Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2 looks very crisp. There are tons of things going on simultaneously with no drop in framerate, which is very impressive. Sound effects are tremendous.

This is also about the five hundredth World War II game I've played in the last three years, it seems.

My dislike of the original COD was due to elaborate set pieces having a very thin veil separating them from stupidity. The opening scene, actually, after your base is attacked, featured me singlehandedly downing attacking planes with my rifle. I kept shooting and shooting. Finally, I realized that this was going to go on forever. I could shoot ten thousand planes down if I wanted to, and nothing would ever advance, because the set piece demanded that I move to a specific place to advance the action. That's what I mean by a thin veil.

It's the same in COD 2. There's a very early scene where you're facing some Germans across an opening between buildings, and no matter how many you shoot, they seem to keep regenerating. It's only when you bridge the gap between buildings that the action changes. Again, this is so thin a device that it's ineffective as artifice. As soon as I realize what's happening, it totally takes me out of the atmosphere of the game.

The game is skillfully done, generally, and the immersion factor in widescreen and 5.1 sound is relatively high. It's just that the WWII-shoot-shoot-boom-shoot genre is getting, well, tired, and I don't see this game as being any kind of advancement. Again, that's after only an hour of play, and it may well get much, much better, but the initial impression I got was more of the same, only much prettier.

One thing I've noticed in general about the games I've played today is that the developers seem to be aware of the value of leaving the screen relatively uncluttered. HUD's have been small and unobtrusive, which has really increased the immersion factor.

Next up: Perfect Dark Zero.

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