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Written by  :  D Michael (232)
Written on  :  Dec 05, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars

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Summary

Really good, but not perfect.

The Good

CoD2 returns us to the frontlines in WW2 with a wonderful atmosphere and a nitty-gritty feel that has attributed to making this series stand head and shoulders above a sea of other WW2 themed games.

The controls should be very familiar to players of the original CoD for the PC, allowing for seasoned veterans to jump right into the action, yet simple enough to be learned quickly by the novice. The scalability for system options allows this game to utilize the power of modern PCs, all the while making the game beautiful and responsive on older PCs as well. The graphics are excellent.

There are a few improvements over the original CoD. For one, you do not have to play through an entire campaign before starting a campaign for another nation. In the first CoD you had to play all of the American missions, then British, then Russian, with the final missions being a mish-mash between the various groups. With CoD 2, you begin with the Russian campaign but at some point can unlock the British campaign. At this point you can continue playing the Russians or switch over to the British for a change of pace. Of course, the outcomes are pretty linear but you have the chance to change things up a bit.

Another improvement is the ability to throw grenades while staying armed with a firearm. In the first game, you had to switch weapons over to grenades and then back to rifle. In CoD2, you have a button assigned for grenades, meaning you can throw, fire, throw, fire. A small touch that's a big improvement in gameplay.

Furthermore, the scripted events are much better than in the first installment. For example, with the Russians we blew up a large building. The whole thing went down beautifully, and as the smoke and dust approached us, all of my comrades started coughing and choking from the dust. Very nice touch.

Also, there is quite a bit of chatter. Your computer controlled teammates will tell you exactly where the enemy is hiding out. "There are Germans by those barrels to the south!", or you might hear "Fascists in the house upstairs to the north!". Pretty cool.

The Bad

While there are several improvements over the original CoD, I have to say that I did not enjoy this one as much as the first. The voice acting is sub-par, and most of the accents are terrible, taking away from the immersion. Some of the Russian voices sound like teenagers from NY joking around, while at other times you'll hear a Russian or Brit speak without any accent at all.

On top of that, there is way too much chatter. Everybody on your team, along with the enemy is screaming this and that all the time. It gets a bit repetitive and tiring. Think about having 3 radios, one tuned to rock, one to hip hop, one to country and crank the volume on all three and listen to the noise. It's something like that.

This game isn't as hardcore as the first. It seems like a softer experience. I feel more that I'm playing an FPS shooter rather than feeling like I'm really playing a part in a big live battle. It's hard to put my finger on it, but it seems to lack the meat and potatoes that the original had.

The weapons are less convincing than the original. Some weapon sounds have been greatly improved. The SVT-40 now sounds like a real gun when being fired. Crank your speakers up and your neighbors might call the police. On the other hand, most of the other weapons feel weak and fake. Recoil on some of the weapons is either unrealistic or non-existent. Firing the Mosin-Nagant, a very powerful rifle by any standard, makes a 'pop'. It feels like a BB gun. The PPsh is too easy to control, and the Lee-Enfield is too accurate and too powerful. Most people may not care about these things, but hardcore players will notice.

Furthermore, there is less distinction in the noise that the weapons make. For example, in the first CoD, if a weapon was being fired but you couldn't see it, you could still determine exactly which weapon it was by the sound. This was a great tool in multiplayer when sneaking around. In CoD2 however, most of the weapons are indistinguishable from one another. Often the German, Brit, American, and Russian weapons sound the same. There is some distinction as with the SVT-40, but otherwise not much.

The multiplayer just isn't as fun as the first. As mentioned before, it lacks the meat and potatoes feel of the original. It seems softer, less intense, and just quite simply not as fun for me. Smoke grenades, while more realistic, is not good for gameplay. Grenades smoke too much and often choke up the battlefield. You sometimes feel like you're running around blind.

Also, while the graphics are better than the original, for some reason it's hard to distinguish a player's alignment from a distance just by sight alone. The uniforms tend to resemble each other due to the drab colors used and you often find yourself shooting your comrades in single player mode.

The Bottom Line

If you were a fan of CoD, I'd still recommend this title even though I feel like it is a step backwards from the original. Even though I'm a bit disappointed with CoD2, it is still better than any other WW2 game out there. Recommended.