Review by Spike Wullong
"A great WWII shooter."
When Inifinity Ward released the original Call of Duty, many PC players were pleased, however console owners were not as lucky. Another company working under Activision released the sister game, finest hour which was almost 100% different from the original, and lacking in many areas. Well, Call of Duty 2 has released and gamers have been treated to the same ordeal with Big Red One. However, the 360 was treated to a direct port of the PC version, and it transfered over quite well.
Its very difficult to judge this game on graphics, while the upcoming Playstation 3 has shown some incredible gameplay footage, the 360 has been less then spectacular, this being said, Call of Duty features some spectacular graphics, its just far from what one would expect for a next generation title. The models are great and I love the HD Bloom effect that you see at the tops of buildings, other then that, things do get a little bland. The Germans all look identical, the levels in each campaign look very similar, but what can you really expect? This is a war game, you can expect Inifinity Ward to just pull a space station level or something out of nowhere, they worked with what they can, and I think the war nuts that know every last detail of every battle will be quite pleased with the locals. Stalingard looks like Stalingard, thats all that really matters, right?
One thing that is quite amazing about this game: the realism. Playing Veteran mode, the hardest difficulty really feels like your in a war. Okay, I admit I'm exaggerating a tad, but I honostly think the craftsmenship of this game makes it as real as you can get. The gameplay alot like what you would expect from a WWII FPS, you have your teammates and yourself, and you go through various linear missions ducking and covering, sniping, grenading, and shooting at various germans. Theres a huge emphasis on cover in this game, if you're use to games like Unreal Tournament, you won't survive, especially in Veteran mode.
Speaking of Veteran Mode, this game has a great learning curve. The easy mode is easy, the hard mode is REALLY hard, and the normal mode is average. I'm not the best at FPS games to be honost, and I had to resort to the easier difficulties when I got to the end of the game, but after playing through the game I was able to get through it on Veteran and earn the various Achievements. Unlike other games where you have various achievements for doing stunts, collecting things, etc, CoD2 went with a more basica approach, you get 50 points for completing Basic Training, 150 for completing the game, more points for winning on Hardened or Veteran, and an additional 50-60 points for every mission branch you complete on Veteran, so if you play through on easy you can only get a total of 200 points, Training and Winning the war, but if you play through on Veteran you can earn all 1000.
So all I've really said so far was how great the game is, so why did I give it a 8? Well, first off, the multiplayer. The multiplayer is great in theory, I love the gameplay itself, but theres so many unforgiveable flaws. First of, the game lags like crazy, half the time its completley unplayable. Perfect Dark Zero can play bigger maps with as much as 32 players without a single framerate drop, but Call of Duty 2 struggles with small maps of 8 players, plus you really see how overpowered the Sniper Rifle is.
The other major flaw is how repeditive the game gets. By the time you get to the British Campaign you never want to see the game again, at least thats how I felt. Its all the same stuff, There are a few Tank missions, but there so few and oddly placed it just doesn't break the gameplay up well. Instead of giving you a couple Vehicle Missions here and there, they just stuck an entire chapter of it in the middle of the British Campaign, which felt very awkward. And unlike the challenging regular portions of the game, the Tank missions could be breezed through, and were even easier then the first levels.
At this point, this is definitely a great buy, and at this point, its really the only great First Person Shooter for the Xbox 360, I just don't feel it will really stand the test of time and in later years would best be overlooked.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/06
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