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Call of Duty: Finest Hour
Score: 72%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Kuju Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 16
Genre: Shooter/ Action/ Online

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics in Call of Duty: Finest Hour are well-done, however they are very dark. While I understand that war can be a very dim and dismal place, it seemed that everything was dark and hard to see in Finest Hour, moreso than it needed to be. Consequently, I found myself struggling to see things that I knew I needed to not miss and this detracted from the enjoyment. Character animations are nicely done, however, and there is some variation so not everyone looks like everyone else.

Sounds effects crisply depict the sounds of combat as bullets whizz past you and mortars explode all around. I really enjoyed the effect that kicked in when a mortar exploded very close to your character. Everything flashes red and things slow down for a few seconds, as though your character has been stunned momentarily.

Voice-overs are pretty good and can be quite moving at times, specifically, the Russian leader shouting his inspirational speech about Mother Russia in the very beginning of the game.

Since Call of Duty: Finest Hour shares some strong similarities to the Medal of Honor series, one of my all-time favorites, I will have to draw some comparisons. Both are war-time shooters and both immerse you straight into battle. However, it seemed that Call of Duty: Finest Hour just didn't get it as right as Medal of Honor did. For starters, Finest Hour seemed more tedious. The missions involved running through areas teaming with enemies, taking over enemy strongholds, defending areas or tanks, battling against incoming air attacks, etc. But I just never felt driven to get to that next mission to see what was coming up next. It all just seemed like the same thing, over and over.

You are provided with numerous weapons at your disposal, some you grab from your fallen comrades and others that you get from dead enemies or find along the way. However, you have to physically pick each item up that you come across and this can get tough in the middle of a firefight. Also, you can only carry two weapons at a time and this makes your decision of which weaposn to pick up very important.

Your battles will take you across the Eastern Front, then on to North Africa and finally to the Western Front. You can choose to go it alone in the Single Player misisons or play online in Multiplayer. In Multiplayer, you'll find the standard game types such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Search and Destroy. Voice chat is also supported.

Obviously, in Online Multiplayer, your difficulty is as tough as the opponents you play. However, in the Single Player missions, you can opt for Easy, Medium or Hard. I played on Medium and although the game is no walk in the park, what I found most difficult was staying motivated to play the game. It simply wasn't very much fun for me.

Game Mechanics:
You control your character with your left analog stick to move around and the right to look around. Your directional arrows are used to scroll through your inventory, and R1 and R2 are your attack buttons (fire and melee attack). L1 and L2 are used for aiming your sight and throwing grenades, respectively. X is used to interact with the environment and pick up items, circle to crouch and square to reload. While it all sounds good, it just didn't feel right while I was playing. However, there are 5 preconfigured controller settings for you to choose from, so hopefully you can find a setting that suits you.

Call of Duty: Finest Hour doesn't tax your memory card too harshly and the load times aren't too bad either. There are checkpoints throughout the game, but they don't seem to come too often.

Mainly, I just didn't find Call of Duty: Finest Hour that much fun. Sure, it was far from the worst game I've played, but I found it to be a chore. If you are a fan of World War II games, than you will probably want to check it out, but I suggest a rental first to be sure it is your thing. As for me, I'll just wait for the next installment of Medal of Honor.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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