|Call of Duty 2|
|Developer: Infinity Ward
Release Date: Out Now
Never in playing one single game has the word “wow” been used so gratuitously. So much in fact that the word “wow” has lost its wow-factor, leaving me to use the more powerful “wow-wee” whenever something absolutely brilliant comes along and leaves me with nothing to say except a string of murmuring and a little bit of dribble. Unfortunately I can’t just say, “Call of Duty 2 is wow-wee” and get back to playing it so I guess I’ll have to dig out the thesaurus….
Call of Duty 2 you will all recognise as the flagship demonstrator of the new Xbox 360’s silky skills, with that African mission being played on every demo rig in the country for the last couple of months. Yes, it’s a WWII FPS but right from the start you know this is something different, something special…
Even the little things like grenades look brilliant, exploding in a cloud of debris or sending a soldier flying into the air with some great ragdoll physics. The cream of the crop has to be the smoke grenades though, which have to be seen to be believed. Within a few seconds of throwing one you won’t actually be able to see anything around you and you’ll stumble around like a drunk at Christmas, until you bump into a German who promptly tries to bash your face with a rifle butt - emptying your bowels has never been easier without prescription!
The AI is clever for both sides this time as both your allies and enemies know how to shoot, hide and generally not die a stupid death. The enemy use cover very well and actually work as a team; one will lay down covering fire while the other reloads and another lobs a grenade right at your feet. You’d be quite impressed if your first instinct wasn’t to run around in circles wondering what the hell to do before diving out the way of the grenade. Thankfully your guys know their stuff too and they’ll make a run while you cover them, throw grenades at the enemies hiding behind obstacles or lob German grenades back at them. The only problem I noticed with the AI is when you’re fighting in enclosed spaces and a grenade drops in front of you: you try to run back through a doorway to safety but it’s blocked by a bloody soldier!
This longer mission structure not only shows off how much you can stick in one level but also gives CoD2 a more realistic feel, as you really feel like a soldier caught up in a day’s fighting, rather than moving through a scripted environment, ticking off objectives. The way each part of the missions unfolds means that unlike a lot of FPSs, you never really feel like you’re moving along a linear path, until you play the frustrating on-rails passenger missions. Luckily there’s only a couple but having to shoot six soldiers with rocket launchers in a couple of seconds does grate after the 6th retry…
If you don’t fancy playing online then the four-player deathmatches are more your thing and probably more fun, as they work all the time! CoD2 was tested by the family on Christmas Eve and it felt good to cap my brother in the back with a shotgun, only to be sniped by my stepdad from a distant window! Playing CoD2 with four people is nearly as much fun as the daddy of multiplayer, Halo, although with the maps being so large, you can be spending a lot of time running around looking for people.
- Amazing graphics
- Great sound
- Smart AI
- Fun offline multiplayer
- I could go on…
- The on-rails sections
- Hit-and-miss online mode
- If ever a game warranted a co-op mode...