As gamers we are subjected to many different games. It appears that within the past five years, most of those games are from the WWII genre. So here comes a sequel to a very good WWII First Person Shooter. Here comes Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360.Call of Duty 2 (COD2 from now on) is already available (and very good) on the PC platform. The Xbox 360 version is pretty much the same, you have three single player campaigns as Russian, British, and American soldiers. This is nothing new to the genre - what the game does, however, is play well. It’s addictive and fun. Let’s hit on the details briefly.
The controls are the biggest obstacle for a PC gamer like myself. You can’t beat the mouse and keyboard. COD2 for the Xbox 360 does a superb job in porting the sticks. I didn’t have as much of an issue as I normally do. Granted, I can’t play quite as well as I could w/ a true mouse, but I was very impressed with the team and how they handled the controller for the 360.
The graphics are just as good as a high-end PC. The smoke looks amazing, there is heat fog (basically how the air around a heat source will warp the visuals slightly), and best of all there is NO slowdown in the game.
The sounds and music in the game are, as usual, phenomenal. With a surround sound system, you hear the bullets and bombs going off all around you; it’s a very visceral experience. The normal chatter from your fellow soldiers is also important this time around. They don’t just spew random garbage; they alert you like a real soldier would. They warn you of the tank squad to the east, or that troops are on the second floor, this game will suck you in, and the sounds and music are just an extension of that.
The single player, as stated, is very good. The game is still linear at heart. It’s not quite as linear as COD1, because you get a few choices here and there about which way to attack, and with all the chaos of war you don’t notice as much that you are plowing straight ahead the whole game.
The biggest change from COD1 is that there are no longer any health meters, or pickups. If you get shot a few times, your eyes get a blurry red peripheral to them, and if you can get to safety for a few seconds, you will regenerate back to full health. If you cannot seek shelter when you get the red vision - you will die. This is nice because it doesn’t take you out of the experience to go get health pickups. The problem, however, is that real WWII soldiers don’t regenerate. It’s not a game-destroyer, and I like the idea of no heath bar on your HUD, but I’m not sure about the regenerative capabilities of your average WWII trench runner.
Don’t worry though, because on Veteran, this game is HARD. You get Xbox accomplishment points for a few things in the game, but to get the majority of them, you really need to beat the entire single player campaign on Veteran mode, and you will die a LOT.
If I may point out here, that for being next generation, we’re still relying on the unlimited enemies. You kill a sniper on the 2nd floor, well unless you move forward, that sniper will respawn (or another will take its place - whatever) forever. This is a cheap trick; it’s not realistic for a game that is pretty realistic in most of its other presentation.
There’s not a lot that I’ve said about COD2 that’s negative… Until we get to the multiplayer portion of the review. Four player split screen is nice, I like when games give me that option. The online experience, however, is a mixed bag.
Firstly, about half of the games I join online I have to quit because the lag is so bad. This almost makes multiplayer not worth wasting your time on. Once you get into a game, it’s a great experience unless you get a pinhead who is singing into the mic. The game doesn’t show who’s speaking when someone talks. To see this, you have to quickly hit the “show players” button to see the little microphone moving next to their name.
Normally you solve this by only playing w/ folks on your friend list. Well, the problem is that there is not a true lobby, nor is there any sort of “friend reservation” or private game creation. You make a game, and hope your pals join before Johnny Noname does. This is a HUGE oversight on the part of the developers. The best part of the Xbox 360 is Live, and they really really dropped the ball on the game setup. Again, once you get into a game you will have a blast with deathmatch, capture the flag, seek and destroy, and team deathmatch modes. It’s just that out of 10 games, you’ll get into a good one about 3-4 times. That’s a pretty low percentage. Supposedly a patch will be released over Live to fix these issues, but who knows.
In conclusion, I love Call of Duty 2. The single player is one of those games that grabs onto you and doesn’t let go. The multiplayer online is not too swift, but when you CAN get into a game w/ your pals (use split screen until then) it’s a blast. Do I think it’s worth the extra $10 for the 360 version? No - not if you have a PC that has some horsepower, but if you don’t have that PC, then this is a must-have title for the 360.
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