Call of Duty 2
Score: 8.5 / 10
I loved the first entry into the series and the expansion pack to Call of Duty. There have been a lot of first person shooters based on World War II in the past few years and I think the Call of Duty series is the best of the bunch in terms of creating an engrossing cinematic single player campaign. Although I'm not a fan of multiplayer gaming, I know that many people liked the original as well for its solid offerings. This sequel to the series also offers a variety of multiplayer game modes as well as a single player campaign worthy to follow the first installment.
it weren't for the title when you first start the game, you might think
you were playing the first Call of Duty. The game menus look the same as
the original. When you die and reload, you are treated with a variety of
quotes from various historical figures on the subject of war, just as
you were in the first game. Once you start playing though, you won't
mistake this game for the first one. The real change to be seen in the
sequel is the graphics. The requirements to get a smooth gaming
experience may be steep for some, but as I recently upgraded to a 7800GT
with an AMD Athlon 64 based system, I was able to crank up the settings
and enjoy some truly spectacular visuals. The effects are breathtaking
and the full scenes of fierce battle in a variety of locations look
Next, although the game is once again broken up into a Russian, a British and an American Campaign, the content of each is different enough from each other and from the original in order to keep things interesting. The Russian campaign once again has you fighting in artillery ruined cityscapes. Although these were my favorite missions in the original, these are the ones I found the most similar to the original this time around. Although I still enjoyed the Russian campaign, it was my least
favorite among the three. The city battles are intense and tough, but
there were too few truly interesting twists through out. It does serve
as a spectacular
introduction to the game though for revisiting fans and for new players
alike. I'll also note that it is only in hindsight after having
completed the game, that I preferred the other two campaigns to the
Russian one. When you first start playing through the game, starting
with the Russian campaign, I have no doubt that you will not believe
that the game could be any better.
it does get better with the British and American campaigns. With the
British, the majority of the campaign takes place in the North African
Desert, with it eventually come back to clear up the French town of Caen.
One of the
highlights of the British campaign is your ability to pilot a tank
through the desert battles. The historical style briefings between
battles serve up interesting knowledge about the context of the battles
and in this mission, this integration was excellent. Because the German
tanks had a longer range, the British had to use the cover of dust
kicked up in battles to outmaneuver and rush the German tanks in order
to be effective. You're told this in the briefing but then having to
play through this with the excellent level design was a treat. Also
great in the British campaign was escaping from a Tunisian village in a
jeep was also fantastic. You eventually get stopped, but the retreating
fight is equally intense.
highlight of the game is the D-Day landing at the cliffs of Pointe Du
Hoc. Here, you will have to scale a sheer cliff while artillery and
enemy fire rains down from above. It's a great battle that seems
unimaginable with regard to how the objectives were actually
accomplished back in the day. The frantic rush to cover your ascending
allies with sniper fire is just that; a frantic rush. Another great
mission is the battle for Hill 400. Here you will need to advance on
entrenched German artillery positions a-top a hill and then hold that
position from a relentless German counterattack. The constant attack
from all around once you are a-top the hill leads to plenty of crazy
The bulk of the remainder of the missions play somewhat similarly; this is after all a World War II shooter. You will be clearing many bunkers, ruined houses and entrenched enemy positions. While these do not stand out as the missions above do, because they are the bulk of what makes up the game, it is a good thing that it is as solid as can be. The enemy AI is good and will attempt to gain and control the best firing positions as well as try to flank your position. Likewise, your team AI will follow your lead and cover your advance if you attempt to flank, and they will advance head on when possible as well. The enemy will also use a lot of grenades should you attempt to dig in and suppress their position. The level design leaves nothing to be desired as different gaming styles will find it is possible to achieve their objective the way they want to. There are many entrances to buildings and many positions that allow alternate routes to flank upon.
isn't too much that is new to the actual gameplay itself though. This is
both a good and bad thing; good because the original was just so darn
good, but bad because I for one do like to see new ideas in sequels.
However, what has been changed, I found to be all fantastic
improvements. First, there are no more health packs, and there is no
health meter. Now, if you take too much enemy fire your screen will
start to glow red around the edges. This effect becomes more intense as
you take more fire until you are eventually killed. You can recover when
you start to see the edges glow red by taking cover and not taking any
more fire until the effect wears off. Of course, you can keep fighting
and hope you don't take any more damage.
fantastic introduction is the implementation of smoke grenades. Not only
does the effect look absolutely fabulous, its implementation into the
gameplay is equally great. When there is no other choice but to advance
forward through direct enemy fire, smoke grenades are invaluable for
actually making such an advance possible. This also leads to some nerve
wracking moments when you find yourself face to face with enemy troops
behind their lines. Luckily the melee attack is effective for these
situations. However you will also find that the enemy AI provides some
harrowing moments with the use of the melee attack where German troops
will let out a blood curdling scream and charge at you with the butt of
their rifle raised, ready to connect with your head. I found these smoke
screen battles to be among the most rewarding as you can really affect
the effectiveness of your unit's attack by pushing deep into the enemy
ranks and attacking their position from within.
Call of Duty 2 is fabulous and should not be missed by any fans of the first person genre. The campaigns contain historical battles that havenít been previously covered, from what I have played and the exceptional production values must be seen. There are many great World War II games but in my mind Call of Duty 2 is the best of the bunch.
- Mark Leung
(December 28, 2005)
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