January 14, 2004

Review of Call of Duty (PC) by Rendition

When I first heard about Call of Duty, I admit my first thought was “Gee whiz. Just what the world needs, another World War II first person shooter.” However when I heard the production leads from the Electronic Arts Medal of Honor team were developing the game for Activision, I became intrigued. [More]

Graphics & Sound – 9 out of 10
The graphics are solid, if not a spectacular use of the Quake 3 engine. Even iD Software has lauded Infinity War’s achievements with Call of Duty. No, the game doesn’t have Doom 3 or Half-life 2 detail; no advanced dynamic lighting and super detailed curved texture maps either.

However it still looks great and realistic, the best I’ve seen in current generation of software. When you’re crawling on your belly around bushes or driving around killing Nazis, the “immersion factor” is there. The game also runs fantastic on current high-end hardware. I smile every time I load it up on my 2.66ghz P4 with ATI Radeon 9700 on my 1600x1200 Dell 2001FP. Even at high detail and at that resolution, it runs like butter.

One of the best parts of the game are the special effects that happen when you’re “dazed” by a near-by mortar shell. The screen gets all blurry, sounds get muffled, and time slows down for a few seconds. Well done.

Sound effects are fine. The music soundtrack fits the game with classical “this is the special epic movie scene” violin and symphony pieces. When you’re in the middle of hundreds of fellow soldiers going up a hill getting bombed left and right and see your flag going up the hill with this music, it’s pretty cool.

Interface & Control – 8 out of 10
A typical solid FPS controls. Nothing special to shout out about. You can save at any point, it will be interesting if this transfers to the console ports.

Gameplay – 9 out of 10
Missions vary from typical fare of save the prisoner, shoot down planes, and destroy X. However the scripted “movie-like” nature of the missions really drive the game-play. If you thought Medal Honor was good for this, you haven’t seen anything yet.

I don’t want to give away much, but if you’ve seen Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan you get the gist. Call of Duty is the most intensely story-scripted game I’ve ever played. You really feel like you’re in an epic movie. And I’m talking LOTR not Waterworld.

The thing that separates this game from the pack is the “immersion factor” of being truly a solider in an army rather than Rambo on steroids. It’s awesome going into a house, being ambushed by Nazis, freaking out, and then having your AI teammates come in and save the day.

Lasting Appeal – 8 out of 10
The game is pretty short. I finished it in a weekend with maybe ten hours of playing, but what a glorious time it was. There is not much uninspired filler material here. It’s all good stuff. And to be honest I rather have ten hours of an awesome gaming experience, than something longer that isn’t half as good.

Multi-player is my latest obsession. Various modes are included like deathmatch and Counter-strike clone modes. The one differentiated feature is the “Kill Cam”, which shows the last ten seconds of your killer’s point of view when he or she kills you. This is helpful in getting rid of campers. However it does seem cheating becoming more rampant, which hopefully will be impeded by an upcoming patch.

I’ll just say one thing, I haven’t touched Battlefield 1942 (and I have all the expansion packs), since I got Call of Duty.

Final Score – 9 out of 10
An instant classic. No-one has done a World War II shooter better. Discuss