Call of Duty 3 Review – “War is like chess. But not really.”

Call of Duty 3

Activision, Treyarch

Ps3

They say the World War 2 theme has worn out its welcome in gaming, so it’s very natural to assume nothing special out of Call of Duty 3, right? First of all, I can count the number of great WWII shooters on one hand. Whoever made that ridiculous claim that WWII shooters aren’t a breath of fresh air is ridiculous themselves. Call of Duty 3 may not change the FPS genre for good, but what it does do is provide one highly immersive first person shooter that constantly impresses.

You play as four different soldiers, for the United States, Canada, Britain, and Poland. Throughout the game’s fourteen chapters, you will constantly jump around different areas around Paris, as the French allies fight to save the city from an invading Nazi force. The story itself isn’t too interesting, it never really sparks too much attention. It’s easy to just not pay attention whilst trying to skip the unskippable dialogue. The overall story may not be too intriguing, but it’s the down to earth characters within it that save it from mediocrity. All four squads have very believable soldiers within it. All of them have that fear of dying in the back of their minds, they all know what they are fighting for, and they stick together as a team no matter the circumstances. As you progress through the ten hours it takes to complete their journeys, you will become attached to the soldiers as they go through hell and back again. Call of Duty 3 initially seems like a B Movie WW2 throwaway, as it certainly shares the same traits as other war games, but there is something here that will have you entertained all the way to the climactic battle between the US and Germans in Chambois.

The fact that you are constantly switching perspectives can seem a little poorly designed at first, but it actually saves the game from becoming repetitious.

Call of Duty 3 has incredible atmosphere. The towns in which you fight in are all heavily war torn, and all have a dark and gritty tone about them. You feel as if something terrible has happened there, and horrible things are about to happen there. The part that stole the show for me is when the Polish had just battled for the longest time in the heavy rain on top of a hill, with Nazis advancing up the hill in endless waves as they run through smoke clouds. The Polish are losing man after man, and they see the Canadians on the other side of the hill, and think they are saved. However, the green smoke signal that was to be used wasn’t lit. Your squad quickly realizes that those aren’t allies on the other side of the field.

Treyarch has done a great job of taking the Call of Duty formula, and not changing a damn thing. This is not a bad thing in the slightest bit. Levels are well designed and linear, and the game does a great job of directing you. There is a clear cut objectives list, your superiors constantly tell you what you need to do, and the compass works well and is easy to read. These levels are filled with Germans, and you have guns to kill them. Every weapon is modeled well, and feel great to fire. Ammo is frequently boosted by passing over the same gun dropped by a fallen comrade or enemy, so you’ll rarely run out. You can carry two weapons at the same time, and all are best during certain moments, but I’ll leave that to you to figure it out. You can fire from the hip with less accuracy, or you can pull L1 and aim down the sights. It helps sell the first person perspective. Add impressive reloading animations and the superb atmosphere, and you have one immersive game.

There are a few vehicle sections in Call of Duty 3. The British campaign revolves around a jeep named Vera. Vera controls poorly and is very slow. It’s a shame, because with some good physics and controls, running over Nazis would never be more fun. As the Polish, you’ll be able to control a tank, which controls very well and has great physics, and you’ll be fighting other tanks. Both vehicles are a nice change of pacing, but they don’t overtake the experience.

Multiplayer is a nice addition to the already lengthy campaign. There are 6 different game modes on well designed maps. Everything runs smoothly, and games can become highly competitive, especially with vehicles thrown in. CoD3’s online component utilizes a cl ass based system. This changes your weapons kit. Unfortunately, the Ps3 version lacks chat support, which could have enhanced multiplayer a bit more.

Team Battle is the best game mode, giving players points for kills and helping out team mates as medics. The two sides are allies and axis (US and Germans). The team with the highest amount of points at the end of the match wins There are a couple CTF modes, single deathmatch, and other team based MP modes. When this game was released in 2006, its servers were always full, but now, it’s still highly active and can be a real blast. The lack of any split screen MP options hurts, though.

Call of Duty 3 is a good looking game. Textures are solid, the game runs at a steady clip throughout, and there are a ton of effects and explosions going on, considering that you are taking part in a war. Animations are all fluid with only a few stiff looking ones here and there. Water effects look great, with great splashing motions. Weapons are all modeled near perfectly, with high levels of detail on them. Lighting effects are absolutely stellar. The visuals have aged a bit, but it still looks respectable.

In terms of sound, Call of Duty 3 amazes. There is an effect for everything that you can think of. Soldiers are yelling at each other in all sorts of languages, with impressive work done on voices. Bullets hitting armor or skin sounds realistic and muffled, with impressively done effects when it bounces off and hits something else. The rain hitting the ground sounds great, explosions are some of the best in the business. When I spoke of an immersive game, I wasn’t kidding. The game feels and sounds like you are right in the middle of a war torn place holding a gun.

The soundtrack in Call of Duty 3 adds to the feel of the game. Every piece is done perfectly with great mixing. Every instrument is pulled off very well, and a few of the songs in the game are highly emotional. The final song that plays during the last battle is one that I will never forget. This game was released in 2006, and it still impresses in this regard.

Now, for the bad parts. Call of Duty 3’s enemy AI is less than stellar. Often enemies will just kneel in front of you aiming at your face, and not doing a thing. It’s not horrible, but it can get a little irritating when it happens all the time. The game is still a relative challenge, because of enemies’ positions, but it could have been much better.

The great graphics and sound suffer from a slightly botched Ps3 version. There was one time when I was on a boat, and my soldier’s position on the boat changed rapidly for 7 seconds. It didn’t effect gameplay, but it was pretty dull nonetheless. Sometimes the sound will cut off, leaving some sound effects or voices muted. It’s a shame because the game sounds as good as it does. None of these glitches are gamebreaking, but they do take you out of it.

Call of Duty 3 is a great game. It’s easily one of the Ps3’s better launch titles, it’s a great addition to the Call of Duty franchise, and it is still one of the Ps3’s premier shooters. If you are a fan of shooters, engaging characters, or good games, Call of Duty 3 is still a worthy pickup, even after all this time. It’s not perfect by any means, it’s far from it, but Call of Duty 3 has a lot going for it. It’s about the closest you will come to a WW2 simulation. If you own a Ps3, give CoD 3 a shot.

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~ by smithbubbajones on August 4, 2008.

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