Call of Duty 2

Publisher: – Activision
 
Developer: – Infinity Ward
 
Genre: -Historic 1st person shooter
 
Release date: – October 2005
 
Windows: XP, 2000 only
 
Minimum Specs:- P4, 256 MB RAM, 64 video MB RAM, 4 GB RAM (!)
 
Recommended Specs: – P4, 1000+ MB RAM, 128 video MB RAM, 4 GB RAM
 
Current availability: – Still on sale at good stores.
 
 
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————
 
The thin of it: – Possibly one of the best ever shooters I’ve ever played. Upgraded graphics, new weapon aaccuracy system, impressive audio and ambience, strong development of gameplay, new battlefield arenas. Downside- long loading times if poor RAM, progress of game sometimes too repetitive, the ‘reinforcements stream’ still active and very much in full-swing operation.
 
 
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————
 
 
I know it’s been months and months since I’ve done a games review. Besides work on my new totally game review page in blogger (need to find a way to spruce up the decor there before announcing it to the wide world as I don’t really like the templates on offer there. And I absolutely disliked sharing another template with another blogger who, like me, couldn’t be bothered to create a new background and new flashy buttons to press and gadgets to tweak. Man, my head is burning with more projects right now! This is a lot more fun than the dull and boring law firm.
 
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————
 
 
You might recall that the first Call of Duty game had many gamers feeling that…’ok, it’s another WW2 FPS…so, what? I can either hate it or love it to bits.’ Of course Call of Duty 1 is shamelessly peddled as a game where you fight in a group, engage enemies as a team and pee on German M35 helmets as if it were a potty en masse. I admit that there were certain parts of the game where the developers held firm towards this aim in mind but there are large pockets of the game where the player is forced to be the ‘super-soldier’ again…which was so prevalent in the Medal of Honor series.
 
So, that aside, did Call of Duty 2 be what the first installment promised to deliver?
 
To be fair, yes. And they did it so well that being part of a fighting squad (let alone a battalion) is just so cool. Teammates interact with you in response to the situation at hand. Your teammates also fight rather well but most of the time, you are expected to carry the assault to the fore.
 
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
 
Gameplay Changes in COD 2:
 
i) The health system of course!
 
Now, you don’t have medpacks which are strewn around the battlefield after enemies and compatriots are killed for you to pick up and to avoid a similar fate. Now, all you have to do is to get out of harm’s way, relax a bit and then all is ok. Easy as winking. You see, when you get shot at by enemies (shots which don’t kill you outright) the screen turns incredibly bloody literally and then your character will grunt and snort in pain. The more crimson the game-screen is, the more critical the condition of the character. Of course, it’s hard as a new player to gauge as to how much more damage the character can take but with experience, this is fairly easy to estimate.
 
ii) No alternative fire mode.
 
Ammo for precious SMGs used to be so easy to conserve such as for the MP44. Now, you either spray and pray or you don’t bother using that SMG at all. Because when the SMGs starts shooting, the accuracy can get from plain bad to total abysmal results. Good as close in-door room clearing activities. The MP 44’s accuracy and damage has also been compromised somewhat, so it’s not the same devastating weapon you knew from COD 1.
 
iii) Grenades are now held down and thrown.
 
You don’t have the luxury to take it out, admire it in your HUD and then decide the best time to toss it. Now, you hold down the relevant bound key and then pick the spot to release the pocket explosives. You may also not ‘cook’ the grenades no more as was in ‘United Offensive’.
 
iv) Where are you running to soldier?
 
Also scrapped is the run mode. Pity, I thought it one of the more acceptable of COD UO changes but then, I was not much poorer at the game because of it. There’s not much chance nor the space to run this time. It’s still a corridor shooter in a true sense but that did not mean that COD 2 is not any much fun with the lack of it.
 
v) Binoculars for everyone!

COD 2 grants each player field glasses for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy sighting down stray M35 helmet owners and then change to a bolt-action rifle for an impressive shot!

vi) No 3rd weapon slot

Your 3rd weapon slot used to be reserved for the sidearm. That means that you used to have the enviable luxury to shoulder 2 main firearms of your fancy. Now, you only have two slots for shooter-type weapons. It’s up to you to choose what you want to carry but a pistol will still take up one slot. Consider another weapon of impressive range and hitting power instead of trying to be a rodolero in WW2.

vii) Smoke grenades!

Nodding to Counterstrike for the passive defence weapon, the smoke grenade can put off entrenched enemies from picking off your head in one clean rifle shot by masking your true location. How effective it can be in game situations is a matter of debate of which I’ve no interest to start. Like Counterstrike, the SG are probably a human-unique weapon rather than a AI diversion as I think that the unique neural net used by the in-game AI can sniff out your presence from inside houses, never mind a plume of inconsequential pall. The only thing is: I don’t usually use it as it chokes the hardware on your system (more so if your system is not that good and is barely running the game) and it is not really that effective as a weapon.

viii) Grenade indicator!

Your blessing mostly. This grenade indicator is one of the major changes made since the grenades chucked your way are about close to 90% accurate and land squarely on your feet most of the time. The direction of the grenade(s) are now shown in your HUD and it’s a 3 second turn – and – run exercise for you. It may detonate earlier; so it’s tough to tell whether it’s really that useful et al. Anyway, it’s a nifty addition even though I seriously didn’t contemplate the game being any more difficult in COD 1 without it.

ix) New enemy communication

It helps in making the gamer believe that actual war is hell. Now, the Krauts scream furious orders to attack you on sight and their war cries are really engaging and immersive. It’s quite like being there as the sound voices are rendered with enough passion. COD 1 did sound rather dour for a bit but COD 2 had these same Germans shout out ‘Kommunisten!!’ or ‘Amerikaner!’ depending on which faction you were playing with at that time.

x) Holding back breath while sniping to make a cleaner shot

Press ‘Shift’ when in sniper mode to steady the system to perform those head hits. Quite useful to know that it is applicable to only sniper rifles in the scoped mode as rifles don’t have this ability. Without ‘Shift’ key being held down, the sway might be more unpredictable but it’s not that bad. Note that you can run out of breath doing it and the whole system goes screwy again. Line up one then kill.

xi) No more manual saves

This REALLY SUCKS! Imagine replaying a part of tricky scene over and over again. Here’s an example. I was playing the American mission – the one where they lost the road, then the survivors run helter-skelter back to the farmhouse or whatever. Then I could not get out from the house to where the objectives wanted me. That’s because whenever I managed to get out of the house, all enemy fire would rain down on me and…you can finish the rest yourselves. Alright, sometimes I picked off those Germans making the first pot-shots but halfway back, more German troops who have been scaling the walls of the area like ants would prove a stumbling block. I probably attempted that particular scene for about an hour’s worth of game time before deciding to just literally run all the way back to the objective point…and surprisingly, it worked well!

Another potential stumble is the level where British soldiers under the command of none other than Captain Price was ordered to take a truck to fetch some injured American soldiers. That may seem fine, but there are German ambushes along the way and topped up by the presence of the Tiger tank. There are some anti-tank weapons at the back of the truck but it’s not as easy as point and shoot on a moving truck. And bear in mind that you don’t have the time to take out the other irritating German troops within the area.

So, the game only saves itself at certain points or when certain objectives are fulfilled. I can only guess that the developers are trying to avoid gamers taking advantage of an exploit but I can’t

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Russian campaign:-

You play a Russian conscript called Vasili Ivanovich Koslov. (A Russian’s comments on the film ‘Enemy at the Gates’ are found here [http://www.battlefield.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=206&Itemid=108] and interestingly, Russians don’t normally call another familiar person by his actual name. Perhaps the Commissar in the training mission is a good exception but it did feel strange that Infinity Ward insisted on using the Russian ‘Vassili’ as if in reverence to ‘Enemy at the Gates’. I mean, why not Pyotr or Nikolay? Some other name but THAT?)

The first mission is a training mission where Koslov learns to use a Mosin-Nagant rifle, shoots at teddy-bears and some fine chinaware and then proceeds to throw potatoes into an old shelled house. Then trouble strikes as a German offensive is massed at the other side of Moscow and Koslov and the new conscripts are thrown into the heat of the battle. Predictably, Koslov survives eventually and the Commissar appears from nowhere in the thick of battle and proclaims ‘There’s no better training than fighting to survive’ in the worst bogus Russian-accent English you’ll ever hear. If you think of Half-Life’s G-man, this commissar looks eerily similar. Then the best part of the Russian mission starts! You storm a German held departmental store from behind, take over another Kraut-infested building and then mass together for a defense against a German counterattack! The anticipation of the counterattack is nothing short of being sweet as you drive the assault back, and the enemies start to run tuck tail before the glorious Soviet retribution – levelling an entire building rigged with explosives to kill all the Germans who dare not venture down the 1st floor. Thus ends the first Soviet mission.

Then Koslov is hustled to Stalingrad to repair some communication lines. Not really to fix, but to press ‘F’ to interact with the troubled spots and voila! Koslov’s magic hands are also equally good as a complement to a top handyman. How he could fix those broken and heavily shelled lines at a mere touch is nothing short of fantastic but…remember whom to call if you need to fix those damned internet submarine cables after the Taiwan quake. Koslov’s duty does not end there. He has to take on some Deutsch panzers which comes his way and it seemed that no other soldier could do it! How indispensable Koslov is! All hail Super Soldier!

I did enjoy the mission where Koslov starts off clambering in a pipe with 2 other Russian soldiers sent for backup to the frontline, and where he encoutered a Kraut patrol and then all the way to the factory. That mission, though short, is fitting of the reputation COD deserved.

Later Russian missions are roughly bordering on the same premise – take out tanks, snipe soldiers, take over the Maxim MG etc. You’ll get the idea after a while. Basically, the later scenarios are not that great to play with. It’s ok, but not that great. It’s as if the developers are rushing to complete these for completeness sake and mosey quick to the considerably interesting British and American missions. I mean, the sniper mission in the last Russian one is so short that I wondered how much of effort the developers invested in it. At least, have the duel extended for a bit more before the mad human wave that the Germans throw at your face. It’s incomprehensibly stupid that one.

 

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

British missions: –

You get to step in the shoes of 2 British super soldiers in these missions.

The first is that of Sergeant John Davis. The scenarios with Davis would include El-Alamein in Africa and thereafter to take the French city of Caen. The reason the British missions are better in terms of the fun factor is that while you’re hurried from one point to another, you don’t do it in tight corridors and cramped areas like what Koslov did with the Russian missions. And the story is well-paced that you won’t feel that it was all too short and over just as soon as you were beginning to enjoy it.

The next soldier you’ll assume control of is that of Commander David Welsh. The tactic of the British cruiser tanks , with its comparatively poor armour against the Germans but with a greater speed are impressively enacted in these 2 missions, short as it were. You’ll snuff out enemy AA gun emplacements as well as panzerschreck wielding German troops in addition to the German panzers.

Of course, pandemonium and confusion is bound to ensue in tank battles and COD 2 encapsulates these with just the right dose – not too much as to make you frustrated and not too little so as to appear kitschy.

I particularly like the battle for Caen missions as the rain effects and the night battles are something new in the COD franchise. It’s brilliant and a whole lot fun to play, since you do not need to follow a fixed set route to accomplish your objectives and can do any of each at your leisure.

In short, British missions are great!

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

American missions:-

Corporal Bill Taylor of the 2nd Ranger Battalion reporting sir!

From the bloody beaches of Normandy, to the thrill of climbing a sheer, vertical rock face to take on the Germans and then attempting to secure the hinterlands of the famous battle scene – you assume control of the Corporal as he cheats death on numerous occasions.

Hill 400 is the other part of the American mission and is overall rather laidback to say the least, but the fighting atop the hill is fierce and believeable. You might find that the missions are rather like the other ‘corridor-shooters’ out there but orders are orders! You can’t go charging up the hill to your fancy as there are mines riddles throughout -another neat piece of trick used by the developers over and over again to make sure that you, as the gamer, toe the line and let the developers call the shots over how you should enjoy it. 

The crossing of the Rhine mission is quite delightful as the setting is lovely. I mean, how many WW2 shooters actually focussed on this American contribution of the war? In COD 1, we’ve seen the Russians storming the Reichstag in Berlin and raising the Red Army banner and I thought it’s a good time to actually have the Allies’ point of view this time round, since the COD United Offensive add-on did not really go in depths to the final days of the 3rd Reich. Bill Taylor gets a recommendation at the end to be the new Sergeant but all of these dialogues are really cheesy.

 

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

You’ll really need a beefed up system to enjoy COD 2. You can play COD 2 with a 256 MB RAM system but with at least 128 MB video card and the only thing you’ll notice is the ultra long loading times and some stuttering and occasional drag in the game performance.

Of course there are a few performance tweaking sites which you can visit and try it out as some of the solutions are very helpful but overall, COD 2 did not need to consume a lot of system resources as was believed. My 256 MB RAM machine ran COD 2 just fine, with the occasional drag but it’s still acceptable and ultimately playable. You must reduce the graphics overload where applicable, but the final results are still a sight to behold as COD 2 looks and plays beautifully.

There are also the Direct X 7 graphics option which COD 2 can utilize to run the game in this mode as opposed to the default Direct X 9 mode which will choke the system hard. The difference in graphics quality is surely tangible but lower-end graphics cards can at least find a new lease of life with this rather new title.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Multiplayer:-

COD 2 is a unique multiplayer experience, given that the health system is no longer hinging on how many medpacks you could acquire before the health meter dips to dangerously low levels.

The one criticism of mine of the MP mode is the use of trench gun (just a shotgun). It’s like something you’ll like or an aspect you’ll come to hate. You see, the trench gun is so powerful that upclose, the weapon would kill any enemy with just one shot to the head. And also, with the tight fighting spaces of COD 2, the chance encounter with these weapons are not just probable but entirely possible. It’s available to both sides and most players I knew liked to use it, some more than others, all the time. I know that bolt-action rifles are quite a joke to shoot at within confined spaces and that sniper rifles are even less possible to use well in close quarter combat, hence the need for a close up weapon but given the over-reliance over its use, I thought this weapon renders the other rifles and SMGs rather unnecessary. The servers can prohibit its use, but Malaysian idiot gamers want it. They might as well just play a game where there is only one super weapon in the MP mode and they can blast their deluded brains to the dust with it. Name me one multiplayer game where there is only one weapon in use MOST of the time and how gamers can enjoy it. That, my dear readers, are the Malaysians who can make one even when there isn’t one. A one-weapon MP game anyone? 

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Conclusion: – New gameplay changes are easy to adapt to and can be quite useful during multiplayer games. Russian missions are exciting and inspiring at the beginning but became tedious and ‘narrow corridor-shooting’ as the chapter draws to its inglorious close. The British missions more than makes up this deficiency and this is the bulk of the game. The American missions added the icing on the cake for this title.

I felt that the sound effects of the weapons, though, are rather WEAK. They sounded pathetic and sluggish as compared to the first installment. SMGs sounds like a pea-shooter whereas the rifles don’t have the same terrorising effect.

Overall, I enjoyed COD 2 over a depressing late 2005. There are many things to like with this, and there are obviously many things to dislike about the game but overall, these missions will make you want more and when they do, you know that it’s a good game after all. Not the best shooter I’ve ever played, but it’s a fun one.

 

* Note, Call of Duty 3 has been released for the X-Box 360, PS 3, Wii systems but NO PC. Treyarch, the developer, did not want a PC version in tradition to the console-only releases such as ‘Call of Duty 2:Big Red One’ and ‘Call of Duty: Finest Hour’. I can only assume that work for the PC port could have been troublesome and unwieldy but I think that enough is enough for another WW2 shooter along the COD franchise.
 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
This entry was posted in Games. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s