II, but at different time periods and locations during the war. There isn’t really much of a great storyline at hand, but there are some pretty cool and shocking moments that will make even the most experienced gamer drop their jaw in surprise. I’m not going to ruin these moments for you, but trust me, this game has some pretty powerful moments.

Graphics wise, Call of Duty 2 somewhat fails to impress me as much as it could have. For a game that really doesn’t have too much features that would be that disc-consuming, I felt that the graphics could have been brought up a level. A lot of the environments look too much like one another to provide them with their own identity and some of the textures weren’t done to their full potential. I was impressed with the character models, however, and there were moments in the game were there would be a ton of enemy soldiers on-screen at one time which really got the adrenaline pumping. At the start of each main mission, there is a short clip of actual battlefield footage, but this was kind of annoying to watch and almost made me feel like I was in history class or something.

World War II was loud. Never before have I been through such an ear-popping war zone, with guns firing realistically all around me, explosions making me jump in surprise, and the sound of incoming enemy vehicles making my blood run cold. All around you your teammates are screaming that they need cover for reloading or trying to get other forms or help or offering suggestions. Never before have I been as impressed with a video game’s audio and background noises as I have been with Call of Duty 2. The background music, however, was forgettable, but the quotes whenever you die or complete a level were actually inspiring and interesting to read.

It makes me so depressed to know that the offline multiplayer is not as great as it should have and could have been because if the multiplayer was brought up a couple notches and included the ability to drive vehicles, then the game would probably have been perfect. Of course, you can probably go through the game multiple times on the different difficulty settings without getting too bored since the enemy AI is so diverse that nearly every situation is different than the first time you went through it.

Call of Duty 2 proves that World War II still has resources rich for video games to harvest, and this game has revitalized my excitement for the next title I get my hands on to be based on World War II. Of course, if the graphics were brought up to the level that they could have been, if the multiplayer included more features, and if the campaign maybe included a co-op setting, Call of Duty 2 would have been the perfection video game rendition of the last great war to occur in the world. I am anxiously awaiting the next iteration in this soon-to-be classic video game series, and I hope my complaints are fixed, and the game is the perfection creation that this title was so close to being.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Call of Duty 2 (Platinum Hits) (US, 12/31/07)

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