Call of Duty

Review

posted 11/10/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC

Speaking of missions, each act has some very memorable moments. If you remember the driving mission in MOH:AA as you drive along slowly taking out the enemy, the mission pales in comparison to how it’s done in Call of Duty. You’ll be riding with two other soldiers and the ride is fast and furious. You’ll be spinning around corners, driving through barricades, and even be chased by bikes. The speed at which you are driven around trying to shake the Nazis from your tail will get your blood pumping. It’s an intense level and offers some great moments. If you’ve ever seen the movie Enemy at the Gates, the Russian missions will be familiar to you. You’ll start out with no weapon, on a boat ride that’s similar to one in MOH:AA with other boats and soldiers dying as you reach your destination in Stalingrad. You’ll be handed some ammo and no weapon. Like Omaha Beach, you’ll have to rush up the beach and get some cover. You’ll be able to pickup a weapon from a fallen comrade in later missions, but the rush of hiding from enemy fire and being a decoy for a fellow sniper is a great experience. Another mission that one ups the MOH:AA one is when you command a tank. Again, you’ll be in a platoon of tanks and the action is pretty intense. Experiencing the battle with some computer allies makes it a lot more fun. You won’t always be wielding a gun in first person mode as you’ll also need to take control of some anti-aircraft guns or some other turret weapon in some missions.

The AI for both the enemy and your allies isn’t too shabby. Enemies will actually take cover and sometimes stay there to ambush you. They also try to poke their head out a lot instead of exposing their body to take a look or open fire at you. It takes a little more accurate shot and some more strategy to root some of the Nazis out but it’s nice to not have them charge at you guns blazing. Your comrades will also take cover when possible or maneuver to try and get a better shot. Their shooting is very competent and offer good cover fire. The enemy snipers are no longer God and can pick you off from a thousand yards away. On the level where you have to take out snipers, you won’t get nearly as frustrated as in MOH:AA as they’ll miss a good amount of time if you’re very far away. They’ll also hit you of course, but you’re given a chance to take them out. While they do hide in some very tight areas, you’ll usually be able to spot them by a muzzle flash. And they all won’t be aiming after you if you have some squad mates running with you. It’s nice not being picked on even by every single opponent and it makes the game a lot more enjoyable when you feel that your allies can take care of you and themselves. They aren’t perfect and will get caught up in situations where you’ll say to yourself, “How could you not see him and why didn’t you open fire?” but for the most part the game does pretty well.

The modified Quake 3 engine’s graphics are top notch. It’s not outstanding and jaw dropping, but what Infinity Ward has done is add many little details. For starters, the faces of the soldiers are different and not carbon copies like in a lot of games. They offer some good expressions, like the frightened faces of Russian soldiers on the boat ride to Stalingrad. You’ll see anti-aircraft fire lighting up the air in the distance. On the run up the beach, you’ll see a good number of soldiers around you trying to reach a safe area. It’s a more impressive site than the Omaha Beach scene in MOH:AA. The chaos that happens around you with bullets kicking up dirt and soldiers dying is visually awesome. Character animations offer some good variety as you’ll see your squad ducking down behind obstacles, leaning against walls, holding their heads as they are bombarded with mortar shells, and hand gestures to each other. Speaking of mortar shells, if you are too close to one when it goes off, the screen becomes very blurry and the sound gets very muted. Everything seems to slow down and you’ll feel like you’re disoriented for the short time that it happens. It’s a neat effect and helps portray the shellshock experience you might get if you’re too close to an explosion. It gives an interesting sense of vulnerability that makes you panic just a bit if there are enemy soldiers near you when it happens. Like I said earlier, it’s these little things that make the game fun to watch and play.

Equally impressive are the level designs. From the tight spaces to the open areas, they are all done well and offer some good architecture. There’s usually some place to hide or some obstacle to take cover behind. It’s a very object populated environment and the textures used help give each level a very polished look.
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