Developer: Infinity Ward
Release Date: 10/25/2005
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The Good: Great production values, graphics look great, uses lesser told stories during the war
The Bad: Typical multiplayer, not very cinematic, objectives are repetitive and boring, highly linear, no gore, nothing new at all
All those World War II shooters we endured for an entire decade felt like a war on its own. Shooter after endless shooter bombarded our systems, and then there were the really bad ones in between the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor yearly releases. Call of Duty 2 was highly anticipated because it was the actual sequel to the award winning original. Does it stand out like the first game did? Is it full of cinematic finesse and finely nuanced mechanics? Not really.
There's not much of a story here because it's based off WWII. Black and white footage with a dull narrator telling you about different theaters of the war, then there's the typical journal entry during the load screen, nothing interesting at all, and even when the game came out I was sick of these WWII shooters. What does Call of Duty 2 build on? Nothing, it's just more of the same, but at least it has high production values and it does the same stuff right. The game has you following three different soldiers from the Russian, British, and American side. One thing I did like was that you get to play a different side of the Normandy beach storming and that's the Rangers. They climbed up the cliff side trying to shut down the German pill boxes and various artillery so our troops stopped getting slaughtered on the beachhead. Call of Duty 2 tries to tell the smaller stories in the war which is a nice change of pace.
The same weapons are here that you have shot a million times. Lee Enfield, M1 Garand, Mp40, MP44, Sten, and various others. Of course not ALL WWII weapons are here, but I wanted to see some of the more obscure ones like the Browning or BAR. At this point in time it was just about better graphics and who's weapon textures looked the most realistic. Call of Duty 2 delivers on the visuals and was a benchmarker much like Crysis is now back in 2005/2006. It was one of the first game to support SLI and really pushed PCs and made you get those $500 graphics cards. It was a must have for PC owners, and was also a GPU seller. With that aside, the textures look great even today and the visuals really pop. The sound is great as well with gunfire chattering in the distance and soldiers yelling all around you. It may seem dated today, but you can really see how much the Call of Duty series hasn't evolved. There's striking similarities to the Modern Warfare series because it's all the same, shoot anything that moves.
The game can be pretty easy at times, I could just rush into a building and blow everyone away with one clip and survive. I still find it painful to know that grenade physics are still really bad and bounce around like rubber balls. There are various things I just really can't stand about these shooters and that's the lack of realism. When I shoot enemies blood doesn't even come out, where's the gore and violence? Brothers in Arms was the first WWII shooter to use this violence in the genre, but Call of Duty just feels like some sort of censored theme park ride.
CoD2 had a huge multiplayer following, but sadly no one's online anymore. Even so, it's just a typical online shooter and isn't anything special. I was really disappointed to find that CoD2 wasn't as cinematic as it could have been and just felt the same throughout the whole game. Blow up this door, defend this position, destroy that mortar nest, kill this Flak 88 crew. It's the same stuff we play in every single WWII shooter and nothing ever changes. Sure it was mindless fun, but I have come to realize why I was so glad everyone moved on.
(Review based on PC version)