Call of Duty 3 PlayStation 3
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Treyarch
Release Date: Out Now
If I had to pick a favourite Xbox 360 launch title it would have to be Call of Duty 2. The game was so enjoyable that it more than made up for the lack of a Halo title. Needless to say then that we were certainly looking forward to Call of Duty 3 and whilst it didn't quite live up to the standard of Call of Duty, 2 it was an enjoyable game that offered superior multiplayer support into the bargain. With the popularity of the Call of Duty series it was never going to remain on just one next generation console and after being available for the Wii on its launch day, Call of Duty 3 has also arrived on the PlayStation 3 in time for its European launch.
Call of Duty 3 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 PlayStation 3 version is almost identical to the Xbox 360 version of the game, although there are a few minor differences.
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 but at the most there are only around a dozen times that you'll get to do this in the game. In the 360 version you had to use the LT and RT buttons to do this but in the PlayStation 3 version you will take advantage of the motion-sensing capabilities of the Sixaxis controller to tussle with your enemy. It’s not used that often to be fair and doesn’t really add anything to the experience although it does give you an opportunity to use your controller in a novel way. You'll also get to use your controller as a steering wheel to enable you to drive a jeep and explosives can also be set using the motion-sensing Sixaxis controller.
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 3 isn't as impressive as either Call of Duty or Call of Duty 2. 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 game supports up to 24 players. Unlike the Xbox 360 version however, you can't have four players playing on one console during an online game which is unfortunate. 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.
It was quite a jarring experience playing the Wii version of Call of Duty 3 after playing the 360 version. The HD graphics have been replaced by graphics that could have easily been generated by the previous generation of consoles: the Xbox, the PlayStation 2 and the GameCube. With the PlayStation 3 version we are once again returned to the visual splendour of HD visuals and the game looks every bit as good as the 360 version. The frame rate doesn't manage to be as impressive here though and you'll notice it dip from time to time, which is something the Xbox 360 version didn't do. In every other respect though, the game is visually impressive with superb explosions, smoke clouds and other special effects. The game only supports 720p when playing in HD.
In regards to its deaf gamer friendliness the game is exactly the same as the previous versions of 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 2 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. Of course the PlayStation 3 version has no force feedback (due to the Sixaxis having no support for it) and this does take something away from the experience.
Call of Duty 3 is a fine addition to the PlayStation 3's catalogue and I'm sure FPS fans will appreciate having a Call of Duty title available so early in the console's lifespan. Having now looked at three versions of Call of Duty 3 it's fair to say that the PlayStation 3 version is second best to the Xbox 360 version thanks to the slightly poorer multiplayer experience and the frame rate that just isn't as consistent as it is on the 360 version. The problems are minor however, and the game not only looks great but is enjoyable to play. Fans of World War II FPS games will definitely enjoy what Call of Duty 3 has to offer.
Those looking for a World War II based FPS for their PlayStation 3 will enjoy what Call of Duty 3 has to offer in terms of both single-player and multiplayer content.