Call of Duty 2: Big Red One


posted 1/31/2006 by Shawn Kendrick
other articles by Shawn Kendrick
Platforms: PS2

For this virtual tour of duty, I had the somewhat pleasurable experience of suiting up for the good old US Army in Call of Duty 2: Big Red One.  In this installment, just like Call of Duty and Call of Duty: Finest Hour, we start out as a brand spanking new, Army Private. In this version you are in the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division. The story line takes you along your divisions chronological campaign. This campaign starts in North Africa and ultimately ends in Germany.

Just like previous versions, this one is a first person shooter. Along the way, Activision does try very hard to mix up the game play, asking your soldier to man numerous turret guns and vehicles. These variances from the typical game play are very welcome. I particularly enjoyed the anti-aircraft guns.

In terms of the battlefield, I have to give the creators much credit for their efforts. They really went the extra mile to create very detailed environments. I also enjoyed the detail of weaponry used in this time period. This has become a standard of this franchise.

The title also does a very good job of developing the story line while recognizing that this is a war game not a novel. The plot is somewhat interesting without being too off the wall. I mean it’s a war, us against them, kill or be killed, who cares about the story line, right? I think Big Red One recognizes this and uses the plot appropriately to get us into the action.

The game also ran extremely well on the ps2 console.  I played this game for many, many, hours with nary a glitch. The smooth performance enabled me to enjoy the excellent playability of the game. In FPS gaming playability means the ability to shoot. In this aspect the game, Big Red One, does its namesake proud. Both the trigger and aim are lightning quick regardless of your choice of weaponry. Naturally, some weapons repeat a little slower than others but as far as actual response to the gamer’s commands, I would have to say that this game is well above the curve. Nothing is as frustrating in an FPS as experiencing latency while shooting.

Activision has added some value to this game in the form of multi-player modes. Although these are somewhat fun, they are far cry from some of the more renowned squadron games, such as the SOCOM series.

The problem with playing this game for hours on end is certainly not in the fact its multi-player modes aren’t up to snuff. The downfall to this game is that the market is satiated with WW II titles. Keep in mind; this statement is coming from someone who loves FPS war games. I was weaned on these things, but I swear it is getting hard to differentiate between them. The first installment in this series managed to stand apart from the crowd with very intense battle scenes, such as the opening beach invasion. That opening scene was pure chaos. It forced me to think, “ is war this hectic and disorganized?” The Big Red One does nothing of the sort. Right off the bat, you can pick out the patterns in the AI. No overwhelming feelings, no thinking “oh god if a video game gets my heart pumping like this, imagine the real thing”. Unfortunately, this game simply feels like I’m playing the gazillionth WW II epic released in the past few years. Which is in fact, the reality of the situation.

I love this genre, but perhaps all good things must come to an end. The beauty of these games, are that they are based on real life factual war campaigns. However, I think we’ve ran out of campaigns and maybe its time to send our virtual soldiers back home where they can start the baby boom.

Despite having a strong legacy to build upon, this game somehow manages to somewhat disappoint. In fact, it may be time to let the entire WW II, FPS genre die with dignity.

Page 1 of 1