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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Infinity Ward

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 29, 2003

 

 

- Finest WWII shooter on store shelves

- Dramatic and intense Gameplay

- Three different campaigns, all unique in weapons and missions

- Perfect music, sound, and voice-acting

- Experience true teamwork for the first time with excellent AI (enemy and friendly)

- Detailed characters and levels that rarely slow down your computer

 

 

- Graphics won’t “wow” you as other games do

- Short – almost as short as this point.

- With numerous soldiers by your side, the only way you’ll experience a challenge is when playing on the hardest difficulty

 

 

Review: Postal 2 (PC)

Review: Ghost Recon (PC)

Review: Vietcong (PC)

 

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Call of Duty

Score: 9.2 / 10

 

There have been so many games about World War II that it’s safe to say it has become its own genre. Thinking back through every single one is impossible, though picking out the few flawless titles is quite easy. The Medal of Honor series (save the most recent addition), Battlefield 1942, and now, Call of Duty (CoD) are among the best games within this popular genre. After toiling through the most realistic WWII game ever created, I can see why people find the genre so appealing.

 

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Call of Duty's distinctive trait is the ability to play not only as US soldiers, but as British and Russians as well. The preliminary and tutorial of CoD band you with the 101st Airborne. Your character, Private Martin, and the rest of the squad are dropped into Normandy the night before the notorious D-Day invasion of Omaha beach. Your squad travels behind enemy lines disabling radio contacts, to better prepare the suicide mission of Operation Overlord.

If this is at all sounding familiar to you, than perhaps the Band of Brothers miniseries or Saving Private Ryan movie has stumbled into your mind. Truth be told, the development team, Infinity Ward, ultimate goal was to create a true “brotherhood” experience that soldiers felt during the war. Almost every battle fought is fought with two or more soldiers by your side to show the significance of a “band of brothers”. Trust me; this does not make any of the levels less intimidating, though getting through the levels with ease on the normal difficulty will take you a short time.

 

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Once you get through the American campaign, you’re immediately bound with the British 6th Airborne Division. Now you take on the role of Sergeant Evans, where most of the missions are based around stealth. While the American campaign warms you up a bit, the British campaign burns your legs off, becoming much harder than before.

 

The British are greater in numbers compared to the American soldiers, but 

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more often than not, you will be with one other person infiltrating a German submarine or base. The British missions have a different tone than the US and rely more on wits than weapons. Again, this campaign comes to a sudden stop as you begin to get into it.

Now comes the Russian finale. Pitted with the task of taking Berlin, the Russian campaign is the hardest and most frustrating of the three. Out-gunned, out-smarted, and out-numbered, the Russians were literally inches away from major defeat. Fortunately there was Alexei, a peasant drafted for the battle of Stalingrad. The opening of this campaign is the most realistic, crowded, intense, nauseating – hell, its just the best damn opening in any game… period. Those who’ve seen Enemy at the Gates are sure to understand. Like Omaha Beach, the Russians came with boats to the shore of Stalingrad in hopes of retaking their capital city. During this portion of the war, with morale diminished, Russian commandants would actually shoot fleeing soldiers while desperately outnumbered! It gets worse. Once at shore, Alexei is given only a clip of ammunition, for there was a severe lack of weaponry. In order to fight, you must pick up a gun from a dead soldier while being shot at from both your own commanders and German invaders. The Russian campaign will have you on your toes from start to finish – and what a finish it is!

 

The level design of CoD and graphics create the most realistic atmosphere with today’s technology. The distant sounds of gunfire from beyond your location, the artillery guns blasting through the night, hearing your squad mates yell for backup, hearing planes crash and burn behind you, watching a German panzer tank come through a wall... all are done to an extent I never thought possible. If you’re worried that the game will eat up your graphics card and memory, think again, CoD was built around the same engine seen in Medal of Honor, and runs smoothly (which will be good news to those with lower end hardware).

On the basis of sound, CoD brought the best and brightest under their wing. (Remember, this is the same team, albeit under a different name, that brought you Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, one of the most beautifully orchestrated games in terms of music and sound. Obviously, these guys did something right. First off, the voice-overs in CoD weren’t done by C-List personalities, but by well known actors. On the American end you have Giovanni Rebisi (Saving Private Ryan) doing a character that I don’t ever remember seeing. All I know is that his name was featured within the game. On the British end is Jason Statham, (The Transporter, Snatch) a well known martial artist and up-and-comer in the movie business. The music of CoD isn’t half bad either. You’ll remember these tunes for a long time.

I was a bit worried to jump into the gameplay side of things, due to the critical nature of judging gameplay. First off, CoD doesn’t offer any new gadgets to the gameplay or any new “spiffy” ideas to gold-plate a stale system. If anything, CoD refines the FPS (First Person shooter) gameplay to near perfection. Since the atmosphere of CoD is fast, the gameplay must be fast as well. Turning and shooting is down directly, as well as moving around, leaning, and changing stances. The recoil of each weapon also affects your accuracy and direction of fire. For example: while using the Thompson (a sub-machine gun for the US) firing in small bursts will reduce the amount of recoil giving you more accuracy towards targets. Also, missions and objectives are completed instantaneously with the AI helping you out if you make a mistake. If you are behind on completing a task, the AI will do it for you, keeping the mission quick.

Call of Duty is an instant classic, and will most likely have a couple expansions and sequels. With the arrival of this game a new World War II series is born, relieving those of us tired of modern combat, and bringing hope to those who deemed PC gaming dead. Once finished with the short campaign, which lasts roughly 6 hours, the online portion of the game is just as hectic. With four modes of play, some of which quite original, there is little chance CoD will collect dust on your desk. Call of Duty is without a doubt the finest WWII game released this year; a prime contender for the PC Game of the Year.  

 

- Eric Lahiji

(December 16, 2003)

 

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