Thursday, November 03, 2005

Call of Duty 2

Okay, after a two year love affair with Call of Duty, which followed a quick fling with Wolfenstein which came after the three years I spent with my first love (Half-Life) I am happy to inform you all that Call of Duty 2 has finally hit the shelves and it is everything FPS gamers could have hoped that it would be.

There are many noticeable changes in the game, but the biggest is undoubtedly the health system. Although this is vastly different from the first version, it does not detract from gameplay in any way. I have to admit that I spend the majority of my time playing on-line with friends, so most of what I tell you here is based on the multiplayer experience, but the health system comments are accurate across the board.

When I first heard about the changes to the health system, I was a little concerned that Activision had screwed this game up. How could you possibly have a game where you could just get back under cover and regain full health in a matter of seconds. Certainly you should have to be healed by a medic, or at least search for some health packs lying around.

I am thrilled to be able to tell you that this does not detract from the game whatsoever. In fact, the health system, along with some of the other improved features, really make this game the tightest FPS ever developed, at least in the area of team tactical play. If you like to run and gun, get used to dying and waiting to respawn. This game forces you to take your time and play the game with diligence, working with your squadmates to capture a radio or a flag depending on the gametype you're playing. It's as close to realistic as they could make it in that area.

If you try to go it alone without someone backing you up, chances are you are going to encounter a group from the other team, and unless you have your L337 hacks enabled, you will die the majority of the time. Some people might find that this style of gameplay is not as exciting as the run and gun "Serious Sam" type of game, but in all actuality, the tension and anxiety only serve to heighten the intensity of the gameplay.

The only negative comments I can make about the game at this point concern the anti-cheat system which is nonexistent, and the hardware requirements. It is simply not acceptable that Activision shipped this game out without Punkbuster being enabled. There is no more frustrating gaming experience than playing on a server with a llama who is using a trigger-bot or a wall hack. Although Activision is to be lauded for the fact that this game is so smooth right out of the box, this was a major mistake. The gaming community can't really do anything about it, but there may in fact be some people out there that will wait for punkbuster to be activated and stick to playing F.E.A.R. or Counterstrike until that happens.

The other issue with this game is the fact that my GeForce 5200 is only getting me from 30-35 frames per second depending on the map. Add in the fact that going through any smoke slows that number down even worse, and it can really be a drag playing the game. I love to sneak around maps, and I am a master at using smoke to cover my trail and get in and out of places unscathed, but when I can't see anything while I'm using that smoke because my FPS have slowed to a snails pace, it just isn't fun anymore. My 5200 just isn't that old that this should not be the case.

Nonetheless, I'm still playing the game, and enjoying it most of the time. I have the benefit of being able to play on my clan server ( so I can kick anyone that is obviously cheating though. I highly recommend it if the fact that there is no anti-cheat system as of yet doesn't bother you, and if your system can meet the minimum requirements on the side of the box.

Happy fragging!


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