Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone

Call of Duty: United Offensive (PC)




By Jim McHugh

Expanded Multiplayer action, playable vehicles, three new historically accurate single player campaigns, and the addition of new weapons to the various World War II themed arsenals are just a few of the gems gamers will find in United Offensive. This expansion pack for the critically acclaimed 2003 WWII shooter Call of Duty takes an already incredible gaming experience and elevates it to new PC gaming heights, giving players more of the gritty combat scenarios that they crave.

All of the elements that made Call of Duty one of the best WWII shooters of all time has been included in the recently released expansion pack. But the designers of Call of Duty: United Offensive didn't just simply rehash the original games' experience. They made it even better. As with the original release, this expansion pack includes three separate single player campaigns detailing the events of the main Allied Forces, including the USA, Britain, and the Soviet Union. Again, each single player game takes the first person point of view from a single soldier, as he struggles through the trials and tribulations of the last few battles of each army during World War II.

Starting with the Americans combat missions that take place during wintry forest and frozen landscapes at the climax of the infamous Battle of the Bulge, players are once again put through the initiation rights of the game. A quick tutorial of the game's control layout and command systems make up the first few moments of the campaign. Of course, this all takes place during the height of combat while the American forces frantically hold back a large and advancing Axis force. Player's not only get a chance to use some of the new features found in United Offensive (including the much needed 'Sprint' action), you also get a chance to try out some of the new American weaponry that can be found in the game. These include the Browning .30 Caliber Deployable Light Machine Gun and the 2.36-Inch Rocket Launcher (also known simply as the 'Bazooka'). Players will also find themselves able to try out some of the new German weapons on these maps (which they can pick up from fallen enemy soldiers). These include the Gewehr 43 auto-reloading Rifle, the Machinegewehr 34 General-Purpose Machine Gun (similar in many regards to the American Browning .30 Caliber LMG), as well as the Reketenpanzerbuchse, the German version of the Bazooka.

The change up in the British campaign was a little more dramatic than that of the American single player game. Starting off as a crewman in the British Royal Air Force, players are thrust into a vivid and highly nerve-racking fight for survival during a botched bombing run over Axis controlled territory. Players must move quickly between various gun ports on the ship in hopes of keeping the German fighter planes at bay. Not to mention helping out the rest of the planes crew by rerouting power and fuel systems, putting out fires, and manually releases the blockbuster bombs (about the only thing players won't do during this mission is actually fly the plane itself). After that, the British campaign of United Offensive take a more clandestine direction as players join the ranks of the SAS Commandos, helping them with the pre-invasion sabotage of German positions right before the Battle of Sicily. Sneaking behind enemy lines hasn't been this exciting since…. well, since the last Call of Duty release. Still, the action is very intense as players find themselves in extremely tight situations, trying to not only to destroy the big gun emplacements around the Nazi stronghold, but also escape the soon to be agitated Axis forces in various stolen vehicles and PT Boats. Not only that, but the addition of a the Silenced Sten Mk II's and the Webley Mk 4 pistol adds a little more authenticity to British single player levels.

The Russian portion of United Offensive mimics the inherent desperation found in the original Call of Duty game: overwhelming odds versus the Nazis', minimal weaponry and ammunition, and poor defenses. Still, the producers of the game found a way to make Russian levels not only more difficult this time around, but even more depressing. The final push by the Axis forces at the train station during the final portion of the Battle of Kursk is evident of that. For every one Nazi solider you take down, three more pop out from around the corner. Of course, these foot soldiers are followed by multiple Luftwasse airstrikes, attacks from armored vehicles, and sniper fire. The only way to survive the final onslaught is to grab (hopefully) a PPsH Automatic Rifle, a few clips of ammo, and hide underneath one of the cars in the train yard and keep shooting the rushing Nazi's until your reinforcements arrive. Talk about a high stress situation. During the earlier (and mostly less stressful) missions of the Russian campaign, players will also get a chance to try out the newly added Russian weapons found in the game, including the Tokarev SVT-40 self-loading rifle, the Degtyarev-Pekhotny 28 hand-held infantry machine gun, and the Tokarev TT-33 Automatic pistol. Players will also get the chance to utilize the flame-thrower (if they're lucky enough to find it in the ruins and rubble of the city of Kursk) and even jump into a few different gun emplacements to help fend off the Axis air support (not to mention those few unlucky Nazi soldiers that unwisely try to rush your position from afar).

In the year since the release of Call of Duty, the developers have had the chance to improve upon the original graphics package. While still utilizing an enhanced version of the Quake III engine, the character models and landscapes in United Offensive have a much more 'polished' look to them. The real treat, however, goes beyond just the aesthetics of the game. The greater diversity in the available weapons found in each of the four main armies really adds some depth to the gameplay, allowing players to utilize a ton of options in their combat style, especially in the Multiplayer portion of the game.

Speaking of the Multiplayer game, the developers of United Offensive not only added to the available arsenal of weapons, they also integrated a nice (although slightly basic) vehicle system to the game. Online gamers can now jump into tanks, armored vehicles, and jeeps and join in the battle. Mowing down enemy combatants in a Jeep Willys was nothing if exhilarating, not to mention running around like a mad-man in a Russian Heavy Tank that has the ability to take out most enemy mechanized units in one well placed hit. 11 new maps make up majority of the Multiplayer game (not counting the original maps from Call of Duty) with several new types of team games. These include Capture the Flag, Domination, and a very well designed Base game that utilizes the extreme firepower of an army's available tanks. A few other notable changes can also be found in the Multiplayer game of United Offensive. These include an individual Ranking system that allows players to gain abilities such as faster reload, extra ammo, and perform Air Strikes with binoculars as they achieve better game standing. New equipment such as Explosive Detonation Packs, Smoke Grenades and Binocular can also be used in the game, as well as playable Gun Emplacements.

Call of Duty: United Offensive might not bring anything new to the PC gaming table if you examine the release with intense scrutiny. But what it does do is polish and refine a gem that was already sparkling. The same magic that made Call of Duty an award winning PC is in full effect with United Offensive, giving players a realistic and gritty World War II gaming atmosphere throughout the single player game. The expanded Multiplayer option only adds the icing to an already delicious cake, providing an unmatched level of replayability for fans of team based online combat. All in all, an exceptional expansion pack for an exceptional PC title.

Grade: A+

Published by Activision 
Produced by Gray Matter Studios/Infinity Ward

> Related Reviews

Call of Duty (PC)
Knights of the Old Republic
Max Payne 2 (PC)
Far Cry

< Home