The main focus in Call of Duty 2
is putting you in the middle of intense situations that force you to rely on your A.I. driven teammates as much as you rely on your own marksman skills. You are not Rambo – you are one cog in the war machine bent on ridding the world of the Nazi threat (as well as a few stray Italian forces that show up…)
The game’s main campaign is split up into three campaigns, each depicting events during the war from different fronts. You begin as a fresh-faced Russian Private defending Moscow and Stalingrad from enemy forces. This is followed by a trip to Africa, where you’ll fight alongside the Desert Rats as a British officer repelling the Field Marshal Rommel’s Panzer division. The final act puts you in the boots of an American soldier in Europe, once again reenacting D-Day. However, this time you won’t find yourself on either Utah or Omaha Beach. Instead, you’ll face the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.
Breaking the narrative up does weaken the overall story, though it does allow for tighter, more intense chapters, resulting in a better game overall. As with previous games in the series, Call of Duty 2 relies on scripted in-game events to tell the story rather than throwing out a bunch of cutscenes that break up gameplay. This allows the designers to keep you on your toes by constantly introducing new twists and turns to each mission as well as setting up some truly memorable moments, such as a Russian charge against a fortified Nazi stronghold in the heart of Stalingrad…
Pacing is another of Call of Duty 2’s many successes. Building on scripted events, the game constantly shifts between fast, frantic combat situations to slow, methodical shoot-outs from cover. You’ll also find yourself constantly shifting from offensive pushes to defensive stands. This probably won’t go over with fans of run-and-gun FPS's, but that is what Perfect Dark Zero and Quake 4 are for.
Multiplayer is available, though it turns out to be one of the game's weaker aspects. Both 4- (offline) and 8-player (online) games are available, with the 8-player matches making for a slightly more exciting game since the big maps don't really lend themselves well to the smaller 4-player split screen ones. The action is fun, but the modes are by now so standard that there's no compelling reason to play them for very long.