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Call of Duty 2: Big Red One review

Rrring... Rrring... Hello, Duty? Why yes, we'll be right there!


  • Passable graphics occasionally impress
  • The voice acting sells the story
  • Lotsa fun Nazi name-calling


  • Bugs occasionally interfere
  • Dumb AI
  • Too much of the bland African desert

When gazing out over the smoking, cratered expanse of World War II shooters, it takes a really special title to snare your interest. Call of Duty 2: Big Red One takes a fairly competent perspective on the genre, but, despite some stirring segments through Italy, these tattered soldiers could have used a little more time in training.

CoD2:BRO centers around the exploits of the First Infantry Division (the legendary "Fighting First"), so you ship-out to the war's European hotspots, facing Rommel's Afrika Korps in Africa and Mussolini's troops in Italy, before anybody else. Unfortunately, the vague plot points don't grab you until well into the game's middle. A believable depiction of the events of World War II as seen through the eyes of the United States' burliest division, BRO takes players through some of the unsung locales ordinarily glossed over by most titles. Fighting more than simply Nazis, you and your fellow troops sand-slog through Africa, storm through black-shirted Italy, and tromp into annihilated France.

Plugging enemies is fun, but harvesting a bizarre arsenal from your atypical foes (including some peculiar side-loading Italian firearms) is even better. Of course, you can still punch holes in people with all the old WWII favorites, including the Springfield sniper rifle, M1 Garand rifle and Thompson sub-machine gun (to name but a few). It's not all about the handheld firearms though; along the path of the First, you'll be required to plant explosives on tanks, paint targets with binoculars for air support and spew lead from machine gun turrets.

Gameplay includes little diversity beyond the standard "go there, kill the Gerrys" formula, but occasionally you'll engage in activities outside the average infantryman's experience. Bulling through enemy lines and mashing everything flat with steel tank treads provides a welcome break from the grind of constantly finding cover, and the Liberator bombing run (which allows you to man each station in a B-52) delivers a tense change in the action. The AI lacks the killer instinct that would have been ideal in a wartime situation, but at least this applies to both the enemies and your buddies; they're equally thick-headed, leaving you to be the hero.

More Info

DescriptionSlow to get going, but when it hits, it hits big ... especially during the Italian campaign.
PlatformXbox, GameCube, PS2
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating15
Alternative namesCoD 2
Release date18 November 2005 (US), 18 November 2005 (UK)
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