A good series entry
Call of Duty 2 published in 2005 and developed by Infinity Ward is a great entry in the Call of Duty Series. The game doesnt elevate itself to be the ascension of the FPS genre onto the next generation of consoles, but the game is rock solid.
In Call of Duty 2 you will be playing as four different soldiers through three very unique campaigns. The Soviet missions take place in the snowy depths of Russia all the way through the epic march and recapturing of Stalingrad. The Soviet missions focus mostly on pushing towards enemy locations and strongholds with infantry combat. In the second campaign, the British campaign, you play as two different soldiers. The British campaign focuses more on tank battles and escorts, as well as manning stationary weapons and heavier weapons. The last campaign is the American campaign, and it focuses on pushing through the German lines all the way from Normandy, France to Germany. Having previously played Call Of Duty Finest Hour on the Playstation 2, I was expecting the story elements in Call of Duty 2 to be a lot better than they were. Finest Hour had a great story that tapped into the emotions of the playable soldiers, but Call of Duty 2 lacks that kind of emotional tie. Instead Call of Duty 2 focuses more on portraying the overall war, and it does an effective job at telling the story of the war. The story is mostly told through set pieces in the game engine, but there are also generic real life footage of the war to introduce each of the campaigns. The story let me down a little bit, and I was just expecting more from it. The story that is there is presented well.
Each of the missions and levels are designed well. Various locations are visited from the snowy Russian terrain to the vast deserts of Africa. All of the weapons in the game are also designed very realistically, and you can tell the difference in guns between each other. For example the BAR rifle has a ton of recoil when fired, and all of the guns reload how they would in real life. The gunplay in Call of Duty is really great and is probably the highlight of the game. The game just plays really well and it is fun to run through all of the missions. The game also keeps changing the way set pieces are done to mix it up quite a bit. There is a really nice balance between sitting back and defending, pushing forward into enemy lines, taking out enemy vehicles, and fighting from vehicles yourself. The campaign will last about 8 hours or so on normal, and playing the game on veteran difficulty will test your might as a gamer. I was only able to get up to the American campaign on Vet, and then I gave up and couldn't take anymore. Due to the many deaths and toughness of the game on Vet it would take at least 12 hours to get through. There isn't much replayability to Call of Duty 2, but playing through the game on normal is worth doing every so often especially when you are looking to play a really solid shooter again. Besides the core gunplay, the tank missions perform really well. Getting use to driving the tank will take a little while, but once you figure it out you will be blowing up the German tanks with ease. In Finest Hour as I previously mentioned almost half the game was played in a tank and it was way too much. In Call Of Duty 2 about 5% of the game is spent in a tank. I was glad they scaled back the tank missions, but I wish there was more tank missions in Call of Duty 2. The game also had online multiplayer, but at the time of this review no one is playing. I remember playing a few matches a few years ago and from what i remember the multiplayer was good but nothing really special.
The graphics in Call of Duty 2 are pretty good for it's time being an early xbox 360 release. The enemies and environments look really good, with the best visual part of the game easily being the levels themselves. Vehicles also look pretty good such as the tanks and airplanes that will fly overhead. As a whole though I feel like the game could have looked better and had crisper visuals. Explosions look only okay and are nothing special. The audio in the game is really outstanding. The music score to the game is pretty good and fits the triumph and tribulations of the war. The sound effects are really good and all of the guns sound great. The best sounds however are the squad communications between your squad mates. The voice acting is really tremendous.
Overall Call of Duty 2 is a rock solid First Person Shooter that does a great job of portraying various aspects of the second world war. I can easily recommend it to anyone interested in the genre, and the game holds up surprisingly well for being seven years old.
4 stars (8.0)