Call of Duty 3 Wii
Published by Activision
Developed by Treyarch
Release Date: Out Now
As 2006 drew to a close one of the highlights was the release of the Nintendo Wii. The console that promises to appeal to even those who aren’t interested in gaming with its motion sensing TV remote-like controller was released in all three territories (US, Japan and Europe) and promptly sold out. Of course as far as we are concerned none of this matters as we are already gamers (you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have some interest in games) and the Wii simply represents a different way of playing our favourite titles. Not long ago we reviewed Call of Duty 3 for the Xbox 360 and we enjoyed the game. Here we have Call of Duty 3 for the Wii and whilst it’s essentially the same game, the unique control system gives us an early chance to see what effect the Wii can have on more traditional games.
Unlike the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 3 the Wii version is a single-player only title. The single-player game is exactly as it was in the Xbox 360 version. 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 some amazing battle sequences beginning in Saint Lo. On the Xbox 360 the initial graveyard battle was truly impressive. On the Wii it’s not quite so impressive because the visual quality is several notches lower and the frame rate is nowhere near as robust but nevertheless it’s still a good introduction to an enjoyable single-player game.
Of course what might have you interested in the Wii version of Call of Duty 3 over the other versions of the game is the control system and it’s certainly true that it does add something different to the experience. Utilising the remote and the nunchuck attachment Call of Duty 3 is the best FPS experience available to Wii gamers at the time of writing. There are a few control options that you can enable or disable, which make playing with the remote feel slightly different. By default the Dynamic Aim feature is enabled. This allows you to move your aiming crosshair around without changing your viewpoint. To move the camera around you simply push the crosshair to the outer edges of the screen. Turning Direct Aim off means the camera will move as you move the remote to keep your crosshair more or less in the centre of the screen. To be completely honest I couldn’t decide which method I preferred but with the Direct Aim feature enabled I found myself having to move the remote a lot more, meaning long periods of play often resulted in a tired right arm. Two other control enhancements are Sticky Aim and Grenade Gestures. Sticky Aim basically slows down the crosshair movement when aiming for greater accuracy and works reasonably well. Grenade Gestures allows you to forego button pressing to throw your grenades, in favour of making a throwing gesture with your nunchuck. Personally I found Grenade Gestures to be a bit unwieldy and decided to stick with the button pressing. There are a few close quarters’ tussles that you’ll have to deal with in Call of Duty 3 and on the Wii you’ll have to move your remote and nunchuck backwards and forwards and I personally found these fiddly. Setting explosives with the Wii remote did feel rather intuitive though.
Whilst it’s only right to classify the Wii as a next generation console some aspects of the console are already showing their age. Let’s make no bones about it the Wii doesn’t have much graphical horsepower. Call of Duty 3 on the Wii looks about as good as an Xbox title. Now I’m fully aware that as a launch title the game probably isn’t utilising the console to its full potential but even so after playing the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 3 it’s a real slap in the face to be faced with graphics that look dated on a console that’s just been released. In fact both The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Red Steel are equally disappointing in this respect. That said the Wii is going to be about its user friendly control system and not the quality of its visuals. At least the load times are quite nippy. The frame rate can dip from time to time, which can make the action feel kind of laboured.
You’ll be pleased to learn that Call of Duty 3 is subtitled although the subtitles aren’t enabled by default. Essentially you’ll have to create your profile (the game allows you to create six profiles in all) and then select to manage your profile and enable the subtitles in the options>gameplay menu before starting a new game. All of the important dialogue in the game is subtitled. All objectives are subtitled and these objectives can be recalled at any time by holding down the 1 button on the remote. All tutorial information is shown in text and a good use of icons has been made to convey information such as when a grenade icon appears to show you that you must leave the immediate vicinity to avoid being killed by the explosion. Icons are also used to show your current stance and when a weapon can be picked up. Damage indicators will show you what direction an enemy is firing upon you from. As you’re hit a red mist will form around the edge of the screen. When this happens you’ll need to find cover immediately and doing so will cause the mist to recede. Should you be killed you’ll go back to the last checkpoint. Thankfully you are notified with a Wii icon when a checkpoint has been reached and your progressed has been autosaved.
Both the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube received poor support from third party developers so it’s great to see a top-notch series such as Call of Duty arrive on the Nintendo Wii for its launch. Much has been made of the Wii remote and its suitability for FPS games so it’s very interesting to get an immediate feel for how good the console will be for FPS games. If Call of Duty 3 is anything to go by there’s definitely potential here for the console to play host to some great FPS titles. Call of Duty 3 plays quite well with the new control system, although it’s obvious that the game wasn’t originally designed with the Wii in mind. Some of the controls could have been better (having the d-pad for the grenades isn’t exactly comfortable) and if the Wii is going to be a popular console for FPS games then the controls are going to have to be spot on especially as the console is nowhere near an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or a half-decent PC in terms of graphical quality. Still Call of Duty 3 is currently one of the best games on the Wii and if you’re a fan of FPS games it’s definitely the best option so far.
The Wii version of Call of Duty 3 gives owners of Nintendo's latest console an early opportunity to play through an enjoyable FPS with the motion sensing control system. It's not as visually impressive as the Xbox 360 version and the absence of any multiplayer modes mean it's not the best version of Call of Duty 3 that you can currently buy though.