Call of Duty 2

Review

posted 12/1/2005 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
The original Call of Duty was one of my favorite PC games a few years ago. It's actually one of the few that I've played through multiple times. Infinity Ward has come back with a brand new engine and more single player goodness with Call of Duty 2. Is it a worthy sequel to the original? Let’s find out.

Call of Duty 2 takes you through three tours in the Russian, British, and American campaign. Between the three you will go through 27 missions in various environments. From the worn torn cities in Russia to the desert combat in Egypt, Call of Duty 2’s mission structure is very similar to the original. Like the first game, you will go through the wars in the eyes of three different Super Powers and experience different types of missions in the three. Each campaign offers unique environments giving you a nice variety of areas to fight in.

A change from the original is that a lot of the missions let you achieve the objectives in any order you wish. The compass will show you where the objectives are and it’s up to you to decide on the order to finish them. Do I take the objectives in the order presented or do I veer off the path? It does add some to the replay value and one that I really enjoy since this series is one of the few I play through multiple times. Some of the missions will change the second time around as well such as the Russian mission where you hunt down a sniper. The first timed I played, my comrade told me he was in the red building. After a restart from having a sniper bullet take my head out, my comrade now told me he was in the gray building. These changes and branching mission paths offer flexibility and replay value to Call of Duty 2.

During the course of the game, you’ll also be able to switch between the three campaigns after finishing a few missions of the Russian campaign. The American campaign will be unlocked as well after a few missions into the British campaign. If you’re stuck in one mission in one campaign, try the other one until you want to go back. This helps curb down the frustration factor as you’re not stuck in one. After you finish all the missions, you are free to go back and play any of them. So if you want to partake in the really cool D-Day mission, you don’t have to rely on a save file or go through the single player game again.

Ground combat encompasses the majority of the missions available with a few vehicle missions rolled in there. You’ll get the chance to drive a tank convoy in the British campaign and they are some of the best missions in the game. My favorite vehicle stage has got to be when you, your commanding officer, and one of your squad mates takes control of a German vehicle and partake on an action packed romp through the city. Not only are there plenty of close moments, but the dialogue is pretty funny as well.

There's never a dull moment in the Call of Duty games with the intense action from start to end. That's what I always liked about the series. In the second installment, you'll participate in plenty of firefights. Like the original, there’ll be some missions where wave after wave of Germans are trying to storm your defended post. You won’t be able to sit still long as you’ll be constantly moving from different positions to make sure the Germans don’t get through. One of the most intense missions in the game is one where you are constantly pushed back. In a real war, there are times where you have no choice but to fall back and this one particular mission really puts you in a tough spot. It’s intense, exciting, heart pounding action that really defines what the Call of Duty series is about.

The guns are pretty much the same from the first game and like the first game, I found myself using the German guns more since I could find ammo a lot easier. A nice little addition to sniping though is the ability to hold your breath. When scoped, you’ll see your aim slowly move around but once you hold down the SHIFT key it steadies out from you holding your breath. Holding it too long though will result in you breathing out heavily and having your aim go nuts before settling down. It’s a small addition to sniping but one that I really liked.

You know in my article on an FPS world, I complained about how walls with a height of 3 feet will stop you dead in your tracks. Call of Duty 2 thankfully features an ability to leap over obstacles. When you walk up to an area where you can climb over, a symbol will appear letting you know you can jump over and continue on your way. It’s a great way to get over bunker walls and window sills. No longer will your progress be impaired by a tiny little structure in front of you.

A weird decision by Infinity Ward was to eliminate all health boxes and have your health regenerate making it a more console like experience. If you take a good number of hits, just sit behind some obstacles and you’ll automatically heal in a very short amount of time. Since you are almost always in a group, I would’ve liked to have seen you heal by walking up to a medic in the group. It would’ve added a little more strategy to the game in my opinion. But because you’re pretty much like Wolverine, I never strayed from doing a few charges into a few gun fights. On the higher difficulty settings, the shots will do more damage so while you do heal automatically, you won’t be able to take as many shots. The design does take away from some of the realism of the game, but I didn’t find it too distracting of a change. The amount of time you’d spend hunting for a med kit that you passed up earlier is negated and you’re into the action a lot more. Some will like it the decision while I think the more hardcore gamers will not.

Another feature that’s more console-ish is the fact that you can’t save the game anywhere you like. There are save points, but the frequency of the points are spaced good enough that you won’t fall back too far if you do die. I would’ve liked to have seen a more flexible save system as I’m not a big fan of save points myself.
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