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My palms are wet with excitement and nervous energy, and I'm not sure what to expect. I'm told that in this game you are supposed to use your squad mates as cover fire and cannon fodder when necessary. Although not being able to control them to the point of telling them exactly where to go, you are able to give them simple commands by pointing and clicking on them. A relatively useful tool when you really don't want to round a corner into German heavy machine gun fire. This theme of fighting alongside your comrades is ingrained in the overall premise of the game; IN THE WAR THAT CHANGED THE WOLRD, NO ONE FOUGHT ALONE.?
When I first start actually playing, the thing that hits me is, Whoa, I can't even see the end of the battlefield!? That's exactly what I like, not fighting my way through endless mazes of halls and corridors, but being on a battlefield that is equivalent to Montana: wide open spaces. My friend had purposely decided to drop me into the beginning of the Russian mission. Man was I impressed! I started out on a rickety boat with twenty or so of my other comrades. We were heading for Stalingrad and the defense of our Motherland. The journey across the river was slowed by artillery fire and German planes as they swooped low to take out entire boats full of men. As I got a foot on terra firma, partially wounded from the journey across, a Russian commander hands out weapons and ammo. The only catch, I only get to carry five bullets, while the guy in front of me gets a rifle. Life's just not fare. As I sprint up the embankment towards Stalingrad, I'm met with a hail of German anti infantry fire, and troops to the left and right of me are dying like flies attracted to a blue light zapper. I see a man fall with a rifle; I sprint, jump, go into a crotch and see the precious weapon get picked up by another man. I look around, see another fall, decide that there's no point going where he's gone unless I want to meet my maker. I pause, take in the surroundings and decide to make a B-line for my intended checkpoint. As I slowly but surely reach it, I'm met by a comrade with a sniper rifle. He tells me to be a decoy to draw machine gun fire so he can snipe the German men manning the machine guns. I laugh, thinking to my self, You know, this kind of thing really did happen back in WWII with real men and real bullets...?
I start leaping and bounding across the battlefield playing monkey for my sniper buddy. After too many close calls I finally reach the safety of a bombed out building. My hearts is in my throat and all I can think is, Where I can buy this game?.
What I've seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg my friend tells me. This game spans three missions, American, British, and Russian, each with their own storyline and objectives. At the end of the game, the three campaigns merge into one and results in the outcome of the game. Apparently the graphics are based off of the Quake III engine, although heavily modified and updated. The multiplayer mode features capture the flag, search and destroy, death match, behind enemy lines, and retrieval. I for one am utterly impressed by the sheer size and scope of fields of play that go along with this game. You can easily lose yourself amidst the fighting and chaos that feels the most real of any game I've played. The cinematics, the background music composition, the cry of BLOOD!!? as troops charge, or the sight of a buddy being drug to safety by another soldier conjures up a connection and camaraderie that I can connect with as a man.
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