Call of Duty: United Offensive
Call of Duty has long been the bane of my family life, sucking up more and more of my 'free time'? until I had to delete the game from my computer or fall completely under its control. So imagine my delight when I received a copy of the Call of Duty expansion pack, United Offensive. This add-on takes an already superb game and somehow manages to pack in more realism, better graphics, and more fun.
The expansion pack has enough additional features crammed into it to warrant two packs. The add-ons come in two flavors. The first thing you'll notice is all of the new single player features, which includes 13 new missions spanning three campaigns. The missions lets you take on the role of a soldier in the American, Russian and British armies as you take part in such historic battles as the Battle of the Bulge, the Invasion of Sicily and the Battle of Kursk. The missions do a good job of mixing up intense first-person shooter action with a myriad of unique rail-shooter modes. You'll be the gunner in a bomber, ride in tanks and jeeps and of course avoid artillery strikes on front lines thick with action. One of the most striking things about these new single player missions is how intense they are, blending a myriad of foot soldiers with armored vehicles, aircraft, explosions and tracer rounds to truly recreate world war era battles with a flare for the cinematic. The single player missions are a fun but short ride, fortunately they are just the enterece to the truly fantastic multiplayer additions to the game.
Call of Duty: United Offensive adds three new game modes, controllable vehicles, new weapons and types of attacks, and 11 new enormous maps. The most noticeable addition is the addition of controllable vehicles. You can now hop into jeeps and tanks, maneuvering them against other vehicles as you vie to take out the other side. Most of the vehicles can also transport one or two other players. For instance in many of the tanks, a buddy can control the machine gun while you drive the tank and fire the big gun. It's truly a blast. Some of the new maps have obviously been designed with tanks and jeeps in mind, offering up narrow streets, hidey holes for anti-tank equipped soldiers and plenty of places to snipe from.
Call of Duty: United Offensive also adds three much needed new modes of play. Domination and capture the flags are fun but obvious additions to the modes of play, but base assault is a new twist on a worn theme. In base assault you have to be the first to destroy all of the enemy's bases. This has to be done in two stages, first you have to destroy the outer base installation and then you have to plant a bomb to detonate it. It makes for a lot of strategy and fast-paced fun as you try to both defend your bases and destroy the other guys'.
A new battlefield promotion system rewards players for team playing, as you go up through the ranks in a match you get some cool benefits like extra grenades, satchel charges or the ability to call in artillery strikes. Multiplay is fast and furious, with the tanks typically making for a much more robust game. I say typically, because I found that death matches with tanks were very boring, turning into monotonous slugfests with everyone riding around in a tank. That's the one exception to the game's otherwise sleek new look and feel. I say sleek new look, because it appears that the graphics have also undergone a slight upgrade, offering up more visuals and fine tuning the existing ones. My favorite addition is the inclusion of tracer rounds in night maps. The effect is chilling in mammoth battles.
Call of Duty: United Offensive could have, maybe even should have, been marketed as its own game. With a plethora of additions, oodles of tweaks and plenty of game balancing, this is a must have expansion packs and likely one of the best to come along in years.