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
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
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.
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