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Call of Duty 2 takes all the elements that made the first Call of Duty great and makes them even better. There are a few more weapons to utilize, more locations to explore (North Africa, Moscow, Point du Hoc on D-Day) that really make Call of Duty 2 shine.
Call of Duty 2 also features a much more involved series of tank battles that require you to shoot more than enemy tanks. The first Call of Duty allowed for a flexibility in completing mission objectives that few other games offered. Call of Duty 2 takes that even further, allowing you to complete several objectives in any order you wish.
Call of Duty 2 also introduces the feature of smoke grenades. These allow you to conceal your advance from snipers, machine gunners or tanks. This adds a whole new tactical dimension to multiplayer battles.
The most notable feature of Call of Duty 2 is the elimination of the health bar. It has been replaced instead with a system of recovery. If you get hit, your vision will blur with red. You must extricate yourself from combat to avoid being killed. After a few seconds, the red subsides and you are ready to go back into action again. This feature has now become commonplace on nearly all first-person shooters.
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Building on the success of the original, Call of Duty 2 features enhanced graphics with greater variation in textures and weather effects (rain, snow, fog.) Despite the increase in graphics capacity, the game does not experience much, if any, slowdown when displaying these graphics at near-peak efficiency.
Note that the game may experience slowdown on some older systems (and indeed experienced a bit of slowdown when it was first released), particularly during periods when a lot of people are on the screen at once. Advances in PC hardware have largely eliminated these problems for Call of Duty 2.
Each mission is also preceded by footage from the History Channel, to provide a context for the missions. This helps set the stage for each mission and adds to the sense that the entire game creates: that you are just a single soldier in a war that spans the entire world.
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The sound effects have been improved in subtle ways. Gun sound effects feel less repetitive, reloading gets a bit more of an effect and you can hear vehicle engines idling when you stand near them.
Again, the real treat for the audiophile is in the details. Glass makes a lot more noise when it shatters, bullets make more of a noise when they impact around you. While the sound is not a monumental improvement over the original, it is still a marked improvement for the keen listener.
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The most celebrated aspect of Call of Duty 2, the multiplayer enjoyed and still enjoys tremendous popularity with the online community. Several gameplay modes were carried over from the original Call of Duty, along with a few new ones. The key to the multiplayer success of Call of Duty 2 is variety. There are enough missions with enough variability built into them to keep people playing for years.
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Despite some hefty hardware requirements for its time, Call of Duty 2 is an excellent successor to the original. It improves on the best and does away with some of the worst aspects of the original while holding its own as a unique game. If you have even the slightest interest in first-person shooters or World War 2 games, Call of Duty 2 is a must-play.
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1.4 Ghz Processor
Intel Pentium IV or AMD equivalent
512 MB RAM
8x CD Drive
DirectX 9.0 compatible 64 MB video card with latest drivers
2.8 GHz Intel or AMD Processor
1 GM RAM
8x CD Drive
Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 or greater or with pixel shader 2.0 .