Conflict Desert Storm II: Back to Baghdad is simply put, one of the best co-op shooters money can buy.

User Rating: 8.5 | Conflict: Desert Storm II GC
If you've played Conflict Desert Storm before, you may not remember much of it - because it was such a underwhelming and forgettable game. It had bad graphics, poor sound, O.K. controls, bland music, and forgettable gameplay. What salvaged the game from complete catastrophe was it's excellent cooperative mode - about the only thing the game managed to do right.

Take all the problems with CDS, make them the opposite of whatever they may be, and retain the good multiplayer. Got it? That's Conflict Desert Storm II: Back to Baghdad. Simply put, it's one of the best co-operative games money can buy to this day.

As I said, the graphics in CDSII, while not anything special, are a tremendous improvement, and passable, not to mention much more easy on the eyes. The sound is much better - guns all sound their role, from Jones' silenced MP5 to the terror-inflicting bark of his shotgun; the loud cracks of Bradley's assault rifle, the chunky, mechanical growl of Connor's SAW, and the solitary, echoing blast from Foley's high-powered sniper. And the reloading and voice work sounds believable this time. They got it right this time.

The dynamic music is also much improved, from the mundane, short looping tracks of CDS, to a variety of memorable themes that you're sure to be humming in the bathroom the next couple of days. Control wise, the game feels more polished. Going from CDS to CDSII is like switching from an old, gunky controller, to a brand new one. It's much tighter.

On the gameplay side of things, the developers must have come to the conclusion that wide-open desert environments were a fundamental reason for CDS's overall lazy, mundane feel. Thus, they replaced the open desert environments with more structured feeling complexes and buildings. Gone are the river valleys and lonely bridges; in their place, a sandy town, a large airport, a weapons compound, and an oil complex, just to name a few. And all of this is arguably most fun with a friend or 3, since the game supports excellent cooperative gameplay for up to 4 players. It's much more fun to try and tackle the game on the more challenging difficulty levels with a friend instead of the rudimentary AI teammates.

Part of the reason CDSII is so good is because it's predecessor was so bad. It's almost as if the developers read all the reviews of their original game, and fixed every issue critics had with it, because CDSII hits the nail square on th head in terms of improvements. If you like modern shooters and are looking for the supreme co-op experience for you and your friends (most likely at a very affordable price nowadays), you can't do much better than CDSII.