Call of Duty 2: Big Red one (GameCube) Review

By John Boyle 28.11.2005

Review for Call of Duty 2: Big Red one on GameCube

Once more we board the boats as Activision and Treyarch lead us into battle against the might of the Axis powers in Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. So grab your gun, grenades and your nearest buddy as we see if CoD 2 is better than the mediocre original.

The Call of Duty series is revered in PC gaming circles as being the best WW2 FPS out there. For atmosphere, gameplay and fun factor it comes up trumps. The problem is that the console CoD game (Finest Hour) was decidedly average in comparison; in particular it had too many "drive a tank" sections and not enough gritty FPS moments. However fair play to Treyarch, they started a fresh with this game (using the PC game as a foundation) and set about making the game gamers wanted from the start. So let us see what they have done.

The game follows one infantry division (namely the US Big Red One) as they take on the final 2 years of the war, attacking North Africa, Italy and Mainland Europe. You play... you. As usual in CoD games you generally play an unnamed soldier through your eyes, and this is no different (aside from one or two missions where you play characters linked to your buddies so you can see battles from another perspective).

Screenshot for Call of Duty 2: Big Red one on GameCube

When attacking (or should that be liberating) said countries you'll do so by three means. First up is standard FPS. The meat of the game, and boy does it play good. Forget the twitchy controls of Finest Hour, these feel responsive and smooth to the point that even a mouse and keyboard gamer wouldn't mind. The objectives in the standard missions revolve around working with your unit as a team and essentially doing what Sarge Hawkins tells you to do. You'll find that they are pretty standard stuff (take out sniper, provide cover for medic etc etc) and is a refreshing alternative for the often-outlandish objectives of the Medal of Honour games (take out platoon).

The missions in themselves play extremely well, never too slow and never too short. You'll always be moving from one place to another, hearing muffled shouts to shoot this or get that and seeing your buddies perform heroics that you'll be proud of. The game really shifts up a gear though (mission wise) after you capture a certain African town. I won't spoil it, but when you think it's all over be sure to keep your finger on the trigger... you'll need it.

Screenshot for Call of Duty 2: Big Red one on GameCube

One major issue with the Medal of Honour series has been that it shows no respect to the veterans of the conflict. Instead it makes war seem like an adrenaline filled ride of glory; filled with wise cracking privates, rocket filled bazookas and buxom French wenches waiting to greet their heroes. CoD 2 however can be quite sickening at times and brings home the realities of war.

It does this by having the game focus on Big Red One and letting you get to know the individuals that you will fight alongside and when one of them dies you'll be shocked. One key moment is when a sniper appears and takes Sergeant Hawkins out, the panic spreads through everyone rapidly and all that can be heard is a shout to you to go and get the medic. Panic floods your body, you race to get the medic to see if you can save the Sergeant, luckily you do but the influx of real emotion onto the gamer is carefully done and credit to Treyarch for having the guts and the thought to put it in.

Screenshot for Call of Duty 2: Big Red one on GameCube

There are problems with CoD 2 though, not many but there are a few flaws. For starters the proposed multiplayer option has been removed for the GC version. True, split screen FPS games are so 2001 but it would've been nice to have it in there. Not all consoles are blessed enough to have online capabilities you know. Also, there is no way to save midway through a level. There are checkpoints (so you won't be stuck doing the same bit over and over again) but the game only save at the start and end of each level. This can get VERY aggravating when you don't have the time to finish a level and have to turn off and do the whole thing again at a later date. How hard would it have been, an itty-bitty save feature. Oh well, maybe for CoD 3 for the Revo.

All in all Call of Duty 2: Big Red One has exceeded the high hopes pinned on it during the C3 preview. The flaws from Finest Hour have been torn out and have been replaced by a game much closer to the PC games of the same name. The lack of a multiplayer mode is a blow, but this is one of the must have Gamecube games for any self respecting action junkie. Just remember, Private Bloomfield is from the Bronx... so don't call him Brooklyn like the rest of the guys....

Screenshot for Call of Duty 2: Big Red one on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

All in all Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is the best 3rd party fps on the GameCube. Buy it and you'll be thrown into a war torn world where your only friend is your gun and your family is your platoon, so pick up that rifle and go give jerry a damn good thrashing!






First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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