Review by SNES_64_DC_Xbox
"A great game, even with a bunch of problems."
In 2005, while CoD2 was released on PC and the new Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles, a spin-off called CoD2: Big Red One was developed for the older 6th gen. consoles. This was also Treyarch's first game in the CoD franchise.
You are an infantryman in the Big Red One, the Fightin' First. You and your squadmates first retake Northern Africa, then push up into Italy, then liberate France, and finally, assault Germany's borders. Your fellow soldiers are, while cliched, quite well-described, with a background story for each available in the main menu. The AI for them, however, isn't very useful- they'll fire at the enemy, but have little effect. Also along the way will be random extras helping you out, and occasionally you are with a large group of other 1st Infantry men.
While most levels you're on foot, in two you drive a tank and push through German lines. Another level, you are a gunner in a B-24 Liberator, and fight off enemy fighters and bomb some targets. Those levels' gameplay is fine and keep the game interesting, now for the usual style (and the problems): You can carry two weapons at a time (plus two grenade types), health is recovered by medpacks scattered about, and grenades are able to be cooked. There is a large assortment of weapons, ranging from SMGs, to rifles, to assault rifles, heavy machine guns that can be carried, and stationary ones. While rifles are readily available, the submachine guns and assault rifles are preferred because of a lack of recoil, and the extreme accuracy of even a Thompson. Several levels - the first of N. Africa, 2 in Italy, 2 in France - the beginning consists of sitting in a vehicle, laying down fire on bunkers, German vehicles, etc. One level ends up turn into a long maze of trench with occasional Nazi bunkers with artillery to be destroyed. One good thing is the variety of objectives in levels: storm the hangars, man the flak gun, destroy the artillery, sabotage the radio equipment, defend the town, find the crashed plane, etc. Oddly, you get the ability to jump, but it's almost completely useless.
Okay; some issues with character bodies, guns look great, explosions too. Sometimes enemies right next to each other will die in the exact same manner, but usually deaths look fine. It fits the PS2-era games I suppose. Pretty good sounds, war-like and everything; voice acting is great (in fact quite a few actors from Band of Brothers lent their voices); music is fairly nice, though not amazing.
As said above, character story backgrounds are available, which is a nice touch. With each level completed comes some extras, from information on weapons and vehicles from the level, to short little clips including actual WWII videos in it, which is quite nice.
Unless you happen to like the game enough to replay it, there's no other reason to do so. Its not very long either...
I personally really enjoy Big Red One, and have played through it multiple times. It definitely isn't perfect, but I still very much so recommend it. I never tried the multiplayer suite, as it is long-dead, but its campaign is easily the best I've seen in a World War Two game yet.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/12/11, Updated 01/26/15
Game Release: Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (US, 11/01/05)
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