Call of Duty 3 Xbox 360
Published by Activision
Developed by Treyarch
Release Date: Out Now
It’s almost a year since the Xbox 360 launched here in the UK and looking back over the last year it’s fair to say that we’ve played some enjoyable games on the console. Perhaps the most impressive game we’ve reviewed so far was our very first one we reviewed on the console, Call of Duty 2. With no Halo 3 on launch day FPS fans needed to look in other directions for the next generation FPS fix. The options were either Perfect Dark Zero or Call of Duty 2. Both were enjoyable games but Call of Duty 2 was quite simply the better all round game with great graphics, an excellent single-player game and multiplayer options that kept you coming back for more. Needless to say then we were very pleased to get our hands on Call of Duty 3 and it’s not disappointed.
Let’s face it, there have been many World War II based FPS games and if such a game is going to hold your attention it has to grab your interest as soon as possible. Call of Duty 3 does this perfectly. The game is set during the 1944 Normandy Breakout (thankfully the Normandy landing scene hasn’t been redone here as in so many other titles) and you’ll play several campaigns as an American, British, Polish and Canadian soldier. You’ll get to see the perspective of each army as they bid to remove the German forces from France. You’ll begin with a very brief tutorial before being thrown into one of the most impressive battle sequences I’ve seen in a war based FPS. The graveyard battle is simply amazing with so much going on and bullets firing all over the place. Never has the first chapter in a WWII FPS been so intense.
The single-player game isn’t wildly different from what you would have experienced in Call of Duty 2. Sure a new close-quarters combat mechanic has been added requiring you to tussle with your opponent using the LT and RT buttons. It’s not used that often to be fair and doesn’t really add anything to the experience. You could even argue that the various storylines in the single-player campaign aren’t that interesting because, in truth, they aren’t that inspiring and in this respect Call of Duty 2 is certainly the better game. However the atmosphere is first class and you really feel like you’re part of the war and not simply taking part in a bog-standard WWII flavoured FPS. It would be accurate to say the atmosphere is movie-like with well directed sequences that are honed for dramatic effect. It’s this atmosphere that gives the Call of Duty series an important edge over its rivals and even though Call of Duty 3 is probably only 10 hours long at the most in the single-player campaign, it’s 10 hours that are highly enjoyable.
The multiplayer now supports up to 24 players (compared to the 8 that Call of Duty 2 allowed). The increase in the amount of players that can participate really has a positive impact and makes for a better atmosphere when playing online. There’s a decent range of vehicles that can be used and the ability to sprint (to allow you to quickly distance yourself from your enemies) has been added for online play. You can even play online and have three ‘guests’ join you on your console when playing on Xbox Live, which is excellent because it allows your friends to sample the online experience.
You really have to give Infinity Ward credit for how impressive Call of Duty 2 was in terms of the quality of its visuals. For a launch day title it was not only impressive because of how it looked but also for how it performed. Whilst the PC version of the game struggled on even a top of the range PC, the Xbox 360 version had an impressive frame rate. Call of Duty 3 cranks up the detail a little, still looking impressive, and once again manages a great frame rate that doesn’t seem to flounder even during the most hectic encounters. Once again the smoke effects are excellent as are the explosions. As we mentioned earlier the game really has a movie-like feel to it and whether you’re playing on a standard TV or HD display, the game looks fantastic.
Deaf gamers will be able to enjoy Call of Duty 3. Subtitles are available and you’ll find all of the game’s main dialogue is subtitled. There are some peripheral comments that aren’t subtitled but in truth this isn’t much of a problem. That said, there are times when hearing gamers will hear their enemies before they come into sight. Thankfully though, the radar does show the position of your allies and enemies. The radar also shows you which direction you should be heading for. Objectives are shown in text and can be recalled at any time by pressing the Back button. Directional pointers indicate the positions you’re being fired at from. As with Call of Duty there are no health gauges. When you’re hit the edges of the screen will begin to display red mist. This is the cue to get out of the line of fire as soon as possible and doing so will allow you to recover and the red mist will recede. A grenade icon appears if any enemy has thrown a grenade in your direction. When this icon appears you have a very short time to remove yourself from the location (the icon will disappear if you’re successful) before it explodes. You’re also notified in text when a checkpoint has been reached and your progress has been saved.
Call of Duty 2 was always going to be a tough act to follow because it was just such an impressive game. For the most part Call of Duty 3 has succeeded. The single-player campaign whilst short is actually very enjoyable despite not having much in the way of a storyline. Those who enjoyed Call of Duty 2 when playing online will certainly appreciate being able to have three times the amount of players in a game as well as being able to have four players on one console. In short it’s another great game in the Call of Duty series and another fine addition to the Xbox 360’s FPS genre.
The single-player storyline could be better but the excellent action and atmosphere (not forgetting the improved multiplayer game) more than make up for it. It's another top notch FPS for Xbox 360 owners.