As I check the time on my mobile phone before I start writing, I notice that it’s 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 Ward’s 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 game’s focus on intense action.
Treyarch’s Big Red One (to clarify, as it’s 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 there’s a fair chance they never intended to.