Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is the console exclusive little brother of the recently acclaimed Call of Duty 2. While it offers up a hefty dose of Nazi-killing action ? does it hold up to its counterpart?
Big Red One leads players through the adventures of a sergeant in the 1st Infantry Division?s World War II campaigns. Players and their squad will face the perils of Rommel?s Afrika Korps, Mussolini?s Italian Corps armies, the Hermann G?ring Panzer Division and eventually storm Hitler?s Fortress Europa.
As the game starts, the player is treated to some footage of the war and a rather attractive interface. Like many WWII shooters, players then enter their name on a typewriter and awaken in the shoes of a soldier about to be thrown into the fray. The game puts players in ride-along missions as well, utilizing various vehicles from the era.
The gameplay in Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is standard. This is a World War II first person shooter, and if you have played one (or many) before, you will not be surprised by what is found here. Success in the game will involve standing, crouching or lying down behind cover, zooming in on enemies, mowing them down and then picking up health and ammo. To help break up the somewhat monotonous flow of this pattern, players are given the chance to command planes, half-tracks and even tanks. And then you get to blow up stuff, which is always fun.
One thing that this game offers which is somewhat unique to the genre is squad AI that is actually competent enough to kill a few Nazis. Your squad mates will still die, but it is never your job to keep them alive and the ?important? ones will stay alive at least until their script calls for it. Still, it is nice to peek over that rock once in a while and find that the enemy you planned on killing is already dead.
Graphically, the game is fairly attractive by Gamecube standards. While there aren?t any noticeable framerate issues, the resolution in general does seem somewhat lacking. Staring down the barrel of a rifle, the view often is muddy; sometimes making it difficult to tell where a building ends and a Nazi begins. The game takes place in a variety of settings, and it is refreshing to see different textures in every level of the game.
Models react the way they are expected to for the most part, but with a lack of segue animations (i.e. Nazi gets shot while hopping a fence but does not react until his feet are firmly planted on the ground, at which point he keels over). A somewhat nice touch was to see action happening in the distance, out of reach of the player, which helped give the feeling that other squads besides your own were engaging in combat.
Sounds in Big Red One were pretty good. The music was fitting and guns, tanks, explosions and planes all sounded realistic. Troops shout as they engage in combat, with minimal repetition. The ?you almost got blown up by a grenade and temporarily lost your hearing? sound, first experienced in Steven Spielberg?s Saving Private Ryan, has returned for another encore in this title?may this be the last.
Overall, this game is pretty average. It does what it sets out to do, but the single player experience seems a little short, maybe ten hours. There are some bonus materials that are unlocked as you progress through the game. As there is no apparent criteria needed for doing this other than finishing a level, there is never a need to play through a level more than once. And as such, when the game is completed, there is not much to do with it. Multiplayer would have been a nice addition.
This game has some niceties, which separate it slightly from the crowd, but at its heart it is just another World War II shooter. If you have never played a game in this genre, you should probably pick up this title. However, if you feel like you can handle an MP-40 pretty well already, the main fun to be found here is in the airplane and tank missions. Unfortunately, there just isn?t enough original material to make this title worth recommending.