Call of Duty 2 Review

Developer: Infinity Ward Publisher: Activision
Release Date: October 18, 2005 Also On: PC and Xbox 360

The Call of Duty 2 single-player pre-release demo was released, and I just had to get my hands on it. I’m happy to say its better than I even expected. I played the original Call of Duty, and had a great time with it, but even then, its engine was only a little better than what was out there. What really set Call of Duty apart was its method of storytelling and unique take on the WWII FPS game.

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I expected, (stupidly) a sequel on the same engine, like most of the other first person shooters, so after installing the demo I went to the preferences and slapped everything on “Uber High� graphic settings, but upon starting the demo, realized that that was a bad idea; a bad idea indeed. After I realized that the game wasn’t supposed to run at 8 frames per second, I used the built-in graphics optimizer, which set everything down to about medium (keep in mind I’m playing this on a brand new gaming PC).

Anyway, about the game; even though the engine is new, at first glance, it feels like any other WWII FPS. You’ve got your classic guns, your grenades, your binoculars. You can right click to look down the sights to aim, and you can crouch, crawl, stand; you know, the norm. And really, Call of Duty 2 isn’t about redefining the game; it’s about taking what they knew works, and making it better. The game feels the same as COD1, but is on a fancy new engine. The obvious advantage to that is you don’t have to learn any new button configurations or Gameplay styles. And although the Gameplay is supposed to be very similar to COD1, it’s a lot more fun. I don’t think I can pin it on one thing, but the Gameplay is more fun, more addictive.

The AI is improved, so if there is a group of, say 12 Germans in a building, and you kill all of them but 1, he’s likely to hide somewhere inside rather than acting like none of his comrades are corpses. Also they are much better with the gunplay itself. They’ll shoot and duck, and move like you would expect a real human to; they know when they are outnumbered. One thing I could never really figure out through the duration of this demo, however, is the health. You can be shot a few times, and then the edges of the screen beat red and a message appears “You are hurt, find shelter�; time to find a medkit, right? Nope. A medic? Your health, from what I can see, just regenerates. There is no health bar, but I think it’s something like 5 bullets to get into seek shelter mode, then 2 more to die.

The graphics are sweet. The character models are detailed and unique, but the real thing that makes the graphics in this game stand out are not the models, or the textures, but the visual effects. It makes the gameplay more fun and believable when the smoke looks real, and when the screen might blur a bit when you are hurt or aiming. Call of Duty 2 also sports some new visual effects, like the “heat haze� effect, and lots of dust and particle effects.

One gripe I had about this demo wasn’t really about the game at all. The demo is nearly 700 megabytes but can be beaten in less than 5 minutes, if you know what you’re doing. That’s just sick. However, I must say, this demo was worth every minute of waiting. Call of Duty 2 expands on every aspect of the original, and looks and sounds great. Obviously this preview was written on the PC, (COD2 is coming to Xbox 360 as well) but I know for sure that I will be picking up a copy of Call of Duty 2 on release day.

Written by Dave

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