Review by MRadford

Reviewed: 04/05/06

War just looked good

Call of Duty 2
Xbox 360

Let's face it, no matter how hard some would like to believe, First Person Shooters, and especially WWII shooters are starting to get old. Perhaps not technically, but as soon as the promotion of a 'new' shooter hit the media most gamers will instantly think (and probably be quite right in doing so) something along the lines of: 'Ah, yet another attempt to single handedly slaughter my way through Nazi Germany and save the world'. Indeed, had all the events of all the games transpired in real life it'd be amazing if Germany wasn't a barren wasteland devoid of human life, but anyway...

As soon as the next-gen consoles were released a World War 2 shooter wasn't going to be far behind, marching into battle trumpets blaring and rifles clicking. However Call of Duty 2 is a surprising, and even refreshing change from the constant EA style cloning we may have come to expect.

To Arms!
Strangely however, upon booting up the game and entering the first level the first thing that comes to mind is not the draw-dropping graphics, nor is it the sound but it is the fact that you are not playing as the American Army. This instantly opens up a brand new look far away from the shear drops and destroyed farmhouses of Normandy and other battlefields of Northern France and instead drops us right into the frozen streets of Moscow, currently preparing for heavy attack.

The jump in console generations is remarkable clear from this point on. Although we are treated to a less then impressive opening, the detail of the game really hits home. Everything from the polished up buckles of your comrades shoes to the range of expressions they give in context to what's happening is impressive, as is the splintered wood doors, cracked tiles and bombed out buildings that you will be fighting through.

A worldly World War
The game splits the action into three campaigns of three of the major powers battling the Axis. After the Russian campaign the game makes no attempt to hide the fact you will be playing as the British Commonwealth forces as they battle the Africa Korps and the American Army in the traditional France - Germany battle nearing the end of the conflict. All of these settings be them snow, sand of dirt are not only very different, but also require a mix of tactics. For example, a full out charge across a bombarded field is all well and good in France, however in the tight, claustrophobic streets of Stalin grad the same tactic will no doubt leave you restarting at the last checkpoint after being attacked by machine gun nests hidden in buildings.

Around the world we also see a good choice of vehicles, while none of these are instantly usable their true to life features such as realistic tank-warfare tactics are a delight to play.

Control of the Field
Of course lovely visuals and accurate tactics aren't worth a thing if you can't control them properly, and we don't see anything special from the controls. The analog pads control movement with the shoulder buttons handle firing grenades and zoom. The controls themselves a responsive and the thankfully the zoom is not needed to hit anything not at point blank range.

Call of Duty 2 is a good looking new FPS for the 360, suffering only from slightly repetitive gameplay and occasional slowdown. It's nice to see a new look for a WWII game, but while very good now, will no doubt sink to only an average when the genre becomes overcrowded.

+ Excellent graphics and atmosphere
+ Realistic weapons / strategies
+ Play somewhere other then France / Germany (although that's in there too!)

- Can get repetitive
- Occasional slowdown
- Not spoiled for choice in practical weapons

Overall 8/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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