Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Game Review: Call of Duty 2

In the mood to bust out some old school World War Two warfare this Memorial Day weekend, I rented Call of Duty 2. This is my first foray into the Call of Duty series, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d heard they were good games, and they seemed to get good rankings on various magazines and websites. So, when I got back home I popped it into the 360, sat back, and let ‘er rip. The result…

Not that impressed.

First, I’ll start with the graphics. This is a very pretty r XBOX game in high definition on the 360. There isn’t anything here you haven’t seen before. Sure, the resolution looks nicer thanks to 1080i, but I think that actually hurt this game. It just made everything that is very average about the visuals in this game stand out even more. It looked like a game that was designed originally for the XBOX, and then tossed into the 360 with some better textures and lighting, stuck in the oven at 350 degrees, and left for three hours. It doesn’t look bad, it just doesn’t look like a 360 game should, in my view anyway.

Second, the sound of the game is pretty good. The score, when available, fits the mood of the various levels in the game. The sound effects are something out of Saving Private Ryan, and fit perfectly. Every weapon sounds like it should. Every explosion sounds like it should. The sound all comes together nicely.

Third, the game play…which is what was the biggest drawback in my view. The game didn’t feel very good. It’s hard to explain, but I’ve had a hard time seeing what is going on. Who is shooting at me, where do I need to go next, what’s the objective…things like this shouldn’t take a lot of effort to figure out, but in this game they do. Granted, war, especially urban combat, is very hectic and fast paced and bewildering, but this just didn’t seem natural. It was as if it was trying to be too bewildering. Also, you move waaaaaaay to slow. Like, just at a trot or leisurely jog, which is a pain. Forget covering fire, it’s useless, since the enemy doesn’t really react to it, and you run so slow that you cant get to where you need to go before they return fire anyway. This becomes a major issue in some levels where you need to outflank people but can’t because they have more than enough time to react to your slow ass jogging.

The level design is sub par as well. There is one path through most levels with a few exceptions. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Ghost Recon which gives you a few paths through the city, but CoD doesn’t. While buildings look good, pathways don’t, and the fact that there are no doors to open is dumb. I hate it when first person games don’t let you open doors.

I want to talk about control here as well. With all the advances that first person shooter control has offered in the past ten years, you’d think you’d be able to do more than just turn and strafe. Not so…there is no backing up against a wall, peeking around corners, leaning out, none of that stuff. Leave that to your Clancy games I guess. However, there is a jump button, which is nice I guess. I really wish more shooters would handle like a Clancy game, and less like a Halo game.

Lets talk multiplayer shall we? Sucks, hard. If you’re playing on your 360 against your friends, forget about adding bots. You can’t, none…period. Just 1 on 1, 2 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 1, or every man for himself. No bots at all. Makes death match games boring. On the flip slide, the level designs for the multiplayer maps were pretty good. The menu options are sub par at best, almost like this was an after thought on the game. Really is a shame.

I’d give this game a 3 out of 5. Some of my disappointments are just because of my tastes in shooters, which is very picky. The graphics are average for a 360 game, sound above average, and game play is average, multiplayer is below average, level design below average. Not a failure by any means, but not a success either. This is indicative of first generation games for a new system, they usually fall short of what they should have, and could have, been.

-Steve

1 Comments:

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