Call of Duty 2
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
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.
If there’s one thing really against Call of Duty 2 is the fact
that the game is really, really short and the last few missions are
just ok. I installed the game on a Saturday morning and the end credits
rolled Sunday afternoon. In between, the game took me roughly six hours
from start to finish on regular difficulty. Towards the end, the
missions do get a little stale in flavor. The American campaign’s
probably the least favorite of the three for me. If you’re a seasoned
FPS gamer, I suggest taking on one of the two higher difficulty levels
as the regenerative health design makes it really too easy for those
types of gamers.
I was pleasantly surprised by the artificial intelligence in the game.
The Germans will lay down cover fire and fall back to covered positions
as you advance on them. If you’re trying to hide out in an area,
they’ll try and throw grenades to flush you out. Enemies will take up
machine guns that have been left free after you take down the gunner so
they won’t stay unmanned for long. Even some of the dying Germans will
pull out a pistol and try to shoot you a few more times until they die
or you put a bullet into them. The enemy AI will give you a fight,
that’s for sure. On the opposite side, your squad mates do a very good
job of taking out the enemy. You don’t have to baby sit them and there
are times where you can hang back and bit and have them clear the path
for you. You won’t be left by yourself for long as there seems to be a
steady supply of teammates as they go down. Call of Duty 2 is about squad action and it wouldn’t be a good squad game if you run out of squad mates.
Multiplayer options will extend the shelf life of this game and there
are the usual modes. Multiplayer modes include deathmatch, team
deathmatch, capture the flag, search and destroy, and headquarters. In
headquarters, you capture and defend points on the map. Search and
destroy is similar to Counterstrike where you have to destroy an
objective with explosives while those defending can defuse the bomb you
plant. The regenerating health isn’t really a factor here as most human
players who get a bead on you will take you out. When running head on
into another person, you can be sure that one will go down. During my
testing, I never found time to just be able to sit and heal after
taking a few hits. The compass also notifies anyone within listening
distance of a firefight. While the notifications do fade quickly,
you’ll be sure that once you get done with one person, another will
come strolling along to investigate the sounds and try and take you
out. It’s too bad there aren’t any anti-cheating mechanisms currently
as the servers are running rampant with them right now. If you can,
play with friends you know won’t be using a hack as the game is really
fun with a few people.
Infinity Ward's new engine really makes Call of Duty 2 shine. From the incredible smoke effects to highly detailed textures, Call of Duty 2's
graphics really make you feel like your right in the middle of a war.
The models this time around have a lot more variety. From the various
shapes and genders, there's enough of a difference so to make it a
little less redundant. Yes, the Russian campaign feature some women
fighting along with you. I might be mistaken but I think this is a
first for a single player WWII first person shooter. The clothing looks
a lot better with the higher resolution textures and the way they move.
The architecture in the environments of the game is really well done.
You’ll feel like you’re in a worn torn city in the Russian scenario.
Between crumbling cities and the various debris that litters the area,
Infinity Ward has really got an eye for modeling realistic cities. As
with the clothing, the textures really set this game apart in making
very eye catching environments.
Besides the modeling, Infinity Ward’s eye towards creating an immersive
environment also extends to the action that happens around you. You’ll
see planes fly over head dropping bombs, a jeep convoy carrying
soldiers into the fight being taken down, and gun fire shooting to the
skies off in the distance to name a few. The attention to detail on
these aspects really sets the series apart from the others. Infinity
Ward was always good at creating a complete war environment and the
combination of great graphics and scripted events makes this happen in Call of Duty 2.
Smoke grenades have always been a hit or miss but no game comes close to doing it right like Call of Duty 2.
When you throw a grenade out, the area around it slowly fills up with
volumetric smoke. It's the most realistic smoke I've seen in a game.
The effect is quite beautiful to watch and quite effective. I found
myself using the smoke grenade a lot in multiplayer games to facilitate
a get away or crossing a path that’s being guarded by a manned machine
War happens in dirty environments and the engine also depicts this by
having a lot of debris and smoke fly up. Whether from explosions or gun
shots to the ground, you’ll see a lot of dirt and smoke kicked up. The
dirt, when kicked up, will linger in the air and dissipate
realistically. Like out of Saving Private Ryan, the enemy
gun fire will fill your area with vision impairing dirt and the game
engine really does a wonderful job in producing this effect.
One of the missions that show off the nice lighting effect that the
game has has you crawling through a pipe. As you traverse the pipe,
Germans will occasionally shoot at the pipe to try and flush you out.
Each shot will produce a bullet hole where a ray of light will shine
through. It's very cool effect and another example that shows the
engine has improved over the last game.
The sound's really well done from the gun shots to the ambient sounds
and explosions throughout the game. Each gun sounds powerful and each
gun blast is very pronounced. Since you're almost never alone in the
game, you'll hear plenty of chatter from both your enemies and your
friends. The Germans will communicate each other in their language as
well. To help immerse you into the environment, you'll hear a lot of
gunfire and explosions that are off in the distance. The ambient war
sounds really make you feel like you're surrounded by activity.
Infinity Ward has succeeded in making a very worthy follow up to the original. Call of Duty 2
kicks the series up a notch with great graphics, intense missions, and
awesome sound effects. The problems of being very short and some
staleness in the end with the missions shouldn’t stop you from playing
this game. It might get more buzz from being an Xbox 360 launch title,
but the PC version of Call of Duty 2 doesn’t disappoint. If you
have the machine to run the game, you’ll be rewarded with some great
first person World War II fun. Now, where’s the announcement about an
It's more of what you loved in the first game but it's really short. The multiplayer aspect will add some life to the game though.
Rating: 8.7 Very Good
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.
I'm married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.