Call of Duty 2: Big Red One PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

Big Red One is an odd name for a World War II shooter perhaps, but the BRO was actually a major player in America’s war effort. They were the country’s first infantry division and were dubbed the Big Red One because of a distinctive shoulder patch. There is logic in the bizarre name after all, now altogether now “”No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great, Duty First”.

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is the sequel to Call of Duty: Finest Hour, which was a great World War II title in its own right despite receiving criticism for being a cut down copy of the PC version. One of the games biggest drawbacks was that it was frustratingly difficult at times, whilst the tank missions were marred because the hulking vehicle never felt like it had any power steering. We still gave the game a well-deserved eight and enjoyed it more than the last couple of Medal of Honor games. This sequel is also a World War II game that does its duty standing tall.

Historical accuracy, Hollywood style scripted moments, ear drum bursting sound effects and all the dramatic elements of war assures that Big Red One can easily go toe-to-toe with the best of them. If you are preparing yourself for something radically different then we recommend you to go and look elsewhere, because you just won’t find it here. Any shooter fan should be satisfied with what the game has to offer though, and history buffs will also lap it up like a cat would a saucer of milk. All the hallmarks of the World War II shooter genre have been snared, and thankfully the game plays dutifully well too!

The game takes place all over the globe in a vast amount of missions, which includes North Africa, Italy and the west side of Europe. The Russian and British soldiers – seen in other Call of Duty games – have been ousted in favor of America’s first infantry division, and it’s the fighting first that you’ll stick with right through the games respectable entirety. The accompanying soldiers aren’t just puppets either, they each have personalities, which much like Ubisoft’s Brothers in Arms, makes any loss of life that little bit more upsetting. It’s still a game though so the buckets for your tears can be left in the loft.

Since Halo has come along it’s rare to play as a character that can carry more than two guns at any one time, such is the case with Big Red One. It may be more realistic, but we do miss the days when it was possible to be loaded down with enough weaponry to end the war with simple intimidation. Tactical elements are still brought into play, therefore the game isn’t a simple run-and-gun FPS either, requiring as much cover as it does to shoot bullets to enable you victory in this bloody conflict.

Things are thankfully more forgiving than the brutal time that Finest Hour presented to the player; checkpoints are spaced in a manner that is less cruel, therefore giving you less reason to shake your fist at the screen. It does have some tough moments though (even on the normal difficulty) and denies you checkpoints when you need them most. We didn’t say it wasn’t cruel, just less so.

Missions are pretty generic, although we wouldn’t expect to be combating aliens in a ship in one instance and then battling Nazi scum in the next. Things are nice and varied though, with a sprinkling of on-rails and vehicle sections met by a large portion of shooting and blowing things up. You’ll find yourself fighting your way through the countryside (we don’t mean the bushes and thorns either) and desert, assaulting beaches, towns, airfields and everything else you would expect to be getting up to in the line of duty on the frontlines.

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One may not be the greatest shooter in the world, but it’s definitely a cinematic and deafening thrill with plenty of reasons to dive right into it. Finest Hour was good, and Big Red One does everything that game did, and increases the intensity tenfold!

8/10

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