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Call of Duty 2 - Student Review

Score: 92%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4 (2 - 8 Online)
Genre: Action/ First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

When I first experienced Activision's Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360, I was taken aback. Never have I seen such a realistic looking WWII videogame, from the explosions to the tracer bullets whizzing overhead, it was by far the most chaotic, destructive beauty I've seen in a WWII videogame to date.

The Next Gen graphics are but one of the many brilliant factors that made me lose myself in this title. It looks real, plain and simple. The detail in the character faces, the beautiful snow falling, and the bombs going off next to your squad members, flinging them across the streets of Stalingrad are almost enough to make me thank a higher power for being born 41 years later and not living through that hellish experience both my grandfathers did. After a while of gameplay though, I started to notice the lack of limbs leaving peoples' bodies. I don't normally hold a game back for its inability to gross you out with gore, but this one is an exception. I think if they would have put the extra effort into it, body dismembering would have made the game that much more real and frightening. If you're fighting alongside a member of your squad and in an instant, his arm is shot off and blood is getting everywhere while he bellows in excruciating pain, you're going to really need to keep it together in order to survive.

I was slowly creeping up on a Nazi when a grenade went off between us. It was loud and scary as hell when my character flew back and lost his ability to hear. His hearing was replaced with a ringing, much like what would happen if a real grenade went off next to you. Yet another thing that sold me on the realistic experience. The sound effects are top notch. There was so much auditory stimulation that sometimes, you couldn't hear what people were yelling, and then at times, it was so quiet that when some Nazis got the drop on me, I almost pissed my pants.


In other first person shooters, not having a health meter would really be a mistake on the developers' part. But this is supposed to be a simulation, so it works, and it works well. When Nazi fire is raining down upon you like your crazy uncle's breath at Thanksgiving, your screen's edges turn a capillary shade of red. This effect takes up most of your screen and at times, makes it really hard to get away from those dreaded hate mongers. In other first persons (FPS's), you have the knowledge of when you are going to die and can run in, shoot until almost dead, retreat to find some health, and then do it again. Not in Call of Duty 2. Walking down a street in the middle of a war then turning a corner to find six Nazis with better guns than you, knowing that any one of their bullets can end you at the drop of a helmet, is exciting.

It's not all just fun and bullets. There are missions that you need to think about while trying to stay alive and killing as many evil doers as possible. One of the missions involves repairing a communications cable that runs through heavily armed enemy territory. Thank God for smoke grenades. Another really cool element of the gameplay is tanks, that's right... I said tanks. You get to drive a tank and shoot Nazis, Nazi bunkers, and go head to head with Nazi tanks. From clearing out buildings to taking out snipers, there are tons of great ways to stop the most hated army in history and it's really fun.


No one has ever said war was easy, but it does have a difficulty setting. In fact, it has 4. I played the game on its Normal mode, and made it through without dying too much, with the exception of one level that resulted in me almost breaking my roommate's controller, but that's a whole other story. The game's difficulty was a nice balance between fun and throwing your roommate's controller through a wall. The learning curve is short and sweet, but a lot of time you need to be quick on the draw, or quick with retreat. I'm not ashamed of running away until I get my bearings back. I can't tell you how many times I had to do that. After the first couple of levels, I finally figured out that I'm not supposed to run in guns blazing, but take my time and form surgical attacks. Once I understood that, Hitler's army got scared.

Game Mechanics:

The ability to only hold 2 guns at a time was a smart move in my opinion. It's realistic that you can't keep 9 different guns on your person like in other first person shooters, so it forces you to think about your surroundings and how the enemy is positioned in front of you. It tends to make you scout the situation before making a move. If the enemy is hiding behind walls and barricades, you need a different gun then if they were charging at you like the crazy meth heads they were.

Call of Duty 2 is one of those games that's fun and fast paced. There are many things going on independently from you, which gives you an idea of how massive WWII was. The cut scenes really make you think about the actual war, and how it affected the many who survived it.

-Dustin Risher

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated