Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 11/17/05 | Genre: FPS
Call of Duty is arguably the best World War 2 title that has ever been developed and released. The popularity of this shooter franchise has been seen on both consoles and the PC. However, it is on the PC where this First Person Shooter really shines. With the release of Call of Duty 2, Developer Infinity Ward sought to include even more realistic gameplay in an epic storyline that will leave you breathless until the end.
As the player begins each mission, a video from the Military Channel provides you with the historical setting for the level. Once the actual gameplay begins, players will instantly be in awe of the graphics... That is if you have the horsepower to run CoD2. Even using the "Optimal" requirements from the box will cause your game to slow down from time to time during the journey. To ensure the best possible performance, you really need to have at least 1 GB of RAM and at least 128 MB on your Video Card. On the processor side, a P4 2.4 GHz or better seems to get the job done. However, depending on your setup and hardware performance, your gameplay experiences may differ.
I did notice that some textures seem to be a less sharp up close. This is a minor complaint and due to the frantic gameplay, one you probably won't notice very often. Besides this the graphics are just incredible. From the landscape, explosions, smoke effects (from smoke grenades and explosions), Call of Duty 2 is just a gorgeous game.
One of my favorite new gameplay features is the lack of a health bar. Not only does this add quite a bit of realism to the game by giving you a cinematic feel, it also ensures you aren't constantly searching for a health pack around every corner. The way this new system works is as you take hits, you will see red around the edge of the screen and your vision will start to get blurry. This is your cue to hide and stay out of fire. After a short while your vision will return and you can go back to fighting again. While some may disagree with my opinion of this new system, I find it to be a great way to keep players in the action and not worrying about health packs. Expect other WW2 shooters to utilize this in their next installments.
There are a total of 10 missions available to players. On the regular difficulty, this should take roughly 10 hours to complete. However, by raising the difficulty level players will find that there are many more challenges in store for them. You will have to move around much slower, be careful when coming out to fire on the enemy, and play much more like you would expect these soldiers to in a real battle. Due to the gameplay having a slower pace in the harder difficulty level, it will extend the gameplay time quite a bit.
During the course of Call of Duty 2, players will play three different soldiers for the Allied Nations. You will start of as a Russian Private who is fighting off the invading Germans. After you complete these missions, you will then be able to unlock the British missions where you fight in North Africa. After completing these missions, the final one will open up. Players will get to control an American Corporal in the invasion of D-Day. However, you have never played D-Day like this in any other game. You will have to scale cliffs of Pointe de Hoc as you are avoiding gunfire. All in a days work!
I really enjoyed the gameplay being broken up between these three different Allied Nations. Some may have preferred the game following one character through all of the missions. Perhaps we will see an expansion pack that will add even more content to all three Allied Nations.
The last aspect of Call of Duty 2 we will discuss is the multiplayer. This is without a doubt the mode of gameplay that players enjoy the most. In CoD2, you will find deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and search and destroy modes. In search and destroy, one team is defendeing while the other is attempting to plant a bomb and destroy one of two locations. These modes were also available in the original Call of Duty and are still an absolute blast to play. The new mode included in CoD2 is headquarters. Here players join on teams and must setup new headquarters, keep the enemy from destroying them, and attempt to destroy their headquarters. It is a very enjoyable feature and will probably become a new favorite for players.
Overall, Call of Duty 2 shines as a great shooter. While you may not have the horsepower needed to fully enjoy this game, it is still one of the best shooters of the year. I fully expect the Xbox 360 version to resolve any hardware limitations of your PC. So if you can't run it on the PC, check back for our full Xbox 360 review of Call of Duty 2.