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Infinity Ward
Activision
Shooter
1-4
11.22.05

Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360)


Call of Duty 2 arrives at the launch of Xbox 360. Call of Duty 2 is set up just like the original Call of Duty for Xbox, in the sense that in single player, you will be fighting from 3 different perspectives. The 3 main campaigns are: Russian, British, and American. Call of Duty 2 is a first person shooter, and the whole gameplay experience has been taken to a whole new level, and Infinity Ward and Activision may just have the best selling Xbox 360 launch title to date. There is a reason it's the best seller, it's because it's that damn good.

Gameplay

You start off my popping the Call of Duty 2 disc in your Xbox 360, and see that the single player experience immediately puts you in awe. The teammate AI is ridiculous! Let's say you are in a fire fight, but you feel the courage to take a chance. So you charge ahead. Your squad will follow right behind you. This was something I was not expecting. This changes the entire way first person shooters are played. Both the single player and multiplayer levels are set up very realistically. You can pretty much find cover if you look for it, and I think that is a key aspect of this game. During gameplay, you can jump over ledges just by pressing A. You can't jump over every ledge, but it is satisfying to see this feature in the game, which only adds to the realism. You will have to do everything it takes to get to the final battle in this game, even if it means picking up enemy weapons. Besides unique weapons/guns for each Allied campaign (British, Russian, and American), you have the ability to pick up any type of enemy gun or grenade. It's pretty much a given that you will at least pick up enemy grenades. There's always a point in time in just about every mission where Infinity Ward came up with a clever way to surprise you and catch you off guard. They also followed the traditional way of showing real history clips to help you capture the moment, just like the other Call of Duty games.

During some intense battles, I had a couple of initial problems seeing who I was shooting at. I killed my own men a couple of times, only because the Russians and certain German troops look so similar. The same thing happened in the British campaign. That's just how war is I guess, but thankfully I slowly learned the differences in troops. The one thing that you need to remember is that Call of Duty 2 is non-stop heart pumping action both online and off. Invading beaches, clearing out houses, blowing up tanks, and so many other situations make this one hell of an experience. There were many situations where I was thinking, "how am I going to get out of this?!" There's a lot of yelling, and Sergeant's will sometimes give you orders while under heavy fire. Most of the time you know where you have to go, and won't get frustrated or lost. This is due to the fact that there is a gold star around the compass on the HUD. The gold star symbolizes where the next objective is. Even though the game pretty much follows a straight path, most of the time when breaking through enemy lines the experience is totally different.

One of the most important things that I feel is a must in any war game is that you have to be with a squad. Call of Duty 2 makes this happen, as your fellow comrades are with you and will help you get through the war. One feature that I want to point out is that there is no health meter. If you are taking fire badly, your character will start to move slow, have a fast heart beat, and your vision will be blurred. Once you get to a safe spot and take cover, you can wait a little bit to regain your strength, and you’re good to go. This keeps the game moving, and another reason you will not become irritated.

The overall controls are simple, and any shooter fan will pick this up and learn the controls within the first 5 minutes. Swapping weapons, crouching, going prone, melee attacks, throwing a specific type of grenade (smoke/frag), are all done with ease. Using your binoculars is another neat feature that was put into this game. At any time to see further ahead, you can click in the right thumbstick, and your character will put down his weapon and take a peak at what's ahead. The binoculars are dirty from fighting in the war, and there are black spots and you can't see everything perfectly, which is a very nice touch.

The main core of the game is single player, but Call of Duty 2 packs in multiplayer modes that allow you to play split-screen matches (1-4 players) on the same system. The split screen options are Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, CTF, Headquarters, and Search and Destroy. While these modes are fun to play with buddies using split screen, nothing compares to the online play. Team Deathmatch, and Headquarters can become very extreme while playing online.

Graphics

I've never seen snow this good in a videogame, ever. It's not just the snow, but the world that Call of Duty 2 puts you in is something so real and lifelike. The smoke from your gun, the debris in the wind, the shots being fired at walls, bullet holes being made right in front of your face, the breath of soldiers breathing when it's cold out, dust kicking up from the road, fire, heat effects over the horizon, and many more things make this game exciting. A brick wall, looks just like an actual brick wall with no question. As your playing, all you will notice and see is crisp and clean graphics. These graphics have never been seen on a console before. The graphics are bright, clear, and give you a good initial feel what the 360's is capable of. The visuals just want to make you stop for a second to admire and remind yourself just how impressive they are. Bullet shells bouncing all over the place is a detail that I personally find to be a favorite.

The graphics while playing online do not change from the single player goodness. I often thought to myself, “do the online multiplayer levels look better than the single player campaign?” The answer is, either way the graphics are solid all around.

Sound

The sound effects are right on the money here. The sound heard when walking on different surfaces, such as snow is flawless. Every other moment, such as when planes are flying by, grenades exploding, squad mates yelling out what is up ahead, all combine to make up one heck of an environment. Some missions don't have any music playing, and all you'll hear is warfare. However, for the levels that do have a soundtrack playing, it suits them perfectly, and keeps you on edge.

Replay Value

The fun factor of this game is through the roof. Once online, players can choose a quick match or a custom match. Then you can get into an 8-player online battle. The online play is pretty much my favorite aspect of this title. After you get killed online, there is this feature called "Killcam". It shows you exactly how you died, and what the person did to kill you. It's a great feature, when you have no idea whatsoever on how you died. From what I learned, it's always a lot less frustrating when you know how you died rather then just dying for an unknown reason. Thanks to the Xbox 360 achievements (if you care about them), you will probably find yourself playing this title a lot in the single player. With great online play, and enough to make you play the single player campaign a few times, gives this game a lot of replay value.

Bottom Line:

I can't think of a better game war FPS that makes use of every aspect possible. The screams of fellow comrades, to the entire feel of the game (and of course to the graphics), make this one heck of a way to start your 360 gaming with. Call of Duty 2 is war at its finest. Multiplayer in Call of Duty 2 is “off the hook” in plain words. It's intense, non-stop, even with only 8 players. There's no other way to put it, this game is amazing, and it's the most realistic war game to date. Call of Duty 2 is the best Xbox 360 launch title.

Related Links:

Official Call of Duty 2 Website

-Steve Melanson




9.2
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