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Call of Duty 2

2 Ratings: 4.5
Action video game by Activision for the Xbox 360

Call of Duty® 2 redefines the cinematic intensity and chaos of battle as seen through the eyes of ordinary soldiers fighting together in epic WWII conflicts. The sequel to 2003's Call of Duty, winner of over 80 Game of the Year awards, Call … see full wiki

Release Date: Q3, 2005
1 review about Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2 - An Ode to the Greatest Generation

  • Mar 18, 2006
Rating:
+5
Pros: Fun gameplay, excellent levels, great graphics, fantastic sound

Cons: Way too difficult achievemens

The Bottom Line: This is one of the best games for the Xbox 360 and a respectful tribute to World War II. I felt guilty having so much fun playing it.

Video games based on modern-day wars have a dual challenge. They must be engaging and fun for the player, but remain honest and truthful about the war they are portraying. I'm not proud to admit that Call of Duty 2 is the first war game I've played. Was it a good title to begin with? Read on, dear reader....

•• Story ••
The story in Call of Duty 2 isn't really a story as much as it is a recreation of different events during World War 2. Stalingrad, El Alamein, D-Day. These events are recreated wonderfully with a fair amount of backstory. All based on historical events, each chapter is preceded by recreations of old film reels and "shows" from the Military channel, which I assume is fictional. If not, then it is an excellent usage of product placement.

I wouldn't say the story is disjointed, but you don't play any one character. You play a fighter in each of the fronts and each character has a different name. None of this really matters. You are a cog in the gears of war.

•• Gameplay ••
Call of Duty 2 is a first person shooter, meaning that the player perspective is that of the character. You see through the characters eyes including the gun in front of you. First person shooters are not new and certainly Call of Duty 2 does not break much new ground in the basic mechanics.

The right trigger fires, the shoulder buttons throw smoke or frag grenades. The Y button give you two modes of crouch: ducking and crawling on your stomach in fear of your life. You'll need to use both of these a lot of the time.

As mentioned before, the game takes place on various fronts and the level design is fantastic. There are bunkers, fox holes, lots of buildings. While the game is quite linear, there are times when you can choose various paths to the same end result.

One of the most important things you'll need to do is take cover. Objects such as trash cans, walls, cement posts, and burned out cars act as good cover to avoid enemy fire.
There is no mechanism to get into cover, you just run and hide behind it. Pop out when you need. The main drawback of this, is that there's no way to blind fire and no way to peek around corners. It would have been nice to have a specific "Cover" mode so that you could do other interesting things. Games like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter do this well. That's not to say the cover system is bad, it's just nothing amazing.

The AI is excellent, both the good guys and bad. They will use cover most effectively. They will duck when being fired, run away from grenades, and plug you full of holes especially on higher levels and difficulties. Your friendly AI is also quite effective. They take posts and guard doors and for the most part, save your sorry life.

One of the most interesting things is the effective use of red shirts, your friendly, nameless AI. If they start dying off, new ones will respawn off camera and join the fray. This is a nice touch and ensures the game remains balanced. While war itself may not work that way, being completely overpowered because your supporting AI was not effective is not good gameplay. If you know what a
Red Shirt is, skip to the next paragraph. For those who don't know, a Red Shirt comes form the old Star Trek series. Whenever the Enterprise had to land on a strange alien planet, 4 guys would beam down: Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Jones (or some other unknown character). Jones always wore a red shirt as he was a low rank. Whenever there was a rock or something to be investigated, they always sent Jones. Jones, of course, would die. Hence, the term Red Shirt is used to describe any expendable characters that are thrown into the fray as cannon fodder.

The Red Shirts are very useful in actual gameplay. They will often lead the charge and if an area is unknown, you can usually begin down the path, wait for the Red Shirts to Leroy Jones (another gamer term) their way ahead and die. This will tell you if there are bad guys ahead and where the firefight is coming from. And since they respawn as new red shirts after dying, there is no worry that you'll run out of support.

In addition to running around on the ground shooting guns, you also get to man turrets, drive vehicles and call in artillery strikes. These all add a good variety of gameplay. And this is good, because the game is rather long, especially when you play on the hardest difficulty like I did (more on that later).

The game has every cinematic feel, not unlike Saving Private Ryan. There are lots of scripted events, and the objectives seem like things you would actually need to do. Get explosives and blow up tanks, clear out bunkers, storm the beaches. Given how difficult the game can be, checkpoints are generous so there isn't the usual frustration of playing for 15 minutes, dying and then having to repeat the last 15 minutes all over again.

•• Graphics ••
The graphics of Call of Duty 2 are fantastic. If anyone claims that this is simply a port, tell them they are high, While it might have more things in common with the PC version, in the console world, this is a truly next-gen title. The characters are wonderfully detailed and the animations are smooth. The transitions between animations can be a bit sudden, but I don't know of a game whose aren't.

The environments are a little smaller than what the 360 can handle, but what is there is a beauty. Rich in detail and effects, the levels respectfully remain faithful to the actual war environments. Knowing this gave the game a haunted feel. Not only did I feel like i was in the war, but I had a certain reverence for these hallowed places of battle. Yes, this is a game, but also a testament to the respect the developers have for their subject matter.

•• Sound ••
This is where the game really shines. When people talk about games being next-generation, they only talk about the graphics. But I would argue that the sound is far more immersive an element than any graphics could ever be. And if there was ever proof of this, it is Call of Duty 2. The Voice-over work is excellent and there must have been hundreds of lines recorded. While I did notice hearing them repeated, they are varied enough that they don't ruin the atmosphere.

The music is a wonderful, sweeping saga. It is very serious and triumphant. I don't often want to buy CDs of game music, but if this one was released, I would seriously consider buying it.

And the effects. Wow! All around! These guys took a page from Saving private Ryan and simply envelope the user in sound effects. Bullets whizz past your ear, comrades scream in rage, pain or triumph. Cars explode and tanks rumble. Tremendous attention was paid to the sound design and it creates a truly immersive environment.
Hats off to the sound team. You done good, folks.

•• Multiplayer ••
Multiplayer was not a strong suit when the game first came out, but a subsequent auto-update has fixed much of the latency problems. The game supports up to 8 players in some standard game types such as Capture the Flag, deathmatch and some swiped from other successful games. The Multiplayer is not nearly as deep as the MP in Perfect Dark Zero, but it is certainly fun to play.

•• Achievements ••
This is my biggest gripe about the game. All of the achievements but 2 of them require you to go through the campaign on veteran difficulty, the hardest setting in the game. That sucks, big time, especially for those of us self-described Gamerscore Whores. The game is amazingly difficult on veteran and it's frustrating to require that level of frustration to get achievements.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated T for Teen and is a realistic, bloody representation of war. Either keep your young kids from playing or use it to teach them respect for what our forefathers endured. The onus is on you.

•• Conclusion ••
This is one of the best games for the Xbox 360 and a respectful tribute to World War II. I felt guilty having so much fun playing it.

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Recommended:
Yes

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