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Call Of Duty

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward


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PC Review - 'Call Of Duty'

by ToAstA on Dec. 24, 2003 @ 3:10 a.m. PST

Call of Duty delivers the gritty realism and cinematic intensity of WWII's most epic battlefield moments - from the perspective of citizen soldiers and unsung heroes representing an alliance of countries, who together helped shape the course of modern history.

Genre: First Person Shooter
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward
Release Date: October 29, 2003


The much-anticipated Call of Duty has hit your local gaming stores and all online retailers by now. Many have played but for those few who haven't hopefully this review will get you in the mood to enlist for the battles of WWII. Activision brings forth the latest in the extremely populated World War II gaming genre hoping to stake their own claim in it.

You'll start Call of Duty attending boot camp some years before you actually get shipped out. You start off as Pvt. Martin, a soldier in the US Army ready to go overseas and kick some Nazi ass… after the boot camp tutorial, of course. After which, you will find yourself sent straight into the intense, squad-driven game play of Call of Duty. What separates this game from many of the other WWII games on the market is the fact that you're a low-ranked soldier that's just part of a squad. Instead of dishing out the orders, you'll be the one receiving and (hopefully) following them. The developers did an amazing job of transporting you back to the ruined villages of WWII with the Quake 3: Arena engine. After tearing the engine's guts out and bringing it back to life, the game looks really good even by today's standards.

The biggest change you'll notice is the per-pixel shaded water, which looks, as you'd expect, awesome. Character models look good enough in most situations especially for the Q3A engine, but sometimes they lack a little in detail. Textures aren't extremely high-resolution on anything, which isn't really a bad thing, but compared to current games and their engines it looks somewhat dated at times. The models also have basic, but convincing facial expressions that do well to convey fear and anger. Weapon models look awesome and authentic. You'll be able to sample weapons from the American, British and Russian stockpile of guns as well as being able to pick up any German weapon that drops.

Call of Duty's AI is another feature that really helps immerse the gamer. Your squad mates will run for cover, peek out from behind a wall and pop off a shot, lay down covering fire and use squad tactics to take objectives. Enemy AI offers a great challenge, as the Nazis will perform in the same way as your allies. Gunfights feel realistic and will have your heart pumping as you duck behind cover, pop up and fire off a few rounds and then duck back down to save your skin. This method feels insane when you're down in the trenches with your enemy.

The single player portion of Call of Duty is a fast-paced romp through the horrors of WWII. You could describe Call of Duty as short and very sweet. Playing on Veteran mode I made it through half the game after playing for about 6 hours. Starting off in the American campaign you'll do various missions ranging from blowing up flak Panzers, taking out MG nests and being a passenger in a car driving through enemy territory. I found that the American campaign flowed very well into the British campaign, and then some of the snags hit. The British campaign starts of with two amazing missions, but towards the end it sort of fizzles out. You'll be forced into two commando-like missions where you, and only you, are responsible for killing hundreds of Nazis and completing objectives.

I felt as though these missions really took away from the ambiance the rest of the game builds by having you as just a lowly grunt following your CO's orders. The transition from the British campaign to the amazing Russian campaign also feels a little odd. I guess it's understandable since the frontlines of war are a bit far from each other, but still, the flow wasn't really there. Retaking Stalingrad was the most intense part of the game in my opinion and was replayed many, many times. The campaigns that follow the Russian's war effort are also excellent and do make up for the few commando missions you'll be put through.

Sound in Call of Duty is also of high-caliber quality. The sound team did an amazing job recording the plethora of WWII-era weapons. Not only do the guns sound realistic as you fire them, but so do the sounds bullets make as they drive into brick walls or into the dirt in front of your face while you lay prone. Cranking your speakers and sub-woofer will give you an almost scary tour through the sounds of warfare. You'll feel the boom of the mortars and Panzerfausts exploding against the sounds of tanks as they lumber down the street. Another great aspect of the game's sound is the voice-overs used for the soldiers. Your CO's voice acting is excellent as well as the comments made by your comrades as they scream at you to cover them. The only problem I had with the voices is that the Nazis yell in German, but the Russians speak in English. I wish they spoke in their native tongue and provided us with subtitles, but this is only a minor gripe in an otherwise excellent sound score.

Multiplayer is what gives Call of Duty actual replay value. The standards are here in the form of deathmatch and team deathmatch. Call of Duty also features modes such as: Behind Enemy Lines, which pits players on the Allied side scattered across the map. The Axis side always outnumbers the Allies by a lot in this game mode. Scoring in Behind Enemy Lines plays out by having every Axis player that kills an Ally turn into an Ally player. The longer you stay alive as an Ally the more points you will earn. Call of Duty also features Search and Destroy, which is a lot like the planting bomb missions of Counter-Strike. The last game type is Retrieval, where one team must locate and return an item to their retrieval zone to score. Much like Counter-Strike, the last two modes of game play mentioned keep the player who dies out of the game until the next round starts up.

Call of Duty also has a new feature called the Kill-Cam. The Kill-Cam allows you to see through the eyes of your killer after your death, sort of a like a quick little replay of your death. It's interesting but doesn't add too much to the actual game play.

Overall Call of Duty is, in my opinion, one of the best WWII-themed games ever released. You owe it to yourself to try out the amazing single player campaign and then hop online to frag with your buddies. Despite minor flaws with the story's continuity, length of game and odd mission choices, the game stands strong as one of the best of this year.

Score : 9.0/10

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