I love WW2 FPS games. I started off with Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault years ago, and was blown away when Call Of Duty was released. Visually and technically, it was leaps and bounds beyond the competition. Have times changed? With the gifting season upon us, I review what I like and dislike about the newest addition to the Call of Duty lineup.
Though I haven’t finished the missions, Single Player mode seems to be very well done. There are new weapons, objectives, and theatres of combat. The graphics are amazing! Those who have played the first COD installment will be familiar with the 3-campaign formula as you don the identities of a trio of different Allied soldiers. From tank chases to demolition missions to holding the lines of defense, the COD Single Player missions are engaging and fun.
I wish I had as many nice words for Multiplayer mode. Though fun, there are some omissions and inconsistencies you might want to know about before dropping 50 clams on the game.
Did I mention that the graphics are amazing? Truly, one of the greatest things about Multiplayer Mode is the rich playing environment. And it really is great, including the sound. I do, however have some complaints and criticisms (naturally), after many hours of gameplay:
- Maps. While the new maps that ship with the game are pretty cool, some of them are simply rehashed/slightly expanded versions of COD1/UO maps. Not only does it feel like a chintzy maneuver, it devalues one of the biggest draws of Multiplayer mode: new, cool maps.
- Realism vs. “video game” inconsistencies. In general, there are some things that just don’t work here:
- The Compass. It’s a plausible tool. Most soldiers, I assume, would have a compass, and it’s not completely unlikely that soldiers would know which of their compadres are nearby. So displaying friendly troop locations on the compass isn’t much of a stretch, realistically. But in COD2, you will sometimes see red dots on your compass, indicating enemies. I don’t know if this is a helper for noobs, but it flies in the face of realism. How can you track an enemy you haven’t seen? It makes no sense, but there it is: locations of enemy troops beyond your field of vision. Are your buddies radioing back their locations? I don’t know, but it feels dumb.
- On-screen Death icons. Multiplayer Mode also displays a little icon when an dead body is nearby. I’m not entirely sure what this is meant to accomplish. Warn you that a recent firefight was nearby? The icons clutter the screen.
- Grenade Warnings. Okay, enough. In COD1, one of the real bonuses of grenade use was its sneakiness. Someone chasing you? Toss a nade behind you and watch your enemy cluelessly charge around a corner, right into its blast. That’s realistic. Unless you see or hear a nade, you can’t possibly know it’s there. In COD2, however, there is a nade indicator that not only shows you onscreen that a nade is nearby, it tells you what direction it lies in!!! Now when an enemy throws a nade into a room behind you you’ll see the nade indicator warning you to get out, even if you didn’t hear it. So. Lame.
- No health indicator. I don’t really miss it, but with all the other totally unrealistic stuff going on during gameplay, they might as well have put in a health indicator. Maybe it’s irrelevant since I have yet to see any indication of health packs or means of boosting one’s health.
Features: Missing In Action
There are some things that fans of COD1/UO Multiplayer will find painfully missing:
- Cooking Nades. Another great tactic of COD1/UO was “cooking” grenades. You could pull the pin, time the fuse detonation, and chuck it at your foes. Cooking grenades meant that you could conceivably time your grenade toss so that your enemy had no time to escape. Realistic and fun, but absent by default in COD2 (though a mod has been added already for those using Autodownload).
- Sprinting. I believe this was introduced in COD:UO, and it’s fantastic. You can sprint for a short amount of time, giving players a realistic advantage in many situations. Though you’re always running in the game, sprinting is that burst of speed you need when crossing open ground or charging a position. Sadly, sprinting is not present in COD2. Have fun slowly lumbering over open ground, kids. It’s no picnic.
- No Vehicles. What, did COD:UO never happen? Is Grey Matter holding the code hostage? I have yet to find an operable tank or jeep in COD2, which is super-disappointing.
- No Tripwires. Another suspiciously missing COD:UO feature. I never used it much, but it was awesome. Where is it now?
- No searching the dead. CODUO allowed for players to search dead bodies for weapons and ammo. Not in COD2!
It’s Not All Bad…
Even with such a laundry list of complaints, Multiplayer has some redeeming qualities. The new maps seem to be well-planned and plenty immersive. There is also a new feature for those who love to snipe: the “hold your breath” key. When aiming down the site or through a scope, you can hold a key down to “hold your breath” and steady the rifle almost perfectly still. Now that’s useful.
It seems like COD2 was made with the attitude that the UO expansion pack never happened. I don’t get it, and I think it handicaps the game — especially in Multiplayer mode. I’m sure most Multipayer COD2 gamers also played UO, so there’s a real disconnect between the two. While I like the Single Player game, I can’t really vouch for the multiplayer experience. I’ll probably play more UO Multiplayer, to tell the truth. And I have this sneaking suspicion that a COD2 expansion pack will include a lot of the current omissions, and that strikes me as underhanded and shifty. We’ll see, I guess.
I am no doubt going to be called out on some of these items. These are just my observations, so feel free to correct me or offer more insight. Game on!