Review by aaronmykyta

Reviewed: 01/04/06

An Old Soldier Never Looked Better.

As one of the launch titles for the Xbox 360, Call of Duty 2 is a direct port of its PC brethren. That is not a bad thing, though, seeing that CoD 2 for the PC was a frantic and fun WWII shooter. Even though each current-generation console already has around two thousand WWII shooters, CoD 2 is the first for the 360!

The game's presentation is amazing, as Call of Duty 2 places you as a American/British/Russian soldier who is protecting his freedom by, you should know this, killing Nazis. The production values in this game are immense, as people, buildings, and vehicles explode all around you. Although the presentation is impressive, we've seen this type of war many times before.

You start the game as a Soviet soldier protecting Stalingrad as you move on to the British in their fight in Africa and, finally, the Americans as you climb up cliffs in Normandy. Each nationality has their own campaign, each having their own spectacular moments. The game does give you objectives that you have to complete during the many missions in the game, but killings Nazis is still the name of the game.

This game is incredibly violent, as a war game should be. Call of Duty 2 is a lot more bloody and dark than any other war game out there. Your squadmates have no hope in them, unlike the mates in Brothers in Arms or the console version of CoD 2, Big Red One.

The huge battles are back in CoD 2, which is great to say the least. Running through bombed-out bunkers and houses is viscerally satisfying, even if you forget that you're running through a linear track of events. The battlefields that we know and love from Call of Duty is back, as they place you in a huge... battlefield, with broken vehicles and buildings as your cover. It is incredibly fun as you scramble your way to a safe area to snipe some Germans in MG42s or whatnot.

The most annoying thing about the Xbox 360's version of Call of Duty 2 is that there is no leaning. It is also annoying knowing that the PC version of CoD 2 has leaning! When you get behind cover, you will actually have to leave cover to be able to see the enemies for you to pick off with your rifle. Also, while crouching, when you move, you have to put your gun away, move to the desired location, take your gun out, and then shoot. By the time you're ready to shoot, you might already be dead.

The rest of the control scheme is fairly straight-forward. You shoot with the right trigger, aim with the left trigger, move with the joysticks, toss two types of grenades with the bumpers, stand up, crouch, lie prone, melee attack, and reload with the face and stick buttons.

The health system is different than past CoD's, as instead of having a meter tracking your health, you have a Halo-esque shield that recharges whenever you get hurt. You can tell by how badly you are hurt by the amount of red that appears on the screen whenever you get shot. When you are close to death, the game warns you to get cover.

The AI really goes down the drain when you are defending a building, vehicle, etc. The Nazis, for some reason, can't successfully flank you when there is a staircase or doorway is involved. Sure, they will attempt to toss a grenade in your direction if they see you, but thanks to your handy grenade indicator, that is not a problem.

After you're done with the campaign, you can go ahead and play the multiplayer portion of it. The only real downside to the online is that you can only have eight players playing in a server at a time, compared to the PC's 32. Ignoring that minor flaw, the game still has Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes. You should know by now what you do in those two modes... The game does run smoothly when playing in a full server, but the game should be able to hold more players!

The graphics are amazing. Explosions are exciting, the character models are almost photorealistic, and above all that, the framerate rarely hitches. The death animations are fun to watch, as they die in the most dramatic fashion yet seen in a WWII game. My personal favorite is when you shoot an enemy in the leg, they will lay on the ground, but will still attempt to shoot at you, albeit not with the greatest accuracy. It does lead to more realism, unlike the other games that when you shoot an enemy in the leg or arm, they immediately die.

The audio is just as good. The soldiers scream in pain and bark orders, and this is all backed up by the great soundtrack. The game's voices, music, and weapons all sound the way that they should. Like I said, the presentation is amazing.

Call of Duty 2 is probably the most realistic WWII shooter out there, thanks to the dark tone of the action and all the violence that occurs in the huge levels. Although we have seen the action several times before, none of them do it better than Call of Duty 2.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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