The sequel to my current favorite FPS, Call of Duty 2, is due out next month and I can hardly wait. I still play the heck out of the multiplayer portion of Call of Duty: United Offensive which is easily one of the most intense World War II FPS experiences available on the PC. Looking at the screenshots for CoD2 I was somewhat concerned with how well it would run on my PC so I was quite happy to hear that Activision has released a single player demo containing one level from the final game.
It’s a huge download at 656MB, but very much worth it. Despite looking amazingly better it runs pretty good on my setup. I didn’t think it was possible, but the folks at Infinity Ward have actually managed to make the sequel even more intense than the original. The first game did an amazing job of making you feel like you were in the midst of a battle as you were almost always surrounded by your fellow soldiers who were more than just set decoration. There were plenty of situations where they’d save your butt and you were always glad to have them around to take some of the enemy fire off of you. The same is true in the sequel except now they’ve added what they call Battle Chatter so not only do your fellow soldiers act intelligently, but they also communicate with you and each other by shouting out instructions and status updates during the battle. The enemy do this as well so what you end up with is an environment where your ability to listen is as important as your ability to shoot straight. It makes for an amazingly immersive experience that sounds as much as it looks like an actual battle.
Granted, it’s hard to judge how good the whole game will be from a single level, but I’m very excited so far. The environments seem a bit more interactive with crates that can be destroyed and a new ability to easily jump over fences and low walls and everything looks great. The previous game used the Quake III engine, but the new game is running a totally new engine developed in house and it’s damned impressive. Explosions, smoke, and fire are always difficult to pull off, but the folks at Infinity Ward have managed to improve on the impressive representations of these elements from the first game. If you enjoyed the first game then chances are you’re going to like the second one. With any luck I’ll be able to pick up a copy after getting employed and then I’ll write a full review. For now, if you’ve got broadband, download the demo and try it out. I suggest grabbing it from Yahoo! Video Games as they don’t limit the transfer speed the way FileShack or File Planet do.