Call of Duty 2 takes the action back to the battlefields of World War 2 and sees you pit your wits against the Axis forces as either Russian, British or American. But is the game gritty and real enough to throw you head first into the havoc of war? We pick up a Thompson submachine gun and find out.
Starting as a Russian cadet in training the game quickly turns for the worse as German troops attack and you are left scrambling for a gun to replace your stick and potato grenades. From here on in, its pretty much action all the way with not many breaks in fighting.
There are three campaigns to tackle and a varying amount of missions in each one. A criticism is that the game is heavily structured around completing a set of tasks. Failing to do these tasks in the correct order will mean that you won't be able to move on to the next one, which can soon become frustrating.
Battling the axis of evil isn't easy and where the game succeeds is the realism involved in the fight sequences. Get pinned down for example, and they will just keep coming until you make a move to progress the game further. For us, this normally involved a smoke grenade (which by the way look amazing) for cover and then the hope and pray tactic of “going over the top” as you charge the enemy's defences.
Like other first person shooters, the controls are very simple to pick up with one analogue stick acting as the movement, while the other is for looking around.
When it comes to graphics, like other Xbox360 titles, Call of Duty 2 is very good, although the end result is more of a PC experience than any of the other games we've played and reviewed so far.
This is most likely attributable to the nature and history of the series having a PC background rather than a console one. It's not a bad thing, however, as the graphics are still stunning, especially when you get up close and personal.
While the graphics impress, the sound unfortunately can become annoying and on more than one occasion we were forced to turn it down to save the impending headache. Like the graphics the sound is very good, however where we had issues, is that if you're not firing a machine gun then someone else is and that's pretty much all you can hear.
When you become bored with the single player levels, players can head over to challenge others in the multiplayer arenas. Deathmatch and capture the flag offer the usual opportunities to frag your opponents, however one of the more intriguing options is HQ where you have to set up a base and then defend it as long as you can.
Talking to a number of other reviewers who have been testing this game, it seems that most prefer the identical version on the PC. Perhaps it's the control mechanism that they prefer or maybe its just people are used to playing FPS on the PC rather than struggle with controls on a joypad.
If you've got a high-end PC with plenty of memory and a good graphics card, it might be worth investing your money in the PC version rather than a copy for your shiny new console.
It's not that this version is bad, far from it, we love the visceral nature of Call of Duty 2 and its ability to immerse you quickly into the chaos, noise and action of the Second World War.
If you're already stretched for cash, then the cheaper PC alternative might be the better way to get your gaming fix.
More some impressive 360 panoramic screen shots visit:www.panogames.com/vr_call_of_duty_2/