It seems almost too long ago to sufficiently remember the impact that the original Call of Duty game had on the first-person shooter genre. Over a decade later the series remains one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. A look back at Call of Duty’s expansion, Call of Duty: United Offensive – serves as an excellent reminder of the core principles of the series still dictating its success to this very day. United Offensive rustles another World War II experience, experiencing the action through the eyes of three soldiers: American, British, and Russian. Intensity is the main buzz word surrounding United Offensive; its action plays out like a concentrated and distilled version of the original’s white-knuckle wartime action.
Gameplay, It’s More of the Same
This effectively being an expansion to the original Call of Duty, no one was expecting to be entering into an entirely fresh or different experience from a gameplay perspective. These expectations were correct since United Offensive plays rather like its predecessor. Action’s viewed from the first-person perspective, your active weapon (one of many authentic WWII-era weapons of war you’ll collect throughout the game) displayed in the middle of the X axis on the screen. So far, this is standard FPS stuff, no different in format from any games of the genre you’ll play even today.
The gameplay mechanics might not be refreshing here, but what has been ramped up in United Offensive is the level of intensity. Though in the original you would face reasonable-sized waves of German troops and armoured infantry, United Offensive’s major battles have essentially supersized the level of enemy persistence against the allies. You’ll be finding cover more than ever here as you fight your way through what at times can feel like the overwhelming Strength of German forces either advancing against you or attempting to halt the allied offensive.
Little flourishes of excitement are also offered through United Offensive’s vehicular segments. You’ll occasionally find yourself manning the turret of an aircraft to shoot down enemies, for example, or being at the helm of a patrol boat. These sections inject some much-needed variety into proceedings, allowing you to take a break from what would otherwise be another Call of Duty game where you remain on foot with weapon in hand almost throughout the entire experience.
New Territory, New Weapons
As is touched upon above, the United Offensive offers a significant increase in the intensity of each of the dramatic battles, which themselves are the focal points around which the entirety of the game’s ferociously intense action takes place. In some sections, it’s difficult to move for the sheer quantity of bullets flying past you, though if you’re staying behind cover for too long it can allow the enemy to advance rather quickly.
It should be a relief for guys out there that you’re not asked to take on this increased intensity without an increase in the weight of your own arsenal as well. Some classic WWII-era weapons are on offer yet again in United Offensive, and because the campaign is split between taking control of British, American, and Russion protagonists, there are weapons to be utilised that hail from each soldiers’ country of origin. American guns include the immensely powerful Browning .30 cal and the M1A1 Bazooka; the Russian segments include the SVT-40 rifle and the Tokarev TT-33; British weapons are also historically accurate, including the fun-to-use Silenced Sten MkII, and the Webley MK 4.
Let it also not be forgotten that the game also offers an impressive array of German weapons, too. These include the Panzerschrek rocket launcher, the Gewehr 43 and 34, and the one that’s most fun to use: The Flammenwerfer 35, also known as the Flamethrower, which was one of the riskiest weapons for the carrier to use due to the volatile and explosive nature of the hardware he had to carry.
One of the main drawbacks that fans of WWII shooting games will find quite disappointing is the length of the game. Because the action is so incredibly fast-paced and its intensity so well-sustained, the game ends up burning through its action in around 10 or so hours. You can complete the game in about 8 hours if you’re particularly speedy about it as well. This is a little disappointing considering the rather long and gruelling nature of the battlefronts in WWII – this game doesn’t quite reflect the prolonged struggle that the troops had to endure during this horrific war.
Don’t fret too uncontrollably about the lack of longevity in the single-player mode however: United Offensive has multiplayer, and it’s got a bunch of new modes as well as maps that dwarf even those of the original Call of Duty. The usual deathmatch-style modes are of course a staple, but Domination is rather fun (as well as being quite similar to Conquest Mode in Battlefield) and involved having to take over all of the set enemy strongholds in one map in order to win. You’re also able to utilise the vehicle mechanics of the game in multiplayer too. Yes, this means you get to hop into a tank and lay waste to your opponents’ ranks, though do try and remember that your opponents can also do the very same.
What we have in Call of Duty: United Offensive is an augmentation of the original CoD, but one that’s more than qualified to be its expansion. The length of the campaign may fall short, but the action that it includes is more intense than we have seen in the original. The additional (and authentic) weapons are a huge bonus, as are the vehicular segments and the extra multiplayer modes. The graphics are going to look a bit dated compared to modern games of course, but compared to its rivals at the time, Grey Matter (now Treyarch) studios’ CoD: United Offensive kept up with the best of them.