Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

2005 UK Sales Review

Feature2005 UK Sales Review

Part One: How current-gen consoles did in 2005.

With Chart-Track's Annual Report now published and available for sale to publishers, Kristan prepares his own annual Statto impression and wades through the facts and figures to offer an interesting picture of UK retail. In part one, we look at the state of the market and the fate of the current generation of console platforms. (Data from Chart-Track's annual report. Used with permission.)

The backdrop of 2005 was one of doom and gloom, with independent retailers in particular feeling the squeeze as all the major high street firms went to war with each other. After years of tolerating online retailers undercutting them by over £10 on a full price title, the high street was seeing their market share steadily eroded and decided to strike back with full force.

Suddenly, with all the mainstream types forced to price-match, UK retailers were making next to nothing on the games they were selling, and putting pressure on publishers to reduce their selling price - something that many under-pressure publishers were extremely reluctant to do.

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Call of Duty rumours abound

Two new titles on the way?

The Internet's at it again - this time with rumours that two new Call of Duty titles are currently in development for PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox and Xbox 360.

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints from three television viewers that adverts depicting scenes from Activision title Call of Duty 2 and its current generation console counterpart CoD2: Big Red One were misleading, and declared that they must not be shown again in their present forms.

CoD2 players threaten to strike

They're not very happy.

Call of Duty fans disgruntled with the game's developer, Infinity Ward, are threatening to shut down servers by embarking on a 24 hour strike.

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

Might the Xbox version be even better than the 360ís?

As I check the time on my mobile phone before I start writing, I notice that itís 11:11. Normally, seeing this time reminds me what a complete idiot Uri Geller is, but today, having spent the last few days playing the console Call of Duty sequel, it makes me think about... well, nothing really. A good way to start the review?

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One does not command the awful majesty of the very first CoD on the PC. Infinity Wardís original gained its notoriety through a combination of excellent FPS scripting, and a sense of the pure horror of being in a war. You were anonymous, surrounded by the anonymous. People died all around you, American, British, Russian, German, just green teenagers, first running, then lying very still, each expendable. Even your player character did not survive the chapter changes, as you switched from nation to nation, exploring significant moments from the catastrophic Second World War. You were a nobody with a gun, fighting nobodies with guns, and the agonising futility provided balance to the gameís focus on intense action.

Treyarchís Big Red One (to clarify, as itís confusing: Call of Duty 2 is a new release on PC and Xbox 360, whereas Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is an entirely separate game for PS2, GameCube and Xbox), while following the action ethos of the series, does not possess the same emotional scale. Although thereís a fair chance they never intended to.

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FeatureCall of Duty 2: Big Red One

Walker reports from the front line on Treyarch's latest.

Being in the middle of Poland, hundreds of miles from the nearest town, having reached where we are by an hourís violent shaking in a twelve-seater bi-plane, is a peculiar way to see a game. Being ambushed by German officers in the middle of the woods, while on the way to visit Hitlerís Camp Wolf on the back of a WWII jeep, is even stranger. But this was how we were introduced to Call of Duty: Big Red One. It could have been hideous. It could have been a nasty, distasteful PR stunt, pissing on the history of where we were, and what the games were recalling. Itís not quite clear how, but somehow this wasnít the case. Somehow, it was respectful, educational, and affecting. Which, in many ways, reflects the games it was intended to promote.