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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Treyarch

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 1, 2005

 

 

- Immersive and exciting single player

- Excellent voice acting

- Huge improvement from COD: Finest Hour

- AI is quite good

 

 

- Bland multiplayer

- Short single player campaign

 

 

Review: Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (XB)

Review: Call of Duty 2 (360)

Review: Call of Duty: Finest Hour (PS2)

 

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Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

Score: 8.0 / 10

The Call of Duty franchise established itself as one of the premier World War II series on the PC in 2003 and soon afterwards the first installment of the series was brought over to the consoles. Unfortunately Call of Duty: Finest Hour on the consoles was hampered by awful AI, clunky controls and mediocre multiplayer. Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is the latest installment of the series to hit the consoles. This time around, the game is being developed by a new team at Treyarch.

 

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Call of Duty has been known for allowing players experience multiple sides of World War II. Big Red One takes a departure from this feature as the game solely lets you play as the Americans. Taking a page out of the Brothers in Arms series, Big Red One hopes to breathe more life into the game’s characters by having you fight alongside the same soldiers for the entire length of the game.

 

Big Red One is broken up into three separate campaigns including missions in Morocco, Italy and France. Each of the locales contains a good mix of compact urban centers and open areas. A good majority of the game is played on foot with at least a couple of vehicle based missions in the game. The vehicle based missions work quite well, changing up the action quite a bit. Between each of the campaigns a brief reel of footage from the military channel is played giving the player insight into the Big Red One’s campaigns.

 

One of the greatest aspects of the Call of Duty franchise is the ability to immerse the player in a large scale battle with literally hundreds of things going on at once and making the player feel like a smaller part of something big. This holds true for Big Red One. All of the game’s levels throw you into awesome large scale battles peppered with scripted events.

 

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Big Red One puts you in the shoes of an American soldier in the famed First Cavalry Division (AKA Big Red One). Throughout the game you’ll fight alongside the same soldiers and the game intends to give a different personality to each one of your fellow soldiers. While an attempt is made to give some life to the character you don’t really gain the same kind of insight as in Brothers in Arms as to who the characters really are.

 

The weapons featured in the game are your typical weapons you’d find in 

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any World War II shooter. Everything from sniper rifles to rocket launchers can be found in COD2. There are also a number of segments where you’ll take control of turrets mounted on vehicles. These segments work fine for the most part, but can feel awkward at times because your aiming cursor sometimes doesn’t move in sync with the barrel of the turret. One nice addition to certain automatic weapons is that they tend to overheat after extended use. This really forces you to properly squeeze off a few rounds from your weapon rather than holding the trigger down.

 

There are a number of vehicles you’ll have at your disposal to either drive or ride shot gun in. The vehicles include tanks, plane, troop transport vehicles and regular cars.

 

The AI is quite impressive throughout the game. The enemy soldiers frequently take cover when shooting at you and run away from grenades rather than staying stationary.

 

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Big Red One features online play for sixteen players in a fairly standard mix of online, uh, standards. You have your basic game modes and the only real new addition to the multiplayer is the addition of tanks. The tanks don’t play too much of a vital role in the online play as they are easy targets to take out. Overall, there are a number of better online military shooters that deserve your attention.

 

One of the best aspects of the game is the audio. The music is extremely well done and the voice acting is superb. In fact, the voice actors for the game are the actors from the World War II mini-series Band of Brothers.

 

Big Red One is available in a regular and collector’s edition. The collector’s edition features exclusive multiplayer skins, and behind the scenes features with the actors, game developers and soldiers who actually served during World War II. If you’re really interested in behind the scenes extras, then it may be worth shelling out a few extra bucks for the collector’s edition.

 

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is a significant improvement from the first iteration of the game on the PS2 -- it features an exciting and intense single player campaign, even if it is on the short side, while the multiplayer is mediocre at best. Fans of the series and first person shooter fans in general should give COD2 a try.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(December 5, 2005)

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