Call of Duty: Big Red One

War may be hell, but World War II period shooters seem to be just as popular as ever. Gamers are a masochistic lot it seems, willing to throw themselves headlong into a hail of bullets of explosions all for kicks. There's none that seems to do it finer than the Call of Duty franchise, which makes its second splash on the Xbox in Call of Duty: Big Red One.

Call of Duty: Big Red One has all the trademark bells and whistles of the other Call of Duty titles: a World War II FPS with tightly scripted events and intense action. The tightly scripted events, though confining, does make for some exhilarating and memorable moments throughout the game. This is all played up by the interaction between your team members, which can make the action all the more engrossing.

There are a few downers, however, like the sometimes brain dead AI for both enemies and allies. Never have I seen teammates so fondly stand in doorways in the midst of a firefight, nor have I seen enemies so willing to take a bullet for the cause of a staggering body count. It can take you out of the experience a bit, but it can also be completely unnoticeable thanks to the hectic pace of the game.

The visuals are solid, if not astounding. For such an immersive title, Big Red One hits all the right strides, with a solid framerate, varied character animation, and believable textures. The audio, likewise, does its part to help sink you into the war torn world; the epic score, in particular, really helps make it seem like you're part of something much bigger.

Call of Duty: Big Red One hits the right notes all around, providing a fun, action-packed experience. If it were only a bit longer, it'd earn the highest marks, but as is, it's worth a rental, if not more.

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