Call of Duty 3 Xbox 360 Review
As an Xbox 360 launch title Call of Duty 2 was certainly one of the best on the system, and even a year later it remains as one of the 360’s greatest games. A third instalment in the series was always a dead cert, and this time the authenticity of World War II has been brought to life by Treyarch, the development team behind the excellent Call of Duty 2: Big Red One.
The second game in the series had you globetrotting to Russia, Africa and France, although those hoping to get involved in significant battles from around the world with this third game will be disappointed, as Call of Duty 3 places you in Normandy, and only Normandy. Admittedly we were also saddened by being confined to this part of France, although when we were hit by the level of intensity seen in the first level, we were just glad to be playing Call of Duty once again. Still, because of the games stubbornness at never moving you out of France, the levels are not as varied as the second game, which is a major shame that considerably hurts the single player campaign.
There’s always more than one side to a war and Call of Duty has always done an impeccable job at portraying this. You’ll be taking control of Canadian, American, British and Polish soldiers, all had significance to the war effort and each have a decent and drama-filled story to tell on the game.
Graphically and aurally the game looks and sounds superb. The visuals are a considerable step-up over the second game, with particular attention to detail to be found in the character models and the weaponry. Whether you are involved in a terrifying fire fight or taking one of the games vehicles for a spin (tanks and jeeps here) the intensity rarely lets up, and to take in all the explosions, the amount of bodies flung around and the level of death and destruction (seen on many of the games well designed levels) would be impossible for a typical human brain, such is the magnitude of war. All the action is accompanied by a dramatic musical score, which is always befitting of each of the games situations, as well as fantastic sounding explosions, gunfire, and chatter from your allies or the German enemy tongue.
Those who bemoan the lack of innovation in their games won’t have any reason to climb up to the peak of Ben Nevis and shout to the world as to why Call of Duty 3 is so inventive, as this is certainly no reinvention. The minimal additions range from satisfying to unnecessary, but even if the game had been released without a grain of change we would have still had a mighty good time (such is our philosophy that a game doesn‘t need to break new ground to be fun!). On with the new stuff…
The best new feature is the ability to toss back German grenades before they explode in your face, which is always gratifying if you manage to take out a few enemy soldiers. The shrouding smoke grenades (naturally along with the fantastic smoke of course!) also make their triumphant return, and are your best friend in many of the games highly intense scenarios.
Returning to the new stuff, you’ll now be duelling with single soldiers as surprise attacks leave you in a button-bashing struggle with your attacker, and when you show him who’s boss, it will end in tears for the German attacker, with the crescendo often being a high fall or even pulling the pin out of an enemy grenade and pushing him through a window before he is blown out of France, very Hollywood! Whilst these small portions of the game show off the impressive character detail (as enemies tend to get right up in your face) and do give you a bit of a breather from the shooting, they feel a bit bolted on and like desperation was setting in for the development team to come up with something fresh to include in the game. The interactive bomb placement is similarly desperate, and will no doubt work much better on the Wii version.
The game can be played in split-screen, via system link and over Xbox Live. Those who were appalled at Call of Duty 2’s laggy online mode (before it was remedied with a patch) will be pleased to know that Call of Duty 3 is smooth on Live straight out of the box. Online the game can be played with up to 24 players, a large increase over COD2’s rather paltry 8. Modes include death matches, capture the flag, headquarters and the brand new war mode, a team effort which involves you taking control of flags.
Being unable to skip cut-scenes and having to watch scenes from the beginning of a level when you load a checkpoint is an annoyance, as is the occasional glitch, which detracts from the immersion. But, whichever way we look at it, Call of Duty 3 is a wonderful and hard-hitting experience, and like the second game it’s one that will always live on in the memory as a truly classic game.