Review by bbears
The Most Intense Gaming Experience Yet
INTRO: With the mass overkill of WW II games out there I wasnt too excited about this game. Actually I have pretty much stopped playing that genre because it had gotten so old. But when I looked at the launch lineup for the 360 I decided to at least give Call of Duty 2 a shot because it was getting good reviews. And I am glad I did. Call of Duty 2 is the best game for the 360 launch, and no it is not just a rehash of Medal of Honor and every other game in this genre. COD 2 pushes the FPS genre in whole to the next level. In fact COD 2 IS the reason you want a 360. No game better showcases Next-Gen talent Call of Duty 2.
GRAPHICS: COD 2 is one of the top three best looking 360 games of the launch. Weapon animations are amazing as are all the particle effects. When you are crouched in a trench you will see wood chips fly over your head as you get shot at. Bodies and bullet holes in walls stay there forever, even when youre backtracking from two levels. All the weapons and environments are realistic for its setting. The most impressive graphical feat though is the smoke, it wafts through the air and disperses naturally. Plus it does a very good job of concealment. Of course there is also some pretty good explosions too. Especially during the Russian campaign when a building is realistically leveled. All of this of course has unrivaled clarity too, which is made even more amazing by HD support. The one very small complaint I have is that character models could have been more varied. Each army has only roughly 2 to 3 faces.
SOUND: The sound is what truly makes COD 2 such an immersive and cinematic experience. With surround sound you can hear the enemy talking behind the walls of the building youre leaning on. You can hear the clink of a grenade and know roughly where it is just by listening. There is a constant chatter by your AI teammates. Ricochets and bullets passing by your head have never sounded so good. The constant noise of the battlefield is what really creates the intensity. Almost immediately you will be entranced by the games presentation. The music is mostly Saving Private Ryan inspired which of course is very suiting to the game also.
CONTROLS: The controls feel very smooth and are mapped out very well. Certain actions though can be unresponsive, such as jumping over a short wall, but this is a minor inconvenience. The one real complaint I have about the controls is that to steady the rifle you must hold the left analog stick, this also moves you and if you move at all you are taken out of scope view. This means an incidental thumb twitch could cost you big. Let me also say that I was impressed by the concept of using the other trigger to sight in while shooting with the other, this is a very intuitive idea.
STORY: The basic story is that you are a Russian in Stalingrad, British soldier in the Middle East, and an American in Normandy each in their own respective campaigns. All the missions are based on real life events and every mission is also preceded by a journal entry. There is also the occasional clip from the military channel. The game does a good job of making you feel as a regular soldier in all the chaos. Overall the presentation is unrivaled and makes you experience the game, not just play it.
REPLAY: The multiplayer is just as intense as the single player. Online, split screen, and system link are all supported. Joining a game online is as easy as it can get too. Simply click to play and your good to go. Real strategies can be developed in multiplayer too. This helps create an intense experience for all your multiplayer action. Single player wise the game roughly lasts 10 hours on normal difficulty, which is pretty much the standard length for an FPS. There are four difficulty modes, of which Veteran pushes the limits on it actually being fun or just ridiculous. But there isnt really an incentive to play it again other than to just enjoy the experience again.
GAMEPLAY: Basically you are doing the same thing all WW II shooters do, which is kill the Nazis. But it never has been this fun. The mission variety is amazing but never loses any of its intensity. Missions range from defending buildings from waves of enemy attacks to taking out bunkers in the trenches. Some of the different gameplay variety includes driving tanks or mounting a turret on an Amtrak. The best part of the game though is the AI. Never in your wildest dreams have seen anything like this. Your enemies will regroup and form attacks against you. If you take out a machine gunner the nearest enemy will get on it to keep you pinned down. Constantly they will through well placed grenades and they will also avoid yours too. Your teammates arent pushovers either. They will constantly move up their positions which gives you sort of a cover fire. Also your teammates will also rack up their fair share of kills too.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Overall Call of Duty 2 is amazing, but its minor control flaws and crazy difficulty climb keep this one from a perfect 10. If you do own an Xbox 360 though, then you must buy this game. And if you dont own an Xbox 360 then here is at least one very good reason to get one.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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