Call of Duty 2 Free Download
Excuse Us if you will while we blow our own trumpet, but back in our July 2003 issue, we were the first magazine on the planet to feature a dedicated front cover and six-page preview on a little-known WWII shooter from a new games company formed from the ashes of the Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault developer 2015. Since then, Call Of Duty has gone on to sell millions of copies, eclipse EA's franchise and spawn a superb PC expansion pack United Offensive (created by Return To Castle Wolfenstein developer Gray Matter).
So, when it came to unveiling the true sequel, the chaps at Infinity Ward were only too pleased to talk exclusively to us before any other UK mag - and so, lucky reader, you get to share in the first details of what promises to be the most exciting, rip-roaring, action-splattered, cinematic WWII first-person shooter ever created. Despite LA suffering its worst bout of storms for decades, the severe weather hadn't dampened chief creative officer Vince Zampella's enthusiasm when I spoke to him. We're trying to take the game to the next level based on feedback from the press, the fans and what we didn't get to implement ourselves in the first game. COD2 covers a vast number of locations including Russia and Germany, and we've worked meticulously to create epic, chaotic battles and rich stories across the length of much of WWII.
The first major announcement (cue black-and-white Pathe footage accompanied by a plummy English voiceover) is that for the British missions, COD2 will now storm into North Africa as part of our brave boys' attacks against General Rommel, the Desert Fox' and his Afrikakorps. You'll play as infantry man Sergeant Davis in General Montgomery's 8th Army, and also an as-yet-unnamed Scottish tank commander, as you push across North African countries including Egypt and Tunisia. After, there'll be a final push into Europe for the bloody Battle of the Hedgerows, where superior Nazi armoured firepower wreaked death and destruction on the ill-equipped American and British tanks, which - in a bizarre true story from WWII - were actually jeeps in disguise!
We have some huge desert levels," says Zampella. Rather than doing four-versus-four tank battles like in the past, we're now going all the way up to 40-versus-20 battles. It's on a massive scale - you start out having to use your binoculars to spot the enemy tanks in the distance when they're still miles away. The Russian campaign, meanwhile, begins with the story of Private Vassili Ivanovich Koslov, a Red Army regular fighting 20 miles from Moscow. It was here, in appalling winter conditions, that the shattered remnants of the Russian army was finally able to halt the German blitzkrieg and deliver Hitler's first major defeat.
Finally, the American campaign focuses on Corporal Bill Taylor, a member of the legendary Army Rangers, the unit that gave birth to the US Special Forces. The Army Rangers demanded (and were apparently given) some of the toughest missions available, and you'll experience them in some of the game's most intense European battles - which apparently includes the D-Day beach landings, the first time the team has revisited this famous WWII battle since Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault.
Off The Rails
Exciting stuff, but what is going to be the real gameplay improvement in Call Of Duty 2? If there was any criticism from the first COD, it's that the game was a little linear, continues Zampella. In that regard, we've now included non-linear gameplay - we're opening up the levels. Yep, rather than always forcing you down a scripted hallway, where funhouse Nazis will pop up on cue for you to shoot, the new game is all about increased player freedom and choice during missions. Call Of Duty 2 won't be completely unscripted, but you can now accomplish objectives in different orders and take a unique path through a level.
This gives you strategic choices for which active objective to complete, and the opportunity to use actual military tactics like outflanking, and fire and manoeuvre to eliminate the enemy, states lead designer Zied Rieke. Call Of Duty 2, therefore, instantly offers you increased replay value. You can now return to a favourite mission and attempt to complete it with, say, balls-out guns-blazing, rather than with a careful, considered strategy. And there's more. Rather than forcing you through each mission one at a time, adds Rieke, when the player finishes a particular mission or vignette', we allow you to choose which of the characters' stories you'd like to continue next. You can follow a particular soldier's story through to completion, or alternatively, you can play chronologically across all the conflicts from 1941 to 1945.
Yet Infinity Ward was very aware that to produce its trademark intense battlefield experiences in large, mainly non-scripted levels, Call Of Duty 2 was going to need significantly revamped Al for both the friendly and enemy troops. Squad behaviour in COD was pretty good, although enemies weren't quite up to scratch, says Zampella. Now, on both sides, the Al has improved, and you can come at the enemy from different angles -although they'll now do the same to you. You need to watch for that - the enemy communicates with each other in the same way that you do with your squad. If you're flanking them, they'll communicate that to each other verbally, and shout it out - although you'll need to understand German to tell what they're saying! You won't be able to just sneak up on a guy unawares if there's a battle going on ten feet away.
Probably the best example of this in a recent shooter with wide-open levels, is the way the enemies react in Crytek's superb Far Cry, shouting to each other and calling in other units for help - but Zampella insists that the Battle Chatter' system in Call Of Duty 2 is even more sophisticated. Apparently, the Al on both sides (although you'll obviously only really be concerned with your own squad's voices) will call out over 700 different phrases that are context-sensitive to the level, such as, Sniper, second-floor balcony! or Watch that guy over there!
These aren't scripted events - they're driven by the game's Al. It's very detailed and meant to mimic what real soldiers do in battle. That was one of the things our military advisors commented on from the first game - once the first shot is fired, the element of surprise is gone. Soldiers on the battlefield communicate constantly, whether it's Hey, I'm reloading! or Cover me! If you listen and pay attention to what they're saying, you'll get clues to what's going on around you. Of course, this is extremely important with non-linear gameplay - if you hear someone shout out They're flanking us on the left! then they're flanking you on the left!
In Call Of Duty (and United Offensive), your Al squads would sometimes take the lead in firefights, but would never progress too far in front of you in a level -an element that has been retained for the sequel. We don't want the friendly characters to finish the level for you, so there's a range where they'll advance. However, while they won't go miles ahead, we've tried not to make it feel like an imaginary line, where they don't react until you cross it, elaborates Zieke. So the team hasn't been tempted to include direct squad control? Well, I'd say we've been tempted, but what people like about COD is that there's so much stuff going on all the time and it's so intense and exciting, that they don't have to deal with that level of tactics.
Time for another bombshell - Call Of Duty 2 has vehicles that you can freely drive around levels. Yes, it's true - that's one of our missions, where you'll be skidding a jeep around," adds Infinity Ward's president, Grant Collier. What's more, there are several different vehicles that you'll drive, as well as tanks in the single-player game. Another one would be the Bren gun carrier -I don't think we have a screenshot of it yet - it's a British vehicle that was used a lot in North Africa. It looks a bit like a square box on treads, J without a top! But it was very effective.
Moving onto the other kinds of missions you can expect to play in Call Of Duty 2 - there'll be the big set pieces that the series is renowned for (see Desert Fox Hunt', right), but Collier comments that there won't be any of the solo missions from the first game, such as the destruction of the anti-aircraft guns on the Eider Dam. However, we do have sniper missions where you're sneaking around a level taking out targets. Also, while we won't be copying United Offensive, we're doing a lot of really exciting new gameplay stuff. They'll be as cool as the levels where you're taking over an aircraft gun turret and shooting down enemy planes, but not the same sort of thing.
Plus, you'll return to the locations of some popular battles from the first Call Of Duty, with brand new missions - such as a very different campaign in and around the battle for Stalingrad, and other conflicts on the Eastern and Western fronts. We're enhancing these locations the same way we're improving the whole game - making them non-linear, introducing better Al, vastly improving the graphics, with real-time dynamic lighting and weather effects, says Collier. In the Stalingrad levels it's snowing, and you'll witness real attention to detail - soldiers, when static, will be shivering, and you'll see their breath in the cold.
Volumetric Fog Of War
Just take a few seconds to study the exclusive screenshots, and you really begin to appreciate the results that Infinity Ward has achieved so far with Call Of Duty 2. To produce something that looks impressively superior to the first game, without compromising on the epic, Call Of Duty battles, we've developed our own proprietary graphics engine that can support open areas, many characters, a cinematically ambient world and high frame-rate all at the same time, says Infinity Ward's chief technology officer, Jason West.
We now have real-time dynamic lighting, all the surfaces are specular- and bump-mapped for more realistic textures in the environments, and we have a new particle and weather system. With this technology, Call Of Duty 2 can create convincing thunderstorms, snow blizzards, volumetric fog and sandstorms, all of which will have a direct influence on gameplay and the Al of friendly and enemy troops. A new weapon - smoke grenades - has also been introduced, that can be thrown and used to I conceal your squad on the battlefield, who will react accordingly.
Another, more subtle aspect, is that we don't have to place buildings on a strict grid, as we had to with Call Of Duty continues lead artist Michael Boon. "We're going for a much more organic look. We've done a lot of research on location in France and North Africa, taking close to 10,000 photos, and found that the look we wanted - windswept roads, buildings that have been patched up and repaired over hundreds of years - needed to support that. When we came back to the US, we had to throw away our early test levels and textures, but the difference is amazing. Having first-hand experience of the environments, the history and culture, ensures the levels feel incredibly realistic and distinct from each other."
As for the question of whether Call Of Duty will implement physics and true ragdoll bodies being tossed through the air using the new engine, it appears that this was something, like squad control, that the team considered, but decided to reject. We looked into that kind of stuff, comments West, but with our gameplay it doesn't necessarily fit as nicely as it does other types of games. In Call Of Duty we like to set up our handcrafted battlefield, so the player can thoroughly enjoy it.
Sound Of The Crowd
A major contribution to Call Of Duty's immersion was the excellent sound effects - from the desperate click of a pistol out of ammo, to the major explosion of a tank shell smashing into a nearby building - all helped by the team's previous efforts of recording every weapon sound from the actual vintage weaponry. The sounds that were there were good, but there wasn't enough, argues Vince Zampella. So, we're going over it again with another pass and taking it up a level. We've got a new sound designer with 12 years of industry experience, and he's really into World War II. It's about bringing up the level of ambience - everything that should have a sound, does.
Enhancements include weapon sounds that scale correctly and change tone over distances, bullet impacts and ricochets that sound appropriate for the surface they hit, and even weather-related effects for correctly modelled wind gusting through streets and rain impacting on crates, rooftops and other objects.
Also, the acting for the soldiers is better. This time they sound tired, they're screaming their lines and so on - it's got much more of a real battlefield feel. Along with the Battle Chatter, the overall sound adds to the colour and chaos of the war experience, bringing the battlefield to life."
As well as the original arsenal of COD weaponry, Infinity Ward has also had to sample more than 15 new weapons for Call Of Duty 2. For starters, there are more semi-automatic rifles such as the Germans' Gewehr 43 (see Hold Your Breath', page 40) and the Soviets' SVT-40, but all nationalities get their own pistol too, including the famous Webley Mark 6 revolver for us Brits.
WW2 X 10
How excited should you be by now? Well, if you're not thrilled by the thought of a Call Of Duty game with open-level gameplay, vehicles to drive, three different non-linear campaigns (including a brand new North African setting), beautiful new shiny graphics, immersing sound, new weapons including smoke grenades and the promise of new multiplayer modes, then I'm leaving the world of videogames forever, to set up an agrarian commune in Slovenia.
The truly fantastic bit in all this is how pumped up Infinity Ward is with its new game - you can hear it in the voices of the entire development team. While we're proud of what was accomplished in COD, we still had many innovations that we didn't have time to include during the last game's development, says president Grant Collier. Now with our own engine and a bigger team, we feel that with Call Of Duty 2, you'll see a glimpse of what the future of videogames holds for everyone. It appears my friends in the Eastern European organic vegetable business will have to wait for me a little longer...
Desert Fox Hunt
Infinity Ward Takes Us Through One Of The North Africa Levels
Steve Fukuda, designer on COD2, plays through one of the British campaign battles in the remote town of Toujane, Western Tunisia, in 1943. In this mission, you're tasked with escorting Crusader tanks from the 7th Armoured Division through a difficult and cramped built-up area.
During the battle, in which tanks and infantry are in close proximity, your fellow infantrymen are accurately communicating enemy positions in very specific terms, on the fly and with no scripting involved. He's on the second floor, right side window' or 'Behind that tank wreck, over to the left!' or Smith, cover me! I'm reloading!' Things like that.
The Germans are also screaming various commands to one another, and reporting on you and your fellow soldiers' positions in the same way. You're constantly surrounded by soldiers struggling to communicate through the sheer density of combat noise - our new Battle Chatter system in full effect.
The effect of thick, billowing dust and smoke in the streets creates a greater sense of confusion, and provides players with tactical opportunities. Faint shapes of Afrikakorps infantrymen moving around the flank are glimpsed through smokescreens, grenades are being thrown around, tanks sweep lanes with their guns and fire at each other in the tight space... It's chaos.
Many of the layouts of Call Of Duty 2's locations are much more non-linear than their predecessors, allowing you to take several distinct approaches to attacking enemy positions. While your friendly troops are occupying the enemy's attention, you can take a flanking route and hit enemies who, too busy dealing with your buddies, are clearly unaware of your position.
Efore And After
Play Spot The Difference Between Call Of Duty 1 And 2!
Call Of Duty was graphically impressive two years ago, but as you can see in the top screenshot, the adapted Quake III engine is now looking a teensy bit, well, Quake III. However, Infinity Ward's brand new proprietary engine (bottom screenshot) has allowed the developer to keep the original's impressive number of soldiers for large set pieces, with the addition of real-time dynamic lighting, bumpmapping for more realistic environments, improved animation, organic buildings and new weather and atmospheric effects.
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode