Graphically this is indeed a step up from the previous game. The textures are crisper and more detailed and the surroundings have been modelled to a finer degree. At times in the middle of the game (particularly ‘The Crossroads’ level) I actually found myself clearing a house and then retracing my steps back out into the street simply to take in some of the graphical finesse on display! Grass and trees now wave gently in the breeze and the subtle lighting effects by both night and day all add to the realism of the experience.
This added detail is nowhere more noticeably realised than in the uniforms of the in-game characters. Million dollar NASA laser scanners were employed to produce full body scans of the real uniforms on actors and these were then translated into the actual game models you see. Take a closer look when playing and you’ll appreciate the effort taken, right down to the mud on their trousers as your squad dashes through the fields! This same attention to detail was also used for the motion capturing of key events in the game such as the opening sequence as you ride in the back of the truck to St Lo.
The cinematic sequences and scripted events are woven nicely into the unfolding plot and they help to maintain a level of affinity for the characters within the game. The little ‘digs’ in some of these scenes at allied nationalities by each side is quite amusing and you never feel too stalled by having to watch the cinematic as the level loads in the background. The only exception comes once you have finished the campaign and are seeking some achievements, then the restarting of levels becomes a chore as there is no option to skip any of the sequences and get straight into the game.
The burning buildings, explosions, smoke and rubble have all seen a real polish in execution and the overall feeling as you fight though the narrow streets and cellars is graphically impressive. You start to feel the claustrophobic atmosphere as you fight on a much more up-close level than ever before. Likewise the inclusion of destructible cover now plays an important part as you advance. No longer can you sit behind a pile of crates impervious to MG42 fire. Now the crates shatter and break realistically around you forcing you to keep pushing ever forwards to your objectives.
The frame rate as you play through the campaign is consistent and never really falters too much at all although recent reports suggest that the game is actually playing at a slightly lowered resolution than true 720p HD (1280 x 720) which would help to keep the frame rate consistent. No tearing is evident while playing and the game holds up well against all the other current titles available for the Xbox 360. At times I found you can’t help but just sit back and watch the wondrous chaos unfolding on screen before you, although doing so usually sees you despatched rather rapidly by the Jerry hordes!