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Call of Duty 2: Call of Duty 2

Company: Activision

I?m pretty sure that I?m not alone when I say, ?Do we really need another WWII shooter?? In the span of about 3 years, we?ve managed to fight on nearly every front of the war in nearly every way possible. But still, what?s one more romp through the Last Great War anyway?

The name Call of Duty probably doesn?t do much for console gamers, and frankly it shouldn?t since the console version of Call of Duty wasn?t exactly the best. For PC gamers, however, the name carries much more weight as it is one of the finest WWII shooters available on the PC.

Call of Duty 2, which is set to be released alongside the Xbox 360 later this month, gives players the chance to play through WWII on three different fronts through the eyes of British, Russian and American soldiers. The playable demo, in which you take the role of a British soldier fighting in the town of Toujane, North Africa, presented a map that was pretty big and open, but at the same time linear enough that you wouldn?t get lost.

The mission started with a short jeep ride towards the city as planes buzzed overheard, indicating that a big battle was taking place a couple hundred feet away. As the jeep made its way into the town, my group was met with a hail of gunfire that forced us to abandon the jeep and head in on foot. Once in the city, many of the new gameplay mechanics featured in the game come into play.

Unless the game is based around music (Rez, Lumines...), sound usually isn?t that major a concern in regards to game play. Call of Duty 2 changes that by making it vitally important to success during missions. As you run through areas, like the town in the demo, other soldiers are constantly calling out orders and warnings. They?ll tell you what to expect up ahead, what you need to do next and even tell you where snipers are hidden. This adds a special level of authenticity to the game and helps to bring out the chaos that develops during battles. Listening to everything going on around you is essential to making it through a mission.

Another change to gameplay is the health bar, or rather, the absence of one altogether. No, the game hasn?t taken a trip back into the 80?s where one-hit-kills dominated the landscape. Instead, your health is indicated by the amount of red visible at the corners of the screen. As you take damage, the red will slowly inch towards the center of the screen. The more red you see on screen, the more damage you?ve taken. In addition, there are no health packs in the game. Instead, you?ll need to find cover and ?wait off? the damage. Yes, it may be a tad unrealistic, but is actually meant to enhance the playing experience. You won?t have to spend all your time finding med packs, but instead can concentrate on the action. And, since the game is squad-based, constantly stopping to rest and heal could prove costly since your squad will eventually move on without you.

In addition to the single-player experience, Call of Duty 2 will also feature online gameplay. So far, Activision has been pretty quiet on what types of online modes will be available, but expect the typical match types (Team and Single Deathmatch, Capture the Flag?) to be included.

With several big name titles seemingly being pushed back and missing launch, there?s a void left for people wanting to experience all the Xbox 360 has to offer. And, even though it may look like another WWII shooter, Call of Duty 2 is looking like a title that has what it takes to give players the type of experience they?re looking for.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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