Call of Duty Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 9.0
Gameplay : 9.0
Multiplayer : 9.5
Overall : 9.0
Review by Kurt Knudsen
I never had any anticipation for this game; I saw the screen shots and just passed it up. The demo has been out for quite some time, and I regret not playing it. CoD is an incredible WW2 FPS game, very much like Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. It is so similar to MOH:AA that it uses the same engine - CoD is based off the Quake3 Engine.

Graphics:

As I stated before the engine behind this game is Quake3. We’ve seen so many games use this engine, and I think it is pretty clear why. The engine runs very well across all types of systems, and it looks fantastic on high detail. At 1600x1200 with 8xAA/16xAF it ran fairly smooth, although in heavy gun fights it slowed down incredibly, forcing me to change the settings. I had no argument here since those are incredibly high settings and trying to do all of that with 40 or so people running around is quite a task..

The maps range from destroyed villages to more destroyed cities. The first few missions seem to look the same: run through various houses and destroy the enemy. While this might sound mundane it is still quite fun, and later levels change the scenery quite a bit. For the most part it is pretty much the same; the game takes place in and around destroyed villages. Another thing to note is the length of the maps and missions. Some can be long, while most are fairly short. If you run through it without hesitation you can finish a level in no time. The maps themselves look pretty large, but you must go this way and that to complete the objectives.

If you have an objective it appears as a golden star thing on your compass. As each one is completed the next is put on there. This is a must have for a game of this type, since things can get confusing with running through vast amounts of destroyed houses and fields. The compass guides you right where you need to go, and most objectives glow, to make them easier to see.

The character models look great. They are somewhat up to par with today’s standards, since Doom 3 and HL2 are still in the works. They are smooth and their outfit fits them perfectly, almost making them look lifelike. Their reactions are quite nice as well. Animations flow together seamlessly; going from one animation to another is practically flawless. Models do have one small flaw: the mouths on the models look weird, to put it bluntly. They just don’t seem to fit their faces; they look too out of place.

The special effects in the game look like they came from a movie. The fire and explosions are incredible. Explosions lights up the area and send debris flying everywhere. It is somewhat hard to explain without painting a picture, but I must say the explosions are just great. Grenades send whatever ground they land on flying. Snow soars sky high through the air giving off an amazing effect. Dirt scatters this way and that leaving a black mark on the ground.

The weapon models from what I can tell look realistic. I didn’t take the time to check their accuracy, but from what I see in-game they look excellent. They shine from the light and give off great muzzle flashes. The muzzle flashes are an essential part of the game, since it gives away the enemies' position in critical situations.

The surroundings in the various maps are excellent. There are a lot of places to be used as cover, either to hide behind or to use to snipe from. Most of it is obviously planted there because a brigade of enemies will come from the opposite side of it. Nonetheless it is still great to see all of these obstacles can be used to your advantage, especially in multiplayer. It is also fun when you get to hop in a car as a passenger and mow down the enemies as you drive by. The car chase scenes are pretty intense and wild, great for action and very fun.

Sound:

As one would expect the voices are superb. Not only that but we have a few famous people doing some of them. Spike from Cowboy Bebop, a very popular anime has a great part in the game. Jason Statham has a part as the British Sergeant. It is always great to see professional actors and voice actors to come in and do games; it really brings up the quality exponentially.

The score from the game is excellent, another one I wouldn’t mind on an OST. The action music kicks in right on time and it really helps in clinches to bring you into the game even further. Most of the time the music is fairly low and the barrage of gunfire really over powers it, this isn’t a bad thing however. For the most part the music is done excellently; there really hasn’t been a game recently with really bad music. It seems that companies are getting some great composers to make their music, and it pays off in the end.

Sound effects in CoD are extremely realistic. With EAX 3 turned on it is a totally different experience. You can hear the gun shots all around you; this is what really makes the game intense. In large battles the gun fire is almost nonstop and you can hear it ricochet off walls and other objects.

Overall the audio in this game is really where it’s at. Everything is well rounded and sounds extremely professional. There are mods out there already that can improve upon the already great sound effects. Whether you want these for a better experience or not is completely up to you. For me the sound is perfect as is, as with the added EAX it is incredible. I am very pleased with the audio in this game, much like other games it is very professional.

Gameplay:

Well we all know the game is based around WW2, so the story is that. You start off in a boot camp that explains the game as quickly as possible. It is a very short and sweet tutorial that teaches you the controls and how to handle weapons. It really looks like a boot camp with all of the obstacles and drill sergeants screaming in your ear.

After the short tutorial you are dropped into combat and really get the game going. As each level loads you can see a short briefing that explains the mission. Once in game you can hit TAB to see your objectives. Also they are planted on your compass for easy reading and navigation. Once there the next one is put up for you to see and it continues from there.

The missions themselves are fairly short if you run through them. Sometimes things can get a little confusing as to where to go or what to do. This is mainly due to you having to do everything. Even with a group of 10 units, they make you go in and destroy this and that. Of course it is great fun, but they could have done the job just as well. What is really great is when a large group of enemies is approaching you and you see all of your units scatter around and take tactical positions. Eliminating the enemy requires a bit of strategy, depending on your difficulty. On low difficulty you can just run around and cause havoc. On higher difficulties a simple mistake can lead to your death, since the damage dealt is much higher.

As you go through the levels you can kill enemies and take their weapons, incase your ammo is depleted or you need a better weapon. When you pick up a sniper rifle your view is very restricted and you get a small bob. Your stance will influence how heavy this bobbing action is. If you are prone there is very little and it is quite easy to compensate for, standing is another story. You also need to take into account the distance, as the bullet actually travels, hitting isn’t instant. At close ranges it is pretty much guaranteed that you will hit them if they are in your sight, but at greater distances you may have to lead the target a little.

The AI in the game also depends on selected difficulty mode. Usually the enemy aims for you, since they know you are the smartest of the bunch. The enemy takes cover and also tries to surround you. If you wanted to, you could sit back and watch your units fight the enemy. They do practically the same thing, hide behind a wall and peek and shoot. For the most part the enemy AI is fairly intelligent, they run from grenades and crouch and prone to get a better advantage on you. They will also use mounted guns and attempt to take you out. I was very impressed when I saw the AI in this game; it is very intelligent and brings a lot of difficulty to the game.

The maps are fairly linear, there are multiple ways to get the same destination, but you must get there. If there are enemies in an area the AI will usually wait for you to kill the one bad dude holding them back. This is a bit annoying at times, but for the most part it is fine since it gives you most of the responsibility. The missions themselves are pretty short, as you go on you see more and more objectives. They usually consist of blowing this and that up, or stealing this document, or kill hoards of enemies.

While this game does sound like a typical FPS clone, it isn’t. The action is excellent; the game play factor is really high. I definitely loved playing this game, was well worth the 50 dollars, especially for online play. The AI does a fantastic job of holding its own. The missions vary so it doesn’t get boring quickly, most fans of this genre will love this game. If you liked MOH:AA you would probably enjoy this game quite a bit, since it’s based around the same theme.

Multiplayer:

I haven’t been addicted to an online game since MOHAA. This game offers what MOHAA had and more, far surpassing it. It is faster paced, insane, and highly intense. Imagine yourself playing against 1 other person and being scared out of your mind. I was playing with a friend in the chateau level, basically crawling around the house hunting for him. There was complete silence, and then I get nailed by gun fire. Not only do I scream out loud in real life, but I threw my mouse across my desk, of course I died.

Never have I been this immersed in a single game online. I have found myself panicking out of fear, even though I know it’s only a game. The incredible special effects and sound effects add to this feeling. Hearing gunfire behind you ricochet off the walls and the sound of empty shells hitting the ground draws me in like nothing before. There are a lot of levels ranging from a sniper's dream, to up close and personal encounters all the time.

There are the standard modes of play; Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch. Other game modes included are; Retrieval, Behind Enemy Lines, and Search and Destroy.

Behind Enemy Lines

A very small team of Allied soldiers is outnumbered and surrounded by Axis soldiers behind enemy lines. Allied players gain points by staying alive and by killing as many Axis players as possible. An Axis player who kills an Allied player respawns as an Allied player for a chance to score even more points.

Retrieval

In this timed, round-based, team-oriented mode, one team must locate and retrieve crucial documents from the enemy and return the documents to their safe zone (represented as a blue box on the compass). The defending team must hold the enemy off until the time runs out. The attacking team gains points for successfully retrieving the documents. The defending team gains points for keeping the documents safe for the duration of the round. Either team can win by simply eliminating all enemies on the map.

Search & Destroy

In this timed, round-based, team-oriented mode, a team must destroy one of several objectives on the map while the other team strives to defend the objectives. The attacking team wins points for successfully destroying objectives. The defending team wins points for keeping all objectives intact for the duration of the round. Either team can win by simply eliminating all enemies on the map.

Deathmatch

It’s “every man for himself.” Points are awarded for kills, and the first player to either reach the score limit (set by the server administrator) or have the most points when time runs out is the victor.

Team Deathmatch

Similar to deathmatch mode but with all players divided into two teams. Points are awarded for kills. The team with the most points at the end of the time limit wins but the first team to reach the score limit can claim early victory.

As you can see there are quite a few modes of play - this should keep most people entertained for quite a while. These styles have been around since the dawn of time, and seem to work very well. The Behind Enemy Lines style seems quite unique and is interesting to play. Team Deathmatch has been and always will be my personal favorite, and it seems to be a lot of others’ as well. A lot of online servers allow you to play against a lot of people, from 1 to about 63. Surprisingly enough there are quite a few servers with large amounts of people, which of course add to the insanity.

When you die you can see who killed you and how with the Kill Cam. Some see this as cheating as it gives away the enemies position. It gives about a 5 second replay of your death, it can be quite entertaining. You can disable it in the server setting before you host. It gives the replay from their view and puts a white arrow above your head. This is a great thing because it can allow the player to see what they did wrong and improve upon it.

All I have to say is this game is very intense. It is especially intense when you play against 50 other people. In close corners there is a constant firefight, and with EAX enabled it sounds so realistic. This is quite possibly the most addicting and intense game I have ever played. This is hands down one of my favorite games of all time. If you enjoyed MOH:AA online, then you would probably love this.

Conclusion:

Despite using such an old engine the graphics hold their own quite well. They are nothing fantastic or ground breaking, but they do an admirable job with the power behind them. The voices and music are what one would expect from a game of this scale. They are up there with some of the best, mainly because of the realistic weapon sounds. The game plays like a war simulator, fast paced and always under fire. There is never a dull moment, action is around every corner.

Call of Duty is definitely on my top 10 best played games. Regardless of the repeated level design the game is extremely fun. I had little anticipation for this game so I was simply blown away when I started playing it. If you are a fan of the FPS genre then I would definitely recommend this title. If you like MOH:AA then, as previously stated, you will probably enjoy this game quite a bit. The online aspect is one of the best I’ve ever played. The firefights offer some intense game play and the special effects are outstanding.