Call of Duty 2: Big Red One review

The greatest war game on PS2 gets an equally great sequel

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There are times while playing Call of Duty 2 that you'd be forgiven for thinking the apocalypse was happening around you.

Scampering across a Sicilian beach, you'll be ducking, diving and weaving as seemingly everyone in the world takes pot-shots at your ass. Explosions batter your ears and flames can be seen all around.

Call of Duty 2, even more so than its prequel, is built around a structure of some rather excellent first-person-shooty bits, which then lead into some of the most spectacular set-pieces that PS2 has ever played host to.

Big Red One (named after the squad that'll be taking on campaigns in Africa, Sicily, France and Russia in the game) is a far cry from the tactics-heavy, slow-paced approach of the slew of other war games, such as Full Spectrum Warrior and Brothers in Arms.

CoD2 wants you to win, you see, which is its only real flaw. It can be just too easy, thanks mainly to the obscene amount of health packs scattered about, coupled with the generously regular checkpoints.

As such, it's about two-thirds of the way through the game before you even break sweat, which wasn't an accusation that could be levelled at the first Call of Duty.

But having said that, Big Red One is rarely less than hugely exciting, what with all the explosions and shouts of fear or encouragement coming from your squad-mates.

It looks amazing too, with a massive draw distance. In terms of eye candy, this is a box of the finest Belgian chocolates compared to, say, European Assault's melted back-pocketed packet of M&Ms.

So, Call of Duty 2, then. It's great, basically, and the best war game on PS2. A tiny bit easy, perhaps, and it hasn't made any great leaps on from the first game, but in terms of atmosphere, polish and fun, it's a sheer joy to play.

If you're after something with loads of tactical depth, this might not be the (big red) one for you. For those who just want an all-out shooter, however, it's one of the finest.

More info

DescriptionSlow to get going, but when it hits, it hits big ... especially during the Italian campaign.
US censor rating"Teen","Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"15","15","15"
Alternative names"CoD 2"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)