Call of Duty 2 has a reputation to live up to. The original game was considered a winner by virtually all that played it. As a sequel, this version delivers much of the same - but not too much of the same. It's a good balance of old, new and improved.

Call of Duty 2 is about as good as a WW II, first-person shooter can get - at least in the faux 3D mode. There is a great deal of realism to the game even though there are some elements that shatter that illusion. For some reason I don't find these conflicting elements to be such a big deal even though I would probably really rag on them if they occurred in a lesser game.

Play as the Russians, Americans or British in any of three major campaigns. A welcome change is the less linear gameplay. In many instances you be thrown onto the battlefield with numerous objects that you can tackle in any order. But the gameplay is scripted and you will eventually find yourself forced down certain paths especially during urban conflict where rubble and war machines block your path. It just looks more natural and appears to be less linear.

Missions are less grandiose. Although you will bask at the beaches of Normandy there are lots of less popular locations where you will conduct business. Most of the time you will be standing your ground and fending off enemy attacks. With your pre-programmed teammates at your side you will believe they actually have a mind of their own. Even though you can't command them directly they will follow you into battle and do their fair share of killing. They're not always perfect and that's what makes them seem real. They will make mistakes and get killed, sometimes by their own hand when they fail to launch a grenade in time. It's not uncommon to count on them and even bond with them.

As intelligent as your soldier are, the enemy AI will also put up a good fight. They don't continually respawn and even though their numbers may be significant you still stand a chance. If you take on too much damage all you have to do is find some place to hide and you will heal quickly. I must admit this is totally unrealistic but when you're under heavy attack you don't seem to mind this feature too much at all. You can always crank up the difficulty if you're a bit of a purist. A grenade indicator lets you know that your life may be in danger. This may also annoy purists but considering how much is going on onscreen you need some kind of warning system otherwise you would be blown to bits every few seconds.

The AI like their grenades and will use them to force you into various areas, especially out in the open where they can pick you off with their rifles. There are not a lot of snipers in the game so you don't have to worry about random acts of murder.

Online modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, HQ and Search and Destroy. A server can accommodate 32 players. There are some 13 maps including a couple from the original game. It's a lot easier to lose your life in these modes than in the single-player campaigns. You will also experience some slowdown.

Aiming is great and the weapons are very useful and powerful. As long as you've got some kind of gun on hand you will feel as though you have some form of defense. Eventually the gameplay does turn into a bit of a grind so try to space it out a few hours at a time. If you try to cram this game into a weekend you'll be puking it out in your dreams - trust me.

The graphics look amazing. They are well defined with crisp textures and colorful and gritty environments. The only time you'll see blood is when you make a kill but you'll see an awful lot of killing. Not to mention hear a lot screaming as soldiers' lives are taken for their cause. This attention to realism is actually disturbing. It reminds you that war isn't a party.

There are only so many ways you can approach a retelling of one of the most important days in the history of war, but game developers the world over are doing their best to recreate the events and make them as realistic as possible.

D-Day on the beaches of Normandy during World War II is one such hisotoric battle and while it has taken on pop culture status thanks to various incarnations of the event found in games (Medal of Honor, Call of Duty et al) and movies (Saving Private Ryan etc.) game developers love to revisit that moment in time and strive to recreate the insensity, horror and carnage that took place.

Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 2 is one such title and if you've been less than impressed with previous offerings of D-Day existing within the T rated confines of the Medal of Honor series, prepare for pure hell on Earth. While a videogame can obviously never hope to create all aspects of such a cataclysmic event, gamers will be able to participate in the closest reproduction of Normandy ever attempted.

Keeping in line with the originals premise, you will still be able to play as American, British and Russian soldiers during recreations of historic battles. As you progress you will be able to unlock various "vignettes" as you go so that you aren't forced to play through a particular campaign to the end and will be able to take part in various battles that might not fit into the timeline you've been following up to that point.

First Person Shooters have been holding the hands of gamers for far too long now, thanks in part to scripted events that would automatically take place once the player reached a particular area or milestone. Playing through the first time was always a treat, but subsequent replays left the experience feeling far too predictable. Infinity Ward is moving away from heavily scripted events and will lead players on a wild adventure which will mean terror is always a heartbeat away and will never play the same way twice. Enemy and teammate AI has also been significantly improved and along with that, Infinity Ward has recorded over 20,000 lines of dialogue for realistic "battle chatter".

Word on the street is Infinity Ward is already in pre-production on CoD3, even though the second game isn't due on shelves until later this Fall. We're expecting the list of followers to grow exponentially once the sequel hits the streets.

Click For Media
System: PC, X360
Dev: Infinity Ward
Pub: Activision
Release: Oct 2005
Players: 1 - Multi online
Review by StewXX