Call of Duty 2

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I just finished the last couple of missions in Call of Duty 2 during the weekend, and I'm still suffering a bit of shellshock. Yeah, I know, it's been quite a while since this game first came out, I guess I just haven't had the time to play computer games as much I would want to - and for good reason, but that's a topic for another post.

I was wondering what to put down in this short pseudo-review, but I guess I can summarize my observations in a few paragraphs or so. There isn't much to say actually. If you must know right away, the game's simply great. :-)

Despite the game's greatness however, it is still a World War II FPS, and nowadays this genre has become so common that it has basically worn out all of the novelty associated with it. I've played basically all of the World War II themed shooters out there, and frankly, I'm tired of shooting Jerries (and Japs, for that matter).

It's lack of originality and freshness notwithstanding, it's definitely an awesome game. Just about as good as the original Call of Duty, only with better graphics (thanks to an all new graphics engine), and with more (much more) challenging missions. Like the first one, you play as a number of different soldiers in different campaigns throughout the course of the war. The gameplay is almost identical, with the exception of a new "shock" system. Now, you don't have to keep scrambling for medikits and health packs whenever you life bar goes down. In fact, there isn't even a life bar to speak of. All you have to do is get some cover, and in about a minute or so, you're back to full health.

While this system of health recovery takes a down a few notches from realism, it adds a couple to gameplay quite a bit, since you don't have to worry about your health that much anymore. Seeing red? It means you've been hurt bad, and another round or blast will take you out. Just take a breather, avoid further injury, and you're good to go in no time at all. Sometimes its easier said than done though, with all the bullets flying around. Don't think though that this will make the game a walk in the park. You will die countless times in the game. That's virtually a guarantee. In fact, I would go as far as say that the "shock" system is a necessity in some of the other missions, particularly when hordes of enemy soldiers charge at you from all directions. A conventional health system would be useless in this case.

You also get to use smoke grenades, which are actually quite useful when you need instant cover. Makes you wonder why this is the first time anyone actually thought of integrating this feature in a FPS. It also enhances the realism of the game, by giving you an additional means of accomplishing a mission by relying on stealth. The bad part though, is that if the enemy can't see you, it also means that you can't see them as well. :-)

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAs far as everything else goes, its a true blue Call of Duty title which basically means it still features everything else that made the first game a standout: intense battles, awesome missions, numerous weapons, vehicles, incredible enemy AI, etc. And yes, the graphics are really that much better. Quite a feat, since the original game was no slouch in the eye candy department either.

The AI of my bot allies, on the other hand are somewhat suspect. I can't remember the number of times I shot an ally simply because he insisted on walking or positioning himself in my line of fire. Or maybe I'm just trigger happy. :-)

Of course, the graphical improvements don't come without a price, and that is more powerful hardware. While the minimum requirements call for at least a 1.4 GHz class CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and a GeForce 4 or a Radeon 9200, you'd be hard pressed to enjoy the game running on such a rig. Call of Duty 2 has garnered a reputation for bringing even high end machines to a slowdown, and its not really surprising given the amount of graphical detail.

A colleague hardly gets playable framerates running the game on an Athlon XP 2500+ with 512 MB or RAM and a Radeon 9500, even with all settings on low. The game works pretty well for me though on an Athlon XP 2400+ with 1.5 GB of RAM and a Radeon 9550, and an Athlon 64 3000+ with 1 GB of RAM, using a GeForce 6800LE. I would surmise that the game loves RAM, and a lot of it at that (a trait of many recent games). Make sure you have at least a gig before playing this game. Half a gig simply won't cut it. If you have tons of a RAM, a dual-core processor, and SLI, I envy you. You'll be able to see the game in all of its glory. I didn't. :-)

Not much else to say. It's without question a great game (I said that already, didn't I?), if you have a rig robust enough to handle it. World War II based shooters however, are getting a little long in the tooth. You won't really see much that different in this game, just a lot of the same stuff. Only this time, it's better. And more difficult.

What did you expect? War is hell. :-)

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