It’s hard to believe that Call of Duty has become what it is today. From humble beginnings as a Medal of Honor clone, Call of Duty is now the go-to franchise when it comes to multiplayer first-person shooter gaming. Yet its origins remain somewhat humble and, if you can believe us, there was a period of time when numbered designations mattered in this series. Call of Duty 2, released all the way back in 2005, is the sequel to the first game in the series and improves upon its somewhat novel gameplay in marked ways.
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The Game Review
Set again during World War II, the game features three theaters including a British, American, and Soviet campaign for a total of 27 missions. In a drastic change from the first game, the sequel implemented a regenerating health system (somewhat lessening the realism while opening up the game mechanics to new possibilities) in addition to some more gamer-friendly heads-up displays such as exploding grenades and nearby hazards.
Released back during the heyday of first-person shooters with narrative arcs, Call of Duty 2 didn’t slack in the multiplayer department though its format was limited by the platform that the player used. For example, the PC multiplayer had server capacities of 64 players while the original Xbox had 8 and the newly-released Xbox 360 had a slightly higher number than that.
Nonetheless, this is when players started really paying attention to CoD’s multiplayer game and this title was somewhat of a breakout for the series. As of the latest figures, it has sold close to some 7 million copies – a far cry from Call of Duty’s modern numbers but an impressive figure for a nascent franchise at the cusp of a new generation of consoles. In terms of polish and cinematic experience, Call of Duty 2 turned everything up to eleven and delivered one of the most epic games of its time. Everything was on point from sound to music and beyond.
Though the series was more closely converging with the Medal of Honor series in its single-player gameplay choices, it still retained a distinct take on World War II with its multiple theaters of war and showing different sides of the conflict.
That said, there were criticisms and chief among them was the change to a regenerating health system. While this shift probably moved CoD into the stratospheric regions it occupies today, some purists really didn’t like this at the time because it morphed gameplay into a more arcade-style FPS than the first title.
Nonetheless, the game sold really well and the general format it introduced has endured to this day. It was perhaps a wise move on the part of the developers but it is important to note that massive multiplayer FPS games wasn’t a concept CoD invented and reviewers weren’t really looking at it in that light back then. A leap forward for the series, Call of Duty 2 maintains the World War II theme while delving into new areas of gameplay and, most importantly, multiplayer.