Call of Duty: Finest Hour
I kinda like movies and games that dwell in a WW2 atmosphere. The movie-like storylines and the thought that soldiers have really had to go through all these fights 60 years ago intrigue me and drag me completely into the game. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was in my opinion a game that succeed with honor in giving me that feeling. That other hit, Call of Duty, now also has a console brother and it’s my task to check it out.
Of course, Finest Hour is based on WW2 but you won’t find a real storyline since you don’t stay the same character throughout the game; one time you’re a professional (female) sniper while another moment you’re a tank commander.
You start as a Russian soldier in the Battle for Stalingrad. From the beginning you taste the incredible atmosphere of the game; bombs dropping right next to you, gunshots that are a terror for your ears, your leader who, despite him shouting as loud as possible, you can’t understand (thank god for subtitles!), and so on… I do have to say that this is one of the most atmospheric missions in the game.
Just like 60 years ago in the real war, there isn’t enough supplies of weaponry and all you get is a packet of ammo. You have to follow an (armed) soldier up the mountain and before long you’ll see another soldier getting shot in front of you. Well, you take his weapon and then you start with the real action.
Graphics add for a large part to the atmosphere and in a game like this where atmosphere is one of the most important parts, you’d expect them to be top-notch. This unfortunately isn’t the case completely. The models are quite good – although not outstanding – but the large amounts of clipping problems give you the idea there hasn’t been put enough work in this game.
Another atmosphere bringer is sound and there the game quite nicely delivers. From beautiful background songs where the tempo gets faster when the tension starts to rise, to the sound of the weapons and the voice-acting of the characters, everything is perfect.
Like every other console FPS, the game uses the Control Stick to move while the C-stick gives you the possibility to look freely. With the R-button you shoot while the L-button lets you view through your visor; Aim Down the Sight, which we also know from the PC version of Call of Duty. Grenades are thrown with A while Y en X are used to duck or jump. Finally you can also use your weapon as a baseball bat and push the Z-button to hit someone with it.
Lacking is a split-screen multiplayer mode. On PS2 and Xbox you can play the game online but GC-owners are neglected once again by leaving out a multiplayer mode that can be played on one screen. This is without a doubt a stupid move as not everyone (no matter what console) has the possibility to go online. Many gamers also prefer to sit at home in front of the TV together with a bunch of friends. Also, this shortens the lifespan tremendously as the singleplayer mode is rather short and you won’t easily replay it as Finest Hour makes you follow a predetermined path at all times. Of course you can check for bonuses, like the big-head mode, but whether that encourages you to play again ?
Call of Duty: Finest Hour is definitely a decent title that will satisfy any war fanatic but the average gamer will quickly have enough of it due to the lacking of multiplayer and the short singleplayer mode. This is truly disappointing as with a little more effort this title could have been a true topgame, a title it now doesn’t deserve.