Posted on December 10, 2012
My Top 100: #43 – Call of Duty 2
I know, I know, I know… “Andre”, you’re saying, “you piss and moan about how Call of Duty games are going to lead to the downfall of gaming as we know it, yet here you are, putting a CoD game this high on your countdown.”
Well, there was once a time where there wasn’t an over-abundance of war-based first-person shooters. EA had recently been getting into the swing of making good World War II shooters with Medal of Honor, and Infinity Ward hit it big with their PC installment of Call of Duty (although the console edition was only so-so). There were a few other attempts at making unique shooters based around major events in the war, Brothers in Arms being the most obvious one, so we weren’t being bombarded by the same formula over and over again.
Call of Duty 2 would be one of the launch titles for the 2005 release of the Xbox 360, and I wasn’t sure I’d be willing to fork out a considerable chunk of money to get one. I had just purchased my first vehicle, and that financial responsibility was nagging at my consciousness. I didn’t necessarily have to be cheap, but I had to be cautious about what I spent from that point on. Buying a gaming console around that time would just be too much, too quickly.
I made one of my regular trips to EB Games, and through the larger-than-usual crowd of shoppers, I saw a sharp-looking LCD TV playing some kind of action-packed shooter. It was an Xbox 360 kiosk with a CoD2 demo, being shown off in all its next-gen glory.
Any doubts I might have had about the 360 being a leap in quality were squashed, right then and there. The way the light was reflecting off those soldier’s helments, and how the frame rate was so smooth… how the hell was this possible?? I mean, yeah, technology was advancing like crazy, but we were a couple of years removed from the friggin’ N-Gage!!! Who was to say that “new” was automatically “awesome”?
Holy crap, though, this looked amazing, and ran so bloody smoothly. If Call of Duty 2 looked this good, imagine games further into the console’s life-cycle. The possibilities seemed limitless! AND OH MAN, PERFECT DARK ZERO WAS OUT TOO; OMIGAD.
I let go of the controller (although I didn’t really want to), moved to the right about three feet, and asked Shawn (the clerk) to sign me up for a pre-order. I was a bit late in doing so, and I’d be getting my own 360 whenever the “second shipment” came in, but I was fine with one last big investment before Christmas. I initially expressed some reservations about doing so, but I was surprised when both my mother and sister both said something to the effect of “you only live once!”
CoD2 was an eye-opening experience. Being a sniper in the snowy battlefields of Russia, scaling the rock walls at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, and fending off hordes of Nazis under the hot desert sun in Egypt; they were all sides of the conflict we had seen before, but never had it been so immersive, so real. I can play this game now, and still have that awestruck feeling I had in those first few months of playing it.
It was new, it was refreshing, and it smashed any expectations I had for the new Xbox. This console might just do OK.