Call of Duty (PC) review
"The Medal of Honor series has always amazed me with its atmosphere and perfect portrayal of war. Battlefield 1942 (and its successor) and Day of Defeat offered what it quite possibly the best World War II multiplayer experiences ever. But Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty tops them all. It doesn’t have the atmosphere of Medal of Honor or the options and multiplayer of the latter two (although it is atmospheric and has decent multiplayer), but it does exactly what..."
The Medal of Honor series has always amazed me with its atmosphere and perfect portrayal of war. Battlefield 1942 (and its successor) and Day of Defeat offered what it quite possibly the best World War II multiplayer experiences ever. But Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty tops them all. It doesn’t have the atmosphere of Medal of Honor or the options and multiplayer of the latter two (although it is atmospheric and has decent multiplayer), but it does exactly what a World War II first person shooter, or any war game should do.
Infinity Ward’s approach to one of the most famous wars in the world was the theme “no one fought alone”. And they sure as hell did a spectacular job at following through with that. Call of Duty actually makes you think that you’re an ordinary soldier, one just like the millions of others fighting in this massive war. You’re not a John Rambo or Solid Snake, but instead one poor boy fighting for his country, which is any one of the big three allied powers. As good as other WWII first person shooters are no game other than Call of Duty has managed to truly give the player this feeling.
Besides the theme, Call of Duty’s environment excels at making it feel like war. Everything, from the pre-mission narratives, to the authentic weapons, to the intense, exciting battles is unmatched. There are loads of different mission types, ranging from enormous firefights (I’m talking about some that involve hundreds, if not more on each side) to stealth attacks on German HQs. The diversity is simply unmatched. You always play as a standard soldier, and not a high ranking officer or anything. Although it’s fun to be the head honcho once in a while, this lack of authority happens to be Call of Duty’s greatest strength and what makes it the great game that it is.
Again, your job isn’t to win the war alone. That’s impossible for one person to do. You’re performing normal, ordinary tasks and making a difference. This is what war is about.
The countless battles also help bring the game to life. Since you’re just an ordinary soldier in a squad sticking with your squad is mandatory, but linearity doesn’t restrict you to taking one path. Besides the general take cover and shoot when the coast is clear, you’ll often have to find other ways to flank your opponents. There might be an instance where your allies are hopelessly hiding behind a small vehicle as the enemy moves closer and closer. Instead of dying with them, maybe you can save their asses by hiding in the nearby barn and picking them off the Nazi bastards through the window. Maybe your presence will open up opportunities for your fellow soldiers. There might be another instance in which you are trying to invade a German fortress. If entering through the heavily guarded front gate is too risky, you can try to sneak in through the back. You might have to deal with snipers and landmines, so the option is entirely up to you. There is no correct way one is supposed to accomplish something.
The game’s only weakness is the two or three (out of around thirty) levels in which you aren’t fighting with other soldiers. But luckily these battles are still intense and enjoyable, even if half of the enjoyment is missing. The other 90% of the game is just outstanding, and really makes it feel like you’re an ordinary soldier fighting in a huge war. Sure, companies have beat Infinity Ward to the idea of a WWII first person shooter, and have created damn good games in the process. But no one to this date was able to nail the formula as well as Infinity Ward did. Teamwork and sacrifice, not one elite warrior, is what will win a war. This feeling of camaraderie is what makes Call of Duty the best World War II FPS ever made.
Community review by Halon (May 17, 2006)
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