Since I'm on vacation this week I've got time to play a few more games than usual. Jeffrey and I are playing through Gears of War together. It's okay, but not great.
One thing I really love about the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty games is their attention to historical detail, especially when it comes to guns. Shooting futuristic weapons in Gears and Halo is fine, but using WWII era rifles and machine guns is really cool. I just finished playing through Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360.
You might think, for example, that the best guns are the big machine guns, the BAR or the Thompson. They are fine for some situations. But the game has done a great job of making you appreciate the utility of the legendary M1 Garrand. Sometimes said to be the rifle that won WWII, it was a great semi-auto infantry rifle chambered for a 30-06 round. If you've ever actually fired one, you'll know that the kick is minimal, a lot like the AR-15 because they both have gas-powered systems that eat the recoil.
Anyway, I found myself carrying two weapons - the Tompson to clear out houses or for close combat, but once you get out into the open or are firing from a window, the M1 is the rifle to have. I used some of the discarded German rifles and submachine guns, but none of them worked as well as the American weapons.
Interestingly, a study was done by the Army's Continental Command Operations Research Office (ORO) in the 1950's analyzing the statistics from over 3 million casualty reports from WWII and the Korean war. Here's what they found:
• In combat, nearly random shots produced more casualties than did aimed fire.
• Rifle fire was seldom used effectively at distances greater than 300 yards.
• The majority of rifle fire casualties were produced at ranges of 100 yards or closer.
Add to this the research results of Gen. Marshall: he discovered that four-fifths of all foot soldiers in WWII never fired a round in any given battle. Think about it. There was one exception to this rule. The soldier who carried the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) or the Thompson almost always fired. And once men heard the automatic fire (from their side) they usually engaged.
By the way, studies like these led to the development of the AR-15, the most effective combat weapon for the foot soldier in modern warfare.
The Call of Duty 2 game has stunning graphics on a HD monitor. The lighting, muzzle flashes, etc. are done quite well. Sometimes I would just stop and look around and admire the graphics. At one point you find yourself on the outskirts of a French village just before a thunderstorm. They recreated the green-yellow atmosphere so well it was uncanny.
And the sound effects are wonderful. You even get the little metallic ping when the M1's clip is finished and shoots out of the top of the rifle.
Well, I hope my Call of Duty 3 comes before my vacation is over.