The sequel to one of the best World War II shooters has finally been deployed to the Xbox 360 console. Trying to top the original formula without destroying the game is a tough challenge, nevertheless developer Infinity Ward did an amazing work with Call of Duty 2, raising the bar for WWII shooters even higher. The setting is 1940’s and you are thrown into three different campaigns for the “big three”: Britain, the USA, and Russia. At the start of the game, you only have access to the Russian campaign but that will change very quickly. After you have unlocked the missions, you’ll have the option to tackle them in any order.
The missions provide players with a sense of open-ended combat, taking them through fields of wasted structures as they complete multiple objectives in non-linear order. You can command tanks and man stationary guns as you make progress throughout the game. There are a few changes from Call of Duty, and the most important one is the health system. In COD2, there is no health bar to speak of. This time, if you get injured, the screen turns slightly red, signaling you to get to cover. Otherwise, you won’t make it alive. So, dying is easily avoidable if you’re close to cover and are playing on the easier difficulties. On the higher settings, you can be easily killed in two hits. This effect has no bearing on multiplayer.
As far as the multiplayer aspect of the game goes, it’s usually a one-hit-kill from a rifle or 2 to 5 hits with an assault weapon. There is also the new smoke grenades, which actually produce an amazing masking effect from the thick smoke, which makes it very useful in single-player as your enemies cannot see through this gray wall. Of course, going through the smoke also fogs up your vision to death, and you’ll most likely run into a German bent to smacking you to death with his puny SMG. There is also the ‘mantle system’, and this helps you climb over small obstacles, climb up short ledges, jump through a window (you can’t crouch in midair) among other things. It’s a very simple but handy feature.
Multiplayer is surprisingly fast-paced and it’s all about reflex. Missing with a rifle could mean life or death here. You have the basic modes of Capture the Flag, which can get very bloody even in 3-on-3 matches. Then you have Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, with the COD-exclusive Headquarters and Search and Destroy. Many of you will be glad to hear that Call of Duty 2 has been translated in near-perfect rendition of the PC version. The character models never looked so good on the Xbox 360, and the surrounding environment is a work of art, from the ruined villages to the vast outskirt. As for the special effects, the game features bump mapping, bloom effects, and transitional highlights. These special properties add tremendous amount of presentation to the explosives such as the smoke grenades for example. What’s more is that the particles don’t clip through walls as found in several other games.
Just like the original, Call of Duty 2 delivers an unforgettable audio experience. The single-player mode is very active, frantic, and intense, which is what a world war game should be. Explosions have table-shaking bass and rifles shoot with a loud bang among others. The sounds in multiplayer, however, can get pretty quiet in small matches. The more players join in, the greater sounds of battlefield come into effect. The voice acting is done extremely well across all three campaigns and the dialogues are good. Call of Duty 2 is the number one World War II shooter available for Xbox 360. The single-player is fantastic and the multiplayer is awesome! If you’re a fan of the original COD or like war games, this is a must own!