am a great fan of "Call of Duty" having survived the mawling I received in "MOHAA" and its' 2 expansion packs. Replaying the "MOH" series you realize just how diverse and varied your objectives, scenarios and playing experience are. Sometimes it plays like "Doom 3", with a dog jumping you out of nowhere, or a shattering hail of bullets from a quiet little orchard. And boy, your health bar plummets like lead in water. "COD" could be just as frantic, but it was more fun, less hectic, and you quite often have a squad to keep you company (though the mission goals are up to you as always). "COD:UO" upped the ante enormously. When I first played (and reloaded x 10) the Ardennes Campaign I couldn't believe the staggering number of Germans I had to fend off. The campaigns were even more diverse (a bomber gunner?) and far more vicious (the Russian section is savage)."CoD:UO" was designed by Grey Matter and they obviously felt they had something to prove. Like serving your head to you in your own helmet."Cod2" went back to Infinity Ward and you might think they'd want to up the ante yet again.Guess not. Its' actually far easier. GRAPHICS: Great if you have the goods. The Russian section is gritty and harsh as it should be. The desert section suitably arid with lovely sunsets and long shadows. The American Normandy section wet, muddy and dreary (as it was). The other change from the previous installment is the colouring. "COD" and "UO" were quite colourful, with bright yellow fires, orange/black explosions and lovely red-bricked buildings. "COD2" strips that colour away. It looks like someone has watched too much "Band Of Brothers". Grey is the colour of the day (apart from the desert, but even then it is a very washed-out). Explosions are more smoke than flame, and if you don't believe me, play the British campaign and see how Captain Price's red beret stands out. Gives the game a downright dirty feel. So, in comparison with the first WWII comes to your monitor in all its' non-glory (more realistic, that is). The attention to detail is much higher. In the original you would come to generic farmhouse, see the alleyways and know the enemy is only going to appear at the doorway or around the corner. This time that farmhouse is modelled on photos from the region, the alleys are shadowed, and this time you'll find yourself slowing to check those alleys and corners. A lot more depth. You decide if it works for you. For me, I feel like I have a very different game from the first, which is good, and better executed than "Brothers In Arms".
GAMEPLAY: The interface is streamlined. No more health bar (which I never had time to look at in "UO" anyway). No more quicksaves, strange, but oddly not a problem. Once the first Russkie section is complete you can continue or branch off into the British. First British mission done, the US campaign opens. Some reviewers found this weird, but it actually works well. You get more of a feeling of a WORLD war. Now the negatives.
The enemy is always in front of or above you. 9 times out of 10 a direct rush at an enemy position actually works. They look at you, then look away. Tatatatata. Up the difficulty a level, and they'll throw your grenades right back at you. If you're running low on ammo for your Thompson, let your mates run ahead, get mown down, and restock from them. Heh heh! Apart from some tank missions, the bulk of all 3 campaigns are based on house-to-house fighting. In the US Campaign, I ran to the doors of the houses to be cleared, and my mates actually went in and completed the objectives for me. By then, I was very, very tired of street fighting. The diversity was gone. If this was a RTS, I would say that tank-rush tactics were the way to win. I expected much, particularly since "UO". There is actually more tension, varied and different fighting techniques and overall polish in "MOH:PA". SOUND: Deserves a special mention. The soundtrack, from film composer Greame Revell is very dramatic. But the voice acting is the best part. Squad mates will yell "Sniper on the balcony to the left", and sure enough he'll be there. If you take different routes to your objective the vocal responses will adapt and yell appropriate warnings. This "Battle Chatter" is something Infinity Ward is proud of, and rightly so. Gives you an extra feeling of authenticity.
SUMMARY: I enjoyed "COD2", and will replay it again and again like the others, but there is not the "Oh yeah!!!!" rush at completing a hard mission that you got from the "MOH" series or "COD:UO". I like the changes they've made in gameplay, but overall its' as easy to complete as the first installment, but it actually feels shorter. I finished it in one days' sitting, and rushing doorways really does get tiresome. Outflanking MG nests is also a doddle, and just as monotonous. Throw 4 grenades (one will come back at you, so duck), pop smoke and mow them down as they stagger out. It could have been a great jump forward for WWII FPS's, but missed the sandpit. Still, I love it (especially if I just play it for its' more realistic feel over the others).