Call of Duty 2: Big Red One Review

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is the second game in the COD series for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. Let me start out by saying that COD: Big Red One never really surprises you at first, but as you play, the good elements will outweigh the bad elements. Activision,s second swing at Call of Duty for the consoles somewhat distinguishes itself from similar games such as Medal of Honor and Battlefield, but overplaying the same ideas and scenarios during WWII (“Quick, take this position! Now advance! Wait – we lost the first position, retake it! Now destroy this tank!”) has become pretty boring. This game does help that cause though, by offering a different layout and approach to your missions during the WWII. In the interesting (but short) campaign, you will start your tour of duty in Northwest Africa, make your way up to Italy, then to France, and finally to take over Germany and Hitler,s army at the end of the game (thus the end of the war in Europe).

Big Red One (as the subtitle of the game refers to), is the praised U.S. Army,s 1st Infantry Division. You play as part of this division throughout the 13 mission campaign. Big Red One had been around since the Revolutionary War, and has always been commended on their hard-ass and committed attitude. Sadly, the game fails to show this much at all during regular game play, and you,ll notice during the short propaganda clips between missions how undercooked the “Big Red One” idea really is. As your begin to play, you,ll have the same guys sticking around you most of the time. You,ll get the annoying Jewish guy with the New York accent from the Bronx, one hard-ass soldier, a rather shy guy with glasses, and you. You start out as a scum back private, at least that,s what every game like this portrays, and then eventually raise your status later on in the game.

As far the campaign itself goes, a player can choose from 3 different difficulty settings, and switch off difficulties if needed for each chapter (or mission) you play. The campaign offers some varied action in some beautiful scenarios, especially two of the chapters in Italy and Germany. As far as what you,ll be doing, most of the action consists of taking over Axis controlled areas, such as bunkers, pillboxes, airfields, and houses. The only problem with this fairly interesting campaign is that most of the bunkers, houses, etc. look exactly the same. The houses, you,ll notice in the second to last chapter especially, are all completely identical, which strikes me as being a little odd. You,ll also be: in command of a tank crew, given the orders to call an air strike on an enemy armor-infested area, dropping bombs out of a plane, manning .50 caliber machine guns, and even manning turrets on different vehicles that are in motion.

Although Call of Duty 2: Big Red One offers a different style in terms of a WWII FPS campaign, the lack of length in the campaign is what really kills its glory. You will probably be able to breeze through the game in about 7 hours on the easy difficulty, and 10-11 hours on hard. The campaign is also extremely scripted, and you,ll have to go in a certain spot just to get a cut scene to continue playing.

Your arsenal will include United States weapons, German weapons, Italian weapons, and French weapons (which I believe is unique to WWII shooters as of now). You,ll feel pretty comfortable when firing them, but the high accuracy of a machine gun is kind of ridiculous. You,re not going to be able to fire a machine gun as accurately as a sniper rifle. Plus, a machine is often double the weight of a rifle, so unless you,re playing as somebody with amazing arm strength and coordination, this degree of accuracy is highly unlikely. You,ll often be able to pick off distant enemy soldiers with a single shot from a Thompson, just as you would pick them off with an M1 Garand at the same distance.

The gameplay is smooth, and most of the enemy A.I. seems fairly intelligent given they are fighting in the biggest war in history. The problems come with your squad mates, and how they react to gunfire and how they take cover. You,ll often see your comrades take cover from a enemy soldier, but they are only 5 feet away from them and in broad sight of the enemy. Also, you,re squad rarely ever kills the enemies, so it often your job to run in and finish everyone off yourself. The dying sequences of enemy soldiers also seems very unlifelike, and I wish they would have improved on that portion of the game to go along with the campaign.

The graphics in Call of Duty 2: BRO are on par with most shooters today. What puts it apart from the rest of its kind are some its vast and detailed scenarios and locations. You,ll get the feel that you are actually walking or riding through different areas, as your surrounding will change often enough to give you that kind of feeling. A mark against graphics is, of course, the repetitive scenery features.

The sound in Call of Duty 2: BRO is also about average. There,s nothing too amazing, and the guns and explosions sound the same as they did in the first title. I did like the sounds of the pistols in the game though, as they seemed to echo as you fired them, giving it a unique type of ring to it. What also struck me as cool is when your ears begin to ring when a grenade or some type of explosive device blows up close to you. Not only do your ears ring, but you,ll also fall to the ground, and almost be in a shocked state for a brief moment.

Call of Duty 2: BRO offers online support for the Playstation 2 and Xbox consoles. Since it has no split screen action, that means GameCube users are stuck without any type of multiplayer at all. The online mode is a sad attempt at best and seems like it was slopped together rather quickly. It is powered by GameSpy, but you won,t have to register or anything like that, you just use your profile name that you use(d) for single player. Thus, there is no way to check stats or check if your buddies are online. It does offer up to 16-player rooms, but games with the maximum amount of players get extremely laggy and glitch more than they should. For example, I was standing behind a guy with a Springfield, shooting him point blank in the head multiple times, and then I noticed him start to fly away and then die from my shots later on. The online does support vehicles such as tanks though, which puts a little interest in the online portion of the game. The only dilemma is that most of the levels are in small destroyed towns, leaving little, if any, room for you to maneuver a tank. Overall I would say to stay away from the online portion of the game, as it may ruin your rather good experiences with the campaign mode in Call of Duty 2: Big Red One.

In conclusion, if you,re looking for a great online shooter, well you,re just not going to get that here. If you,re looking for a little bit of a change in a WWII genre campaign, you may want to check out what Call of Duty 2: Big Red One has to offer. Most of the core game play elements are tight enough to fulfill you,re needs. So, I,m going to say that the $50 you,ll lay down for this title may not be all worth it, but it definitely deserves at least a rent.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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