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Call of Duty 2 Review
developer: Infinity Ward
PIV 1400, 512MB RAM, ATi Radeon 9200 / GeForce 4
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Oct 25, 05
|» All About Call of Duty 2 on ActionTrip|
It's settled. Done. The only development team that should ever be allowed to make WWII shooters anymore is Infinity Ward. The best way to clear a flooded market is to let the guys who know their stuff monopolize it. As far as fast-paced, action-packed WWII shooters are concerned, I doubt that anyone will do a better job than Infinity Ward, especially after what they pulled off with Call of Duty 2.
Alright comrades. This is where we camp tonight!
I sure hope there aren't any civilians in there.
Sure, the game is not flawless, but as a sequel, it betters the series in many ways, and that is certainly good enough for me.
Once again the story, if you will, centers on soldiers taking part in some of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II. It chronologically follows events that took place from 1941 to 1945, from the perspective of a Russian, British and US soldier. As was the case in the original, players are offered a choice between three "campaigns". Unlike in the original however, where the campaigns were a bit longer and divided into consistent chapters, the campaigns in the sequel are split into missions. Sometimes, by finishing a particular mission in a campaign, you will unlock a mission from a different campaign, giving the players a chance to take a slightly less linear approach to finishing the single-player game. The bad news here is that the single-player appears to be even shorter than in the first game. I realize that the production values of top-notch game projects are constantly increasing and that that in turn means that less and less content can be produced in a specific amount of time, but conceptually speaking, the sequel felt a bit disjointed, like a collection of missions rather than a consistent single-player campaign.
Still, Infinity Ward has more than made up for this downside by truly taking the action itself to the next level. While Call of Duty 2 follows the same principles as its predecessors, it seemed to me like a lot more thought went into designing the levels and making them feel less constrictive, while also providing for enough variety with a smart selection of moody indoor and spectacular looking outdoor locations. Technologically, the sequel is superior to the previous games in almost every way. While I could still spot some odd quirk here and there in regards to the enemy AI, in general, they performed excellently, letting me fully immerse into the gritty atmosphere of the battlefield. However, if you start nitpicking about the accuracy of their shot, you might be in for a slightly less enjoyable ride.
The sound effects once again play a major role in creating the intense combat experience, and the sequel was no different in those regards. One great thing about the sound effects is the much more frequent use of excellently acted battle shouts from both the enemy and friendly troops, giving a much more personal tone to the conflict.
Can't see a thing. Oh well! FIRE!!
Still can't see a thing. What the heck! FIRE!!
Perhaps the biggest advancement over the previous installments was made in the visual department. Performance wise, you'll need at least an NVIDIA 6800 (or an ATI equivalent) to fully experience the quality of the graphics, but if that is the case, then you are truly in for a visual feast. Upon seeing the game at E3 this year, I was reluctant to admit to any major changes in the game engine (even though Infinity Ward made it clear that CoD 2 runs on a new proprietary engine) before I played the demo. But after playing the full game and seeing how effective the use of lighting is, how good the particle effects look, the environments and the much more detailed models, I cannot help but admire at what Infinity Ward has achieved. I will even go out on a limb here and say that I find the animated death sequences more believable than many of the rag doll physics-based death scenes I've seen in other games. If not more realistic, they are certainly more cinematic looking, and that is the name of the game here.
The battles in the sequel may not be more epic in their scope, but they feel and play grander. The level design is more open so that you get a full sense of being on a battlefield, and the use of your vocal squad mates advancing alongside you, ensures further suspension of disbelief for the player. As a side note though, one thing that annoyed me about the squad mates is that there is not enough different models of them. Often, you'll see the same soldier that just died next to you reappear around the corner, encouraging you to fight on.
In a nutshell, while still sticking to the same principles that made the original game so great, in many ways, Call of Duty 2 goes well beyond what Infinity Ward has achieved in Call of Duty. Little things like how you need to hold your breath to shoot a sniper rifle and the use of smoke grenades, as well as the much more significant improvements that deal with the technology and the level design in general, show that Infinity Ward has invested a lot of time and effort into this project. Call of Duty 2 is every bit as nail-bitingly fun as the original and that's a good enough reason for any action fan to get it. Though the single-player campaign is even shorter and feels slightly disjointed, there is always the multiplayer mode to further justify the price tag. I wholeheartedly recommend spending your hard-earned cash on this one. The amazing rollercoaster ride that is the Call of Duty series is well-worth the price of admission.
8.9 Very Good
As spectacular and thrilling as shooters get, visuals, sound effects, much more effective use of voice acting, level design;
Single-player campaign too short and slightly disjointed, minor AI quirks, repetitive character models.
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