Riley, Doyle, Yuri: Heroes deserving better
Call of Duty United Offensive is the add-on of Call of Duty, a WWII FPS. Having bought the Deluxe Edition in English (Italian was fine but I always need the French or English version after that, like with Max Payne), I could play the original one more time and its add-on.
Anyway, again, you're playing a soldier during this war in the US, British and Soviet army, as in CoD. And going with it, your weaponry is the one of your army. But instead of planting charges, destroying tanks, etc., even if these objectives are still present, you will have more passages in a vehicle. Well, the tank ride is still there and unfortunately still uneasy to control with the turret thing. But now, you'll have a jeep ride with a big caliber (instead of the French car ride with Moody in CoD), a plane ride, where you're a gunner against Luftwaffe (not so easy), a bike ride with Major Ingram, with the same major, a boat ride and if I can include the escape in the truck with the Dutch resistance, well, I'm doing it, even if it's for some seconds compared to the truck ride with Evans and Price in CoD.
Riley is the Yankee.... uhm, the G.I. you're controlling during the battle of Ardennes in 1944. You're beginning in Foley and Moody's unit, the same one where you were when playing Martin in CoD. Anyway, now, we can see the why of Martin's last mission in the original game.
Back to Riley. You're in patrol but soon find a whole division of Germans and Panzers, so, you don't have a choice but to return to Moody and the jeep. And there, you've got a ticket for a ride with Moody as the conductor. If you remember how he was driving in CoD, well, be sure to be shaken. Anyway, you're the one controlling the big gun... After reaching the HQ, no time for resting, you have to go with Anderson into your foxhole for pushing back the Nazis. Well, not for long, because dear Moody needs you for manipulating a chaingun, a sniper rifle and bazookas... That's how CoD: UO begins and that's how you'll learn how to use the chaingun and the bazooka...
After this little thing, you're going to do a night mission for clearing the paths of your Shermans (US tanks) and trying to discover what happened to one of your patrols. It will be a long mission but it's not the main plate. Riley will be fighting in Belgian villages by clearing them and protecting the tanks... An epic fight in a castle will conclude the US campaign.
Being a good US GI, Riley has the right to have good US weapons like the Thompson, M1 Garand and even bazookas. But you will have to change for German weapons because ammunition is low and friendly fire for having more isn't tolerated...
Let Riley in Belgium and meet Doyle.
When beginning the British campaign just after your Belgian hell, you're just a RAF gunner (dorsal turret) in a bomber going to Holland. We're in 1941 and the Luftwaffe, despite having been beaten during the Battle of Britain, is still counting a big number of pilots and engines. If you're assisted by Spitfires or Hurricanes (didn't recognize what plane it was) at the beginning, soon, you'll be without help and you can only count on yourself and on your friends for surviving.
But Doyle isn't just a dorsal turret, he's the one who must do everything: changing turrets when Memerschmitts are at 12'o clock, 6'o clock or 9'o clock because, well, the tail and left gunners were killed or launching the bombs because the door is jammed, etc.
Unfortunately for him, his plane exploded and he was lucky enough to survive it. Even if he knows that he'll be a prisoner. Well, it was a wrong assumption because Major Ingram is with Dutch resistance and that they'll save you. Now, your goal is to assist them in their task: kill Nazis and making a bridge explode.
When we're controlling Doyle in the next mission, we're in 1943 and he just joined S.A.S commandos, under Ingram's orders. His mission is to destroy some Nazi installation in Sicily. If it was a success, Doyle lost four comrades in the battle. He also had an epic ride in a bike with Ingram and a boat one when escaping... guess where? Yes, he was the gunner of the boat...
Doyle being a British guy, he has the corresponding weaponry... only during the S.A.S. mission, even if you'll switch fastly to German weapons... thanks to the low ammo. During your time with the Dutch resistance, you had no choice but to pick your enemy's weaponry.
Say bye-bye to Sergeant James Doyle and say hello to Yuri.
And now, comrade, you're in the Red Army, during 1943, battling in Kursk. Well, it's a trenches battle so, expect a lot of dust and a lot of movement. Going to the left flank, planting explosives on tanks, defend the village nearby, etc.. You will also have to take a village by assaulting them... This one made me worry because of my low ammo again.
After this victorious battle, you'll be transferred in a Tank division... meaning that the tank ride will be as difficult as the one in CoD. You're pursuing Panzers and well, they're more than expected...
And then, it's the battle for Kharkov, with the binoculars and the artillery support (remind me of Vietcong, but it was easiest to use). It's a very nervous battle, you will even have to destroy bombers and try to hold a train station with a Flack .88... remember Benouville? Well, it's the same style.
Yuri is a good Soviet, so, even if he begins with a simple Mosin-Nagan, he'll be soon equipped with a Tokarev... and forced to find German weaponry. Guess why? Low ammunition again.
It's the same gameplay as in CoD. Lock, load and shoot... Yes but don't forget to duck. Because the Germans are firing at you and I can guarantee a fast death if you aren't careful. You don't give orders but you have objectives, represented by a star on the map. And they're varied: destroy Panzers, cover Moody again (he loves playing the hero), plant explosive in a lighthouse, defend the bomber you're in, etc.
You can also use the MG42 or Flack.88 (cannon) if required. It's easy to play Call of Duty United Offensive... only if you understand fastly how these binoculars are working. Same for bazookas.
AI is very good, particularly when coming to the enemy. They can duck, throw grenades or fighting with their weapons in a hand-and-hand battle. Anyway, you don't have stupid soldiers coming directly to you, giving you the easy way to kill them.
Graphics are very nice and I was surprised by the quality of the night missions. Anyway, you can recognize easily your allies or your enemies. The places are also very well designed: to a completely destroyed Kharkov to the interior of a bomber without forgetting the Ardennes or the Dutch forest.
Weapons are also well modelled, when having a Thompson or a M1-Garand or a Mosin-Nagant in my hands, I didn't felt a difference with the ones used in Vietcong, the FPS taking place during the Vietnam War, even when clicking on the right button for a better aim.
Soundtrack is very good. Voice acting was very good and I have to say that the sounds were also immersing you into the battle. I'm wondering if it was like that at the time but it was stressful to hear a Panzer arriving or a mortar exploding.
Music is very good. You have the impression to be into an heroic drama movie, like in Star Wars for example. I loved it.
With four difficulty modes and a multiplayer one, CoD United Offensive can be long. And its replay value is high, so expect days or weeks of intense pleasure.
Now, this is why I think that Riley, Doyle and Yuri deserve to be in a better game than United Offensive.
Even if the ideas of having more vehicle action is a good one, I can only say something: the plane was very difficult. I explain myself. It's not easy to destroy plane but CoD trying to be realistic, I'll said that it's not normal. But passing from a turret from another in a small amount of time, when you have a passage in the plane that makes you automatically crouch and loose precious time, it's frustrating. Because the enemy will always be nearer than you thought when gaining control of your turret. So, the pilot is always screaming at your for doing this or that, but after, he's not happy because you aren't in your turret. Great.
The boat ride is also difficult because a large amount of health will be lost and despite being in Greenhorn difficulty, I sank. I'm regretting Moody and his cars.
The tank ride didn't improve, it's still a hard thing to control: if your turret isn't in the same direction as the front of the tank, you'll be trying to position you in the right one, even the command Space who will center the turret isn't as easy to use. If you touch your mouse, the positioning stops. And it's the law of Murphy: when you have to do that, you're under the enemy fire (Panzers or Germans soldiers). Add to that that your one-hit destroying rocket isn't working anymore...
Yes, you can't explode with one rocket the Panzers. Even with Panzerfausts... US bazooka is difficult to use and is very slow for the reloading. So Moody or Foley can be screaming "tank in this direction" or "destroy it", I can't be faster. And as you'll be forced to reload it often, well, your friends can received a Panzer rocket because Panzers are very fast for reloading. It's the same problem with the tank ride, you'll be more often under line of fire than in CoD. I know that the game is realistic and nervous but if Greenhorn difficulty isn't as easy as it should be, what will be in Veteran when you know that medikits aren't present anymore.
And ammunition is so low in the expansion pack, even with German weaponry, that I was worrying about my own play. I mean, I need ammo because it's a lot of Germans in front of me. If they don't have the right weapon for me, I'm doomed. And the new weapons in this side isn't really what I prefer.
Also, in the SAS mission, I had difficulties to find the third place for my explosive. It was on the pillar of the light, but it's not easy to spot despite the yellow shape.
Finally, during the Soviet assault on Kharkov, I needed to call artillery support against anti-tank. Well, I didn't really understand how to use this thing. I didn't spot the anti-tank first. So, if you're not fast enough to find it, you'll be frustrated. But I didn't know that I needed to find this antitank. Sergeant Antonov wasn't clear enough and when the white text saying that I needed binoculars for calling artillery support appears, it didn't say that I have to spot it. I didn't check my objectives because the chiefs were always very clear about orders. I would have liked a tutorial involving it.
The Bottom Line
United Offensive is a good add-on but I largely prefer CoD than this add-on. It's fast-paced, more than in CoD, orders aren't really clear like in CoD (if you doesn't count that I needed first to understand the Italian I didn't knew) and the facts that some passages are more frustrating than the already ones in CoD aren't pleading for a replay. I'll try to replay it but I don't think that I will be replaying it a lot of time. CoD will be likely my favorite game in the CoD series until I receive CoD 2 (bought online on the site beginning by E and finishing by Y with letters B and A).
If you like fast-paced action, play United Offensive. If you're curious about the new rides, go for it. But if you prefer the content of the original, don't go for the add-on. I don't regret buying a Deluxe Edition though. It's a box scan in plus for another site and it's another gaming experience. I'm very generous with my 7/10. But hey, it's still a soft with high quality in terms of techniques.