While visiting Activision to see a game we can't talk about until next week, we also got a chance to check out their initial Xbox 360 lineup. Activision has one of the most impressive lineups for the system for its launch, and has really jumped on the Microsoft bandwagon this time around. The most impressive game we saw by far was Call of Duty 2. The Xbox 360 version is not Big Red One, it is the PC version ported for console, and as we saw, in many ways it surpasses the already stunning PC game of the same name.
Call of Duty 2 360 as you would expect is set during the second world war and like its predecessors, is split into three campaigns. We only got time to see a few levels but what we did see blew us away and for the first time we were able to see the true potential of Microsoft's new console. We pretty much ignored the story as we wanted to get right into the action, but if you've played the PC version you pretty much know what to expect.
The first thing that really surprised us was the load time, which is next to nothing. This system was equipped with a hard disk, so we assume that has something to do with it and also the unit was NOT a retail unit and thus is probably a 360 on steroids, but even so the load times will probably be lightning fast on a retail unit. Once we were in, the atmosphere was electric and we had entered an entirely different world.
The two levels we played were from the Russian perspective and our task was to fight through some German lines, destroy some tanks, and pretty much get out alive. The action is so thick and fast that you have to continuously think on your feet, predicting the AI's next move as well as where the next piece of cover is going to come from. If you thought the PC game was intense, wait till you play on a comfortable lounge in High Definition with surround sound, it's nothing short of amazing. The actual game itself works much like the others in the franchise where you follow a marker to the next mission goal and complete it. What makes Call of Duty far from a cookie cutter game is the level of intensity and atmosphere, and the 360 console delivers this in spades.
One thing which really impressed us was the graphics, but that was to be expected. Even with our high expectations for the 360 console graphics wise, it was still truly amazing when the game first loaded. Smoke particles pouring out of a destroyed jeep, bullets flying everywhere, comrades screaming and a heck of a lot of enemies. We were thrown right into the thick of it and even with large amounts of enemies and structures on screen, the frame rate was solid.
With the Xbox 360 just around the corner here in Australia, we can't help but feel that Call of Duty 2 has a shot at being the biggest game for the launch, replicating its success overseas, and becoming the top selling game for the first week of the units sale. Activision an interesting move has decided to release the software on March 2nd, a full three weeks before the street date of the console. We'll have a more on Call of Duty 2 360 as the days to launch day dwindle.