The grenade tosses in Finest Hour are also implemented very poorly. Many first-person shooters allow you to vary the distance of your grenade tosses, and even cook grenades before tossing them, but Finest Hour allows you absolutely no control over your grenades. You press the button, sit through a lengthy grenade-prep animation, and then watch as the toss is made with the exact same force every time. The bounces that the grenades take off the walls and ground are also difficult to predict, as the grenades themselves don't appear to have any weight, or be constrained by physics. The lack of fine control over grenades can be very frustrating in the house-to-house sequences--clearing out rooms full of enemies is more difficult than it has to be, as misthrows are a commonplace occurrence.
There are other strange inconsistencies. While firing the tank cannon, for example, there's absolutely no need to account for arc. Place the crosshairs on the target, and no matter how far away it is, you will hit that target. Presumably that design decision was made to simplify aiming, yet for some reason, using a panzerschreck rocket launcher as an infantryman requires you to adjust your aim for the arc of the shot.
As far as presentation goes, Finest Hour's graphics engine is adequate to the task, offering detailed weapon and vehicle models. The texturing, however, lacks detail and is disappointingly blotchy, even in the Xbox version of the game. Finest Hour also has some noticeable slowdown during intense firefights, and especially when a nearby explosion kicks up a lot of dust and smoke. On the audio front, Finest Hour's sound effects are decent, but nothing special. In contrast to many other World War II-based shooters, Finest Hour's weapon sounds feel muted and much less sharp. You'll also hear a limited amount of voice work during in-engine cutscenes, but none of it is particularly noteworthy. Actor Dennis Haysbert (24, Heat) does part of the narration, setting the historical context for each campaign, but his contribution doesn't really add much to the overall package.
Finest Hour offers an array of real-life guns from each of three different countries.
While there are no split-screen multiplayer options on any of the three platforms, the Xbox and PS2 versions of the game offer online multiplayer for up to 16 players. There are eight maps and four game modes. Standard deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag modes are included, as well as "search and destroy," which is a team-based mode in which one team attempts to set a time bomb on a target, while the other team tries to thwart the bombing. This mode turned out to be very popular in the PC version of the game, probably because it's fairly similar to Counter-Strike. For some reason, though, Finest Hour's interpretation of search and destroy is not round-based. Instead, members of each team can spawn continually, like in capture the flag, making it all but impossible for the offensive team to successfully plant and detonate a bomb. On the plus side, online play is fairly smooth on both the PS2 and Xbox Live, even on servers with 12 or more players.
Overall, Call of Duty: Finest Hour is still a competent shooter, and those who enjoy World War II-based games will still have a good time with it. Had the feel of the weapons been a little better, and had the campaign been more consistently intense, Finest Hour could have been a much better game. As it is, though, it enters a market that becomes more and more competitive with each passing month. Judged against the standards of so many other quality first-person shooters, Finest Hour is difficult to wholeheartedly recommend.