With this title being a port of a PC game comparisons are bound to be made between the two formats. In simple terms the Xbox 360 version is very similar to the PC version. The noticeable difference is the smoothness, the 360 version is silky smooth were as the PC version can jerk slightly even on a top of the line PC and graphics card package. In terms of gameplay all the great stuff from the PC game is here too with one exception, the 360 version only supports eight players online. If it wasn't for this the Xbox 360 would have been the best version of the two. As it is though its an excellent first person shooter.
As with the PC version of Call of Duty 2, you will be put in the shoes of various soldiers fighting for a number of allied factions. To start you will be a private in the Russian army fighting off the Germans. Then after this you become a British soldier fighting in the dessert which eventually comes to a conclusion in the fields and hedgerows of France.
All the games missions are broken up in to bite size stages. This is great if you are finding certain parts of the game hard going. In reality, if you are an experienced first person shooter you should get through the single player game in about 10 hours on the normal difficulty setting. Upping the difficulty will demand far more tactical game play and the game should last quite a while longer than 10 hours. The pacing is good, as you begin to tire of one surrounding you will be faced with another, while at the same time switching between offensive and defensive manoeuvres.
As this is a WWII game you will not be on your own, usually behind you or on the front line there will be loads of you fellow troops getting stuck in to shoot the numerous Nazi soldiers. If your allied troops get shot in the midst of battle you have no need to worry as other soldiers will push forward into their positions to replace them.
As you progress though the confrontations you will find yourself looking for a good hiding place where you can pick off the enemy from distance while sheltering your self from the enemy fire. Unfortunately as your troops are replaced by reinforcements the Nazis troops get reinforcements too. This can make you feel like you are fighting a never ending battle at times, but once you get used to the timing of the game and figure out where you need to run to next you will start to excel. Call of Duty 2 does a great job simulating the sheer volume of soldiers. Should you get stuck in a sticky stop where you are surrounded by enemy fire you can always throw a couple of grenades in to the sheltered Nazi soldiers. Don't be surprised if you stay in the same place for too long the enemy will bombard you with grenades also, luckily there is a grenade indicator that flashes on screen when a live grenade is close. Should you die the game quickly reloads and you're quickly on your way again.
One change to the game you might not actually notice straight away is the lack of health bar. Now if you get a light shot you should be ok. If you take a couple of bad hits the screen will go red and your soldier will start huffing and puffing. If you manage to evade more fire you can take cover and rest for a little while and let your soldier recover. For me this is an excellent system, far better than having to collect health packs along your journey. The only thing you do need to collect along the way is ammo, but this isn't a problem you just need to find a dead bloke, there are loads of them laying around, and take his gun, bullets or grenades. The whole health/ammo system is great as it allows you to concentrate on the fight rather than staying alive.
Another new addition to the 360 version is the addition of smoke grenades. These come in very useful. They can be used to mask the enemies view of you which gives you the chance to run for a new point of cover or you can simply use them to smoke out the gun nests so you can make a charge. You have to watch out though, when you are running through the smoke you can find yourself face to face with a Nazi soldier or two. This adds even more intensity to an already intense game.
As mentioned the online multi player is a disappointment because only 8 players can join an online game. If you wish to give it a go you can take part in any of the following: deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag and search and destroy where you will have to plant a bomb while the other team defends against you. Then there is the headquarters game which is probably the best of the online modes. Both teams must start out and create a headquarters. While the defending team have the headquarters, a counter starts to tick upwards & this is your score. Defending team players will not be able to re-spawn should they die, attacking team members may. When the headquarters gets taken over by the opposing team, all the defending players who have died will re-spawn again and the roles will become reversed and the other team will have the chance to rack up some points on the ticker. The real problem is the limit of just eight players. In reality the maps are just too large for only 8 players.
Call of Duty 2 looks stunning especially on HDTV, on a normal mode its not as sharp and you loose a lot of the detail but it still looks great. All the textures are superb with no jagged lines to see anywhere. The most impressive and important aspect of the visuals is the super smooth jitter free movement. The sound effects are just as impressive are the visuals, maybe more so. The shouting you hear from your fellow soldiers as you decide to make a charge of insanity through the front line like (. don't be a hero) in a brilliant Russian accent. You can hear other soldiers barking at other soldiers as you run past them. The gun fire effects are superb, just like you would expect to hear in a WWII film. If you have a surround sound system the sound of bullets flying past your head is sensational. The explosions are incredibly realistic and powerful. If your running COD2 on HDTV and using a decent surround sound system the experience is incredibly engulfing and intense.
Apart from the lacklustre online option Call of Duty 2 is everything you can possibly hope for in a WWII first person shooter. The campaigns are varied enough to keep you wanting more and the AI are intelligent enough to give you a hard time when the going gets tough. If you have an Xbox 360 you have to own this game, its going to show off the potential of your shiny new console as the gameplay together with the amazing sound and visuals create an intense and completely gripping experience.