Call of Duty 2 begins with the first of the four protagonists that will be your eyes in ears through the sliver of World War 2 the game depicts. As Private Vasili Ivanovich Koslov, of the 13th Guards Rifle Division, your journey begins near Moscow in the winter of 1943. The mission opens with a cut scene using war footage provided by the Military Channel that gives a brief run down of the war to this point. The mission itself begins with standard FPS training in the form of a quick Soviet weapons training camp. You’ll find little pieces of history throughout this game, and it begins here as Vasili uses potatoes for grenade training. Real grenades were far too valuable in the World War 2 era USSR to be used in training.
As weapons training wraps up Cpl. Sergei Litvinov approaches to inform your commander that a spy has been captured. The spy dishes out the dirt that a surprise attack is imminent, and thus begins the first battle in Call of Duty 2. The game takes you through the war in historical order: first you play the Soviets, desperately fending off the Germans in Moscow and Stalingrad. Upon completing the Soviet leg of missions, you’ll unlock the British set, which finds you fighting against the Desert Fox, Rommel, in the deserts of North Africa. After that is off to the well tread area of the D-Day invasion, with a twist. You won’t be braving Utah or Omaha in this game, rather you will be 3 miles west of Omaha, as part of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, securing the coastal guns on the top of the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc.
Action In All Theatres
The game features several advancements from the original Call of Duty. The health bar is gone, instead of that the screen tinges red when you are hit. When you are badly wounded the screen flashes red around the edges rapidly. Smoke grenades are added to the game, an indispensable tool for advancing when the enemy is entrenched in positions capable of covering an area with superior firepower. The graphical effect of the smoke is very well done.
The overall environment of Call of Duty is extremely well done. The machine the game was reviewed on was an Athlon AMD 3500+ 2.21 Ghz processor, 1 GB Ram, GForce 6800 GT with 256 MB of RAM and a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS. The graphics are very close to top notch, with no noticeable performance issues. The soundtrack is well done, every bullet and explosion adding to the intensity level of the game.
Each of the three campaigns brings both memorable moments and unique challenges. As Vasili you’ll next be required to participate in assault with the intent to blow up a building. If you play the game as it is meant to be played, on the harder difficulty settings, you’ll find tactical combat and prolonged firefights a necessity. After clearing out the building you are in, then engaging in fascist forces across the road in the other building, you will find yourself in a snow trench, allowing for concealed movement towards your objective. Panzers, unaware of your presence, drive over the trenches in one of the games many thrilling moments. After clearing the snow trench into the next building, you’ll find yourself defending an all out counter attack by the Germans.
This type of intense action is common to what you will find not only throughout the Soviet campaign, but also throughout the rest of the game.
The British missions begin in 1942 with the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa. As Sergeant John Davis of the 7th Armored Division, you’ll participate in an attack on a remote supply dump 25 miles south of El Alamein in an effort to pull the Germans away from their strong points to the north. The desert warfare provides a unique set of challenges, and as always you will have your squad with you. After the battle you will jump ahead to the year 1943 and play as Commander David Welsh, “Fox Three”, commanding a tank in Fox group in north eastern Libya. These classic battles put the brute strength of the heavily armored German panzers vs. the smaller yet more maneuverable British Crusader tank. To make matters worse, the panzers have a better range of fire. It is up to you along with your fellow tank commanders to outmaneuver the panzers and hit them from the rear and flanks, where their armor is weaker. The tank missions are an immense amount of fun, it is too bad there are not more than two missions. Out in the desert battles can become even more confusing than usual. It is important to stick with your tank group; otherwise you can soon fin yourself surrounded. Sand is kicked up which adds an element of confusion to everything, making it important to check fire before you unwittingly fire on your own troops. The crosshair indicator helps, as it will light green when you have friendly targets in sight and red for the enemy. Even with this, however, decisions need to be made quickly and wasted seconds can be fatal.
After the tank mission, you are back in the infantry supporting 7th armored as John Davis, first helping defeat Rommel in Tunisia, then up in Normandy around the town of Caen. It is really too bad they did not extend the tank missions to cover these areas as well, but that being said there are a lot of challenges, and the intensity is no less for it.
The aforementioned D-Day run at Pointe Du Hoc comes up next. These missions are easily the most intense of any you will face; the sheer impossible odds of D-Day would seem to guarantee that. As Corporal Bill Taylor, the first of many challenges is scaling the high cliffs. A veritable German death trap waits above, for those lucky enough to make it that far. Upon reaching the top it is discovered the coastal guns are not there, with crude look a likes in place to fool Allied bombers. A menacing defense line of trenches, bunkers and heavy guns bear down and hinder the forward progress. Playing this game at the easy levels allows you to John Rambo practically any level in this game. Playing at the harder levels, you get a much better feel for how hard this battle was, how easy it is to get hit and be killed. In war there are no save games, no do-overs. At the harder levels it should become crystal clear to anyone playing this game how much we owe those brave souls that fought this war for are country.
Once you manage your way past the bunkers and trenches, you’ll meet up with the rest of your squad just outside a farm. After a tense battle to clear it out, and the road near it, you will find the coastal guns, and destroy them. A massive German counter attack ensues, forcing the Rangers to fall back to he bunkers along the cliff. In the nick of time reinforcements arrive, allowing you to live to fight another day. Next you are off to capture a local town, which leads to another great moment in this game, as you snipe artillery teams from a German attack from the top of a silo. Following this mission you’ll participate in the battle for Hill 400, near Hurgsten, Germany. Making your way to the top of the hill itself is no small feat, repelling the numerous counter attacks are beyond intense. Again you are forced to snipe enemy mortar teams, often having to use the smoke trails the mortar leaves to locate them. The lines are completely broken however, meaning both friend and foe are on all sides. When you finally make it through hell on the hill, the lone mission set that remains involves crossing the Rhine.
Multi-player offers a variety of modes, as did the original, though I personally found Headquarters to be the most fun. In this mode, two separate areas of the map are denoted as points to be capture by either team. As you control your area, you are given points. This forces both parties to overrun the other to stop the points from adding up.
Contender for the Crown
Overall, what you have is a worthy sequel to a former game of the year. Will Call of Duty recapture the Game of the Year crown? Check back next month as GamerGod awards the best products in the industry.
Graphics are very well done, effects in general are superb. Sound effects are superb.
Game Controls: 9.0
Call of Duty 2 has a very intuitive interface which will be easily mastered by anyone with even a casual knowledge of FPS games.
Replay Value: 7.0
The mission lists gives easy access to replay your favorites. Online value is there, though support from the developer has been an issue, prompting a recent community strike.
Fun Factor: 9.0
Intense historical combat presented in a top notch manner.