Call of Duty 2 – PC – Review

“Live as
brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts.” –

lies in ruins, reduced to rubble by heavy aerial bombardment. The fighting is
intense, waging on narrow streets. Behind the Russian troops are guns waiting to
kill any who retreat from the fighting. Ahead of them are the weapons of the
Third Reich. To move back is to die at the hands of those once called comrades.
There is no choice but to advance into the teeth of the German army, waging a
desperate struggle.

Welcome to
Call of Duty 2, the most intense and intelligent World War II shooter title on
the market. Infinity Ward and Activision are responsible for this dynamic game –
one which assaults the eyes and ears, challenges the mind and reflexes with each
step taken forward in the maelstrom of bullets and explosives, and the chaos
that is war.

“I have
lost count of how many Germans I have killed so far, but I am certain it is not
nearly enough.” – from the diary of Pvt. Vasili I. Koslov, 13th
Guards Rifle Division, December 2, 1942, in Stalingrad.

The streets
are covered in snow, and breath hangs frozen in the -20 degree (Celsius) air.
The Germans are swarming, armed with better weapons and what seems to be a
better sense of tactics. On the Russian/Soviet side are a ragtag group of
soldiers who seem to find fortune in their attack rather than use any strong
tactical element. But those are your comrades and they will shout out
information you need to survive this ferocious encounter.

After a
skirmish that has you demolishing a building full of Germans, the Russian
campaign moves into a “simple” repair field-phone lines mission – one that
highlights how each of these missions moves into another within the level. You
follow the line and fix breaks, obviously with resistance from the Germans. But
once you repair the final break and contact the command, there is a surprise
waiting for you. …

spotted in your area. Hunt those bastards down. Good luck. Out.”

Resist the
urge to ask what medication they are on. You have a weapon with limited ammo and
are picking up dropped weapons and ammo along the way, and now they want you to
run up and plant explosives on the side of a German Panzer – one that is moving
and using machine guns to discourage such behavior.

Therein lays
one of the new elements of CoD2 – or at least an element that really has been
boosted with this title, and that is the smoke grenade. You can lay down some
smoke and wait for it to engulf the street and then try to find the tank through
that pea soup. But don’t expect the tank to sit there and wait for you. The AI
on the game is smart and that tank is likely to move to try to clear itself from
the smoke.

And smoke
presents its own hazards. In the thick fog it can be tough to tell friend from
foe and yes, you can kill a comrade-in-arms, which will result in a quick
message that you failed the mission.

The game,
much like the original, tracks Russian/Soviet missions, British in North Africa
and American missions, and even includes a tank battle, though the enemy tanks
do not seem as smart as the soldiers and do not necessarily always move to avoid
allowing you to line them up in your sites. The game begins with the Russian
missions, but you can use the interface to jump to the British scenarios or the
American. However, you do need to unlock the American missions, and the other
missions within the theatre sequences (Soviet and British) are not unlocked
until you have completed the previous mission in the thread. The British
scenario begins with the Battle of El Alamein and subsequent missions are
unlocked from there. However, jumping around does cause players to lose progress
in a previous mission thread.

fire is recognized in this iteration of the game and is a very handy tool, when
it is working for your side. It allows flanking maneuvers – yep, told ya the AI
was smart – and can pin down the enemy, or you, so that grenades can do the
dirty work. There is a grenade indicator that will let you know when you are in
danger of becoming kibbles and bits, but where you move can be tricky.

The game
does support multiplayer over servers, and players can set up their own games.
Deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag are the standard modes you will
find, and the action is often intense and quickly paced.

The control
scheme for the game is intuitive and players should not have any problems in
making their way around the game. Pop-ups on the screen will let you know when
you can accomplish an action, and the rest is skulking, keeping your head down
and laying waste to as many of the enemy as possible. The audio for the game is
quite impressive. The opening musical score is grand and in many ways
underscores the experience awaiting. There are a far amount of repetitious
phrases that can become annoying but considering the tempo of the game, after a
bit you can tune those out.

CoD 2 if a masterpiece. Peripheral elements are impressive to see (you may
catch, out of the corner of you eye, a charging soldier suddenly have his helmet
fly straight backwards as he stutters and then falls to the ground), and the
animations are very good. The effects and dynamic lighting give the game

An explosion
nearby and you are knocked to the ground, dazed, somewhat senseless. The world
is somewhat hazy and the sound is all but gone. You wonder if you are dead, and
then a German soldier comes over to you, ready to finish what the explosion
started. As he raises his weapon to bludgeon you, you regain enough of your
senses to turn your weapon toward his chest and fire off several rounds.

CoD 2 is a
remarkable World War II shooter. It is a thinking-gamer’s shooter, in many ways,
which – while it has reflexive elements – asks you to consider the tactics of a
situation in order to survive. There are some games on the market that seem to
have a bullet-per-body count – reach the number and the enemy dies. In CoD 2
where you shoot them is important. Headshots never have targets jumping back up
to shoot again, but sometimes you have to take what is presented. Like most
shooter titles, if you camp, you will be found and usually the result is not

Every aspect
of this game is well crafted.

Scoring Details

for Call of Duty 2 Review

The controls are
intuitive, and the game is very easy to get into. The diversity of the
scenarios, not in tempo but in setting, makes this a terrific shooter. There are
some load times, but they are set-ups to the levels and missions often take on a
variety of overlapping missions until you finally finish the level. There is
some linearity in that if you die and restart, you will know where pockets of
the enemy are generally located, but you can take a different tact in attacking

While some of the
elements are a little forced looking, like the bomb placements and packages you
attach to tanks, until you see holes punctured in a pipe you are standing in by
bullets, and traces of light following up, you have not been treated to so
glorious a bit of eye candy in a war game. The collision paths can get annoying,
especially when you are working toward a spot and an NPC squad mate runs in
front of you, not only ruining your line of fire, but blocking you from your
immediate goal. Still, better to have collision paths than clipping problems.

Some repetitious
phrasing can get a bit tiring, but the tension, carried forth by a terrific
musical score, and the punctuation of gunfire and explosives make this a treat
for the ears. Go ahead – crank the volume on that surround sound – you will not
be disappointed.

Difficulty: Medium
There are
difficulty settings that enable you to fine-tune your gaming experience, but if
you’re online, you better bring your thinking caps and your reflexives. The
single-player is very much a cerebral exercise, playing out like chess save with
bullets flying madly about.

The graphics have
been tweaked, the AI has undergone changes and the result is a game that is not
only thoughtful, but highly entertaining, in both the gaming sense and visual

Multiplayer: 8.8
It is reflexive,
it is fun and yes, it is much of what you already know – deathmatch, capture the
flag and the like. But hook up and you will have a great time, especially with
the introduction of the smoke grenades and how they can turn a street into a

This is a very
satisfying and enjoyable game, full of tension, chaos and war’s horror, but with
an intelligent AI and terrific visual elements. While the game is somewhat
linear per mission level – if you die and respawn, you will know where you have
to go and generally what is waiting for you – how you approach each obstacle is
up to the player. You can go the frontal assault route (in some cases), or leave
that to your allies while you take a more circular route, sometimes flanking
enemy positions. Not just a worthy successor to the original title, CoD 2
advances the franchise. It is bigger, better and a whole lot of fun.