Call of Duty 2 was one of the premier launch games for the Xbox 360. From the handful of next-gen games, COD rose to the top like cream separating from milk. The game is a franchise rooted in the World War II
theatre and developer Infinity Ward does a magnificent job of creating an almost life-like re-creation of our fathers or grandfathers war experiences.
While storming the beachhead as the Americans’ and climbing the cliff walls, I could feel my skin tingle as I realized that such events actually occurred and felt an immense moment of gratitude and respect towards those that sacrificed for my freedom. Yes, this game is that good.
Such a sentiment can’t be conveyed with a half-ass game so let’s delve into the details of COD that makes it one of the best FPS to grace a consoling system.
Graphically, this game is superb. The character animations are smooth and life-like, lending genuine atmosphere to the overall presentation of the game. The framerate is the BEST I have ever seen for any game, despite all the frenetic action that occurs on screen. Other games have tried the iron sights while most prefer the crosshair, but the results have always been varied. Graphically, iron sights in past games were downright ugly and sometimes inaccurate, which made shooting frustrating.
However, When aiming down the sights (ADS), Infinity Ward has lovingly recreated genuine iron sights of each weapon, making it a pleasure and a skill to score a headshot. As you progress through the game, more enemies will appear on screen and you could be fighting up to 20 germans in 20 different spots as you’re ducked behind a crumbling stone wall. And the game doesn’t even hiccup. Did I mention the framerate is smooth? Smoke grenades actually look, sound, and feel like smoke grenades.
It’s comparable to their counterparts in RS:3 for Xbox. It’s a huge, white cloud that billows across the landscape and once you step into it, it’s very likely you will get turned around. It’s a graphically realistic addition that proves worthwhile in both singleplayer and multiplayer as you move from cover to cover under fire. While the graphics of COD are not “Wow”, they certainly are easy on the eyes. And as a premier launch game that isn’t a rehashed port from the Xbox, it shows in the slick presentation and smooth framerate.
The Medal of Honor series tries to incorporate a story into the mix, but COD has smartly opted for a fuller experience of war rather than the limited viewpoint. Three campaigns are spread across world with the Russians defending their cities, the British gaining a foothold in the African theatre with their tank and infantry divisions, and the famous D-Day assault for the Americans. Each is unique in their perspective and offer different variants of gameplay, ranging from open urban combat in Russia to tank warfare in the deserts of Africa to the storming of the beach of D-Day.
The sound is fantastic and realistic, from the impact of bullet on ground and the resulting puff of dirt to the orders and calls of your fellow soldiers. Mortars will shake your floors if you have the sound system for it and you can sense the direction of enemy fire by listening. Each weapon has their distinctive tune which, I would assume, are close to their real-life counterparts. The M1 Garand, for example, is recognizable by its slow rate of fire, the distinctive CRACK!, followed by the ping of an empty magazine.
Also, the environmental audio is spot on as well so if you’re walking on wood, your footsteps will be hollow and loud as you rush through a house. And if you’re patrolling an open stretch of road, your gear will shake against your body and reveal your position if you’re moving too fast. If you play enough singleplayer and delve into Xbox Live, you can easily determine what your enemies are using and where they are. That’s how realistic and thoughtful the sound is in this game.
Multiplayer. It’s the meat, the potatoes, AND the dessert. It’s not the icing on the cake or the cake under the single-player icing. It’s a separate entity from the game due its stability and fun factor. Yes, it offers split screen and system link, but Xbox Live is the place to be for some old-fashioned shoot-em up, bang bang. There are five modes of competitive shooting: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Headquarters, Capture the Flag, and Search and Destroy.
If you’re more like me and fancy the adrenaline rush of headshots and one for all attitude, deathmatch. If you like team communication and tactical gameplay with others, everything else fits the bill. I’ve heard about the lag issue in this game, but fortunately, I bought this game AFTER the patch was issued and have experienced very minor lag about twice in 15-20 matches. And I live in Alaska, so the patch is a very good thing for those in the rest of the states (except possibly Hawaii). Each map falls under a separate category, ranging from the close quarter battles of towns to the sniper weary vastness of Russian cities. It’s very diversified and 13+ maps are more than enough to keep the variety fresh.
This is a tactical game that can be run and gun. I must stress this point. A bullet (notice the singular) can kill in this game. Most games tag this on their case (Ghost Recon, pretty much all Tom Clancy games and their clones) yet COD does this without even advertising it. For proof of evidence, if you happen upon a camping sniper who’s unaware of your presence, shoot him in the head with your pistol. One shot and he’s dead.
What other game allows the PISTOL for a one shot kill in multiplayer? This is a great counterpoint to run and gunners and lucky sprays. Accuracy is key. Anything more than five bullets to the torso and you cry foul, it’s because you suck at aiming. It’s a guarantee that two shots to the chest with a rifle will bring the man down. So while you may encounter a room full of camping snipers and trench gun runners, you can always neutralize them with smart manuevers, steady aiming, and accurate shots.
Now, let’s discuss the cons of this game. It’s very small, but notable. The enemy AI in single-player is smart enough to be respected, but flawed enough for you to realize you’re playing against a programmed enemy. Not only does the enemy target you and you alone while in a crowd of 5 or more soldiers, but your soldiers will seem to miss when the enemy is standing less than 10 feet away.
The voice acting is true and authentic, but becomes repetitive as you continue the game. If there was one thing FPS are known for, it’s the linear battlefield. It is apparent in COD, but not as bad as you may think. At moments in the game, you are presented with different routes to attack the enemy and they have their advantages and drawbacks. Infinity Ward tries their best to relieve the sense of linearity and it almost works. Almost.
In conclusion, Call of Duty 2 is a great WW2 shooter, but not without its minor flaws. The single-player is fun, rewarding, and challenging, and the lag-free multiplayer with its 13+ maps and numerous weapons and modes, makes this game a great addition to any FPS’s library.