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Call of Duty: Finest Hour

12/3/05

My mistake in purchasing "Call of Duty: Finest Hour" for the Xbox was that I had read that the PC version of "Call of Duty" was absolutely incredible.  I found out too late that the Xbox version is a different game, with a different story, and when you add in the relative ease of the game matched with the last two or three levels' crazy difficulty (and a sheer lack of save points--you basically have to beat the whole level to get a chance to save), this is not a game I will want to play again.

The game takes place in familiar territory--you are a member of the Allied Forces (at varying points, a U.S., British or Russian soldier) and late in the game, you arrive at key points in the war to help stop Nazi forces from doing what they do best, act all evil-like.  The big deal with this game was that--again, in the PC version--you had the chance to work with your computer-controlled teammates to get through the war as a member of a team, not a one-man wrecking crew that these shooters are normally used for.  The problem with the Xbox version (and certainly nearly all games that I have played that have you working with AI-controlled teammates) is that your teammates are hilariously useless, regularly getting themselves killed by walking right into your line of fire or the line of a machine gun bunker; if they aren't dying, they certainly aren't helping, as you will regularly find yourself shooting Nazis that are being engaged by your teammates but not being killed.  Even the sheer number of times that I had to watch a partner try to engage a Nazi in a rifle butt fight was comical; in about 5% of the cases where your teammates tries to take out other bad guys, he comes up aces.  Otherwise, it's all on you.

Other major problems abound.  Location point shooting is present in this game (in other words, if you shoot a guy in the leg, he grabs his leg in agony), but sometimes, a shot to one Nazi's foot will kill him; other times, you've got to unload six or seven shots into a guy to drop him.  I would have enjoyed more moments with the sniper rifle; as is, over the 15 or so stages we only get about three moments where you must snipe out bad guys.  The tank sequences are awful; in one level, Nazi bad guys are staked out with bazookas all over a blown-out city, and you've got to find them and dispose of them, even though the guys are usually just standing in the middle of the street and could easily be killed by the tanks themselves.  Nazi AI is even worse; they regularly run towards you in an effort to kill you, as opposed to just shooting back.  The Nazi tanks also have a funny tendency to stay stationary and shoot at you without hitting you.

Not good.  But, I got this as a 3-games-for-$40 promotion, so at least I didn't spend much money to get it.  This will keep me from buying the sequel, even if the Xbox 360 version looks amazing.

Rating:  Rental

 

Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?  justin@bellviewmovies.com

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either half.com or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09