Xbox Core     Forums    Games     Reviews    Previews     News    Cheats    Videos    Screens    Contact Us
 Content         Content
  Xbox News
  Site Features
  Xbox Hardware
  Search Content
 Games           Xbox Games
  Xbox Games
  Cheat Codes
 Community    Community
  Xbox Forums
  Core Affiliates
  Core Staff
  Support Us
 Extras            Extras
  Off Topic Reviews
  Halo Comics
  Halo 2 Stats
  Contact Us
  Splinter Cell CT
  Arizona Jeans

Call of Duty: Finest Hour Review

Call of Duty: Finest Hour
Spark Unlimited
Xbox Live:
Teen (T)

Call of Duty: Finest Hour 
Saturday, November 20, 2004 

Call of Duty: Finest Hour is the latest release in Activision's series of FPS World War II sims. This time around, you take over the body of a different soldier in almost every mission. From the front-line grunt, to the sniper, to the tank commander and more, this game gives you a first-person view of the bloody carnage that was World War II through the eyes of citizens turned soldiers. Each has their own story, their own style, and their own personality. You'll play missions for three different allied factions, the Americans, the Russians, and the British. The action is fast, and there's nowhere to hide. With a surprise around every corner, this game will keep you blasting away for many hours as you play through its campaign mode.


Right off the bat you are tossed into the heat of battle, and Finest Hour does a good job of making it intense and chaotic. Bullets and bodies fly while you storm through the trenches and the battle is going on not only in front of you, but all around you. The game does a very good job of putting you inside the action, and if you have surround sound, it does even better. The controls while in first person are straightforward and easy to master. Aiming and movement are fluid, the default stick sensitivity settings are very responsive and you'll be moving and shooting like a trained soldier in no time. The game does suffer from a bit of slow-down when the action gets too intense, but for the most part it's negligible. There is an annoying feature that slows the action way down (think bullet-time mode) when there is a large explosion near you, or you somehow otherwise take a lot of damage at once. I found it to be disruptive and disorienting and was wishing for a way to turn it off. Also, the checkpoints are few and far between, and if you end up KIA, you may find yourself replaying long sections of the level.

Most of the time you will be accompanied by a few of your allies, but they are more of a hindrance than a help as the AI has them getting stuck on obstacles, and generally just getting in the way. The AI enemies seem to suffer from the same tendency to get stuck on crates or other objects strewn about the battlefield, making them easy targets. If you take the time to observe them, you'll find their actions predictable and sniping becomes a rather simple task.

Finest Hour presents you with an assortment of various bolt-action and automatic rifles, from simple carbines to bipod-mounted machine guns. When using one of the bipod-mounted weapons, the aim sensitivity becomes rather sluggish, but for the most part they all function very well. They are all consistent with the timeline, and well-chosen to re-create the atmosphere of the war that changed the world. The various bolt-action rifles perform with better accuracy than any of the automatics and are well suited for picking off enemies one after the other. Just remember to reload at every break in the action, because you can't interrupt the reloading sequence, and they take forever to complete. When the combat situation presents you with a large number of adversaries as it often does, switch over to an automatic and fill the air in front of you with lead. It can sometimes be difficult to pick out enemy soldiers in the terrain, which some might say is a realistic use of camouflage, but I call it annoying. At any rate, I found myself sweeping back and forth with an automatic and just watching for the hit indicator for much of the game.

You'll spend a few missions in a tank, and this is where the controls get downright ugly. You control the aiming of the turret with the right thumbstick and the direction and speed of the tank with the left. It's difficult to get the hang of, and I sort of stumbled my way through these missions. The tank's mounted machine gun is fired by depressing the left thumbstick, and when the battle gets hot, you'll sometimes find yourself moving instead of shooting, and vice versa. There are three different views to choose from while you're driving the tank. The third person view puts the camera outside the tank, and is the easiest to move around in. There's a turret view that makes it easier to shoot, and provides somewhat of a zoom function, and there's a gunner view that lets you take over the seated gunner's first person view, and you can use him to pick off infantry while you continue to steer the tank. The enemy AI does a lot to redeem itself in these missions, as the infantry won't usually allow you to simply run them over. They hide behind wreckage and inside buildings, blast you with rockets, and pepper the sides of your tank with small arms fire.


The characters you are controlling do some narrating before each mission, giving you their insight on the tasks and a little more of their background story. Some of the characters seem bland and faceless, but a few of them are very intriguing, and you may wonder what happens to them as you change characters and go on with the game. The missions usually end with your character meeting the character you will control in the next mission, so even though you are changing characters all the time, the story still moves along logically. There are some gaps as you jump from one faction to another, or to a different theatre of the war, but it's more of a refreshing change of scenery than a hole in the story. After all, it's a story about a war, not a story about a character, and the game does a fantastic job all the time of making you feel like you really are in a war.


Most of the textures in the game are grainy and dull, and the ground looks like a watercolor wash most of the time. This is easy enough to overlook, as buildings and vehicles tend to be very detailed and conducive to the environment that the games attempts to create. Most of the levels are dark and hazy, and do a pretty good job of replicating a smoky battlefield.

Character models are blocky, and the animations are rather choppy. The clipping in a lot of areas seems unfinished, as you can walk through some obstacles, and others will stop you in your tracks while they are still several yards in front of you. The weapon models all look incredible, and their animations are right on. The recoil effect of the weapons is very realistic, as well as the shaking effect as you try to aim from a standing position. You can alleviate this shaking by crouching or going prone. All of the weapons are just as smooth graphicly as they are control-wise.

A lot of things you would think should be destructible are not, and those that are could have used some more work. Every plane you blow up on the ground ends up looking like the same pile of wreckage, and when you take out a tank, it just lights on fire. Particle effects and explosions look rather flat, but it's not bad enough to be terribly noticeable.

Overall, the graphics make the game look like something that could have been accomplished on the PSX, and I think the developers probably could have pushed the Xbox hardware a lot harder.


CoD:FH really sucks it up in the sound department. Weapons fire sounds something like a downpour on a metal roof, and explosions seem like they lack the punch they should have. There's not a lot of voice acting during the actual gameplay, but what is there is repetitive and annoying. If I hear the word "panzerschrek" one more time, I'm going to start shooting at speakers. Play the second level and you'll find out what I'm talking about. There isn't a lot of music in the game and what little there is hardly bears mentioning.


Finest Hour may not look or sound as good as some of the first person shooters available to the Xbox, and it certainly doesn't hold a candle to the almighty Halo, but it's a fun game nonetheless. The campaign mode doesn't hold a lot of replay value, but there is enough content that it should take you awhile to complete. All in all, it's a good title, but with so much outstanding competition in the first person shooter market, this game falls short of the mark by comparison.

Overall Score

Discuss It in the Forums!

         Games Search & Forum Login

Login | Register
         Latest Xbox News
 04/14  THQ Announces Evil Dead Regeneratio...
 04/14  World Cyber Games 2005 Takes Its C...
 04/14  Ubisoft announces new Tom Clancy's ...
 04/14  Fantastic Four - New Character-Driv...
 04/14  Tony Hawk's Jeep ' Rail Rated ' Swe...
 04/14  Forza Motorsport Goes Gold
 04/14  Ubisoft to Take E3 by Storm
 04/13  Advertising in Games Forum on April...
 04/13  3 Million Xbox 360s by December at ...
 04/13  The OGaming Network Acquires Guildw...
         Latest Xbox Reviews
 04/14  DOOM 3
 04/13  Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
 04/13  Obscure
 04/09  MX vs. ATV Unleashed
 03/25  Constantine
 03/19  Project: Snowblind
 03/14  NBA Street V3
 03/03  Top Gear RPM Tuning
 02/16  Star Wars Battlefront
 01/27  Oddworld : Stranger`s Wrath
         Latest Xbox Previews
 03/29  Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
 03/27  Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Confl...
 02/25  Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
 01/30  Project: Snowblind
 01/24  Star Wars: Republic Commando
 01/09  The Punisher
 12/18  Top Gear RPM Tuning
 12/12  Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
 12/05  Batman Begins
 12/03  Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2:...
         Latest Forum Topics

 04/13  AIM Smilies !
 04/13  Ghost on Lockout?
 04/13  Something funny...
 04/11  My music collection > yours
 04/11  Happy birthday DragonJC!
 04/10  Happy birthday littelcritter88!
 04/10  Ravioli...
 04/10  Off Topic Review Section - Now Open
 04/10  Super bounces...
 04/10  Jade Empire
 04/10  dah!
 04/10  The Dragon's Lair
 04/09  Doom 3 Review Coming Soon
 04/09  Have you ever wanted to shoot someone
 04/09  ilovebees...

        Core Affiliates
Gamer Tag Pics Bonus Stage
GameZone - For Games, reviews, and cheats
Privacy Policy