Call of Duty 3 Reader Review
When Call of Duty first hit the shelves, it was a breath of fresh air for the quickly ageing era of WWII FPS. It introduced fresh new ideas, putting the players as a human being, not a super soldier. Players were now a part of a regiment, and fought alongside many fellow soldiers. This was backed up by excellent scripted sequences, and even more action packed moments, which always guaranteed explosive action at every stage.
This was further enhanced by a great (albeit rushed) sequel, COD2. The game picked up from its predecessor, added a new health regeneration system, and with the power of next-gen, had beautiful character models and action packed moments scattered throughout the game.
Now the series continues, but does COD3 live upto its hype and expectations?
Essentially, COD3 has the same gameplay elements as its predecessor. The game essentially picks up where COD2 left off, and players of the earlier games in the franchise will feel right at home with this. Like in COD2, players can carry upto 2 strong weapons, 2 types of grenades (frag and smoke), controlled by a bumper each. The regenerative health system returns, which means no more hunting for medi-kits and health power ups. Just avoid taking fire for a few seconds, and you are back to full health. This does have its drawbacks though, sometimes you can take an entire clip and still be standing, which seems to make the game easy at times. Having said that, be prepared to die, and die you shall, many times. The enemy AI has been tweaked, and they are smarter, will throw grenades at you and will duck for cover.
Speaking of grenades, one of the more interesting changes COD3 has is the ability to throw back enemy grenades, and also to "cook" grenades (basically longer you hold the bumper, the shorter the time before the grenade explodes). When an enemy grenade lands next to you, you can try and frantically run away, or take that chance and run up to it to throw it back at the enemy. Of course, the enemy is not smart enough to throw your grenades back at you.
Another new feature in COD3 is the ability to take multiple paths (by multiple, I mean a choice between 2 paths). Although on paper this idea sounds great, in reality you soon realise this option is merely superficial at its best. It doesnt effect the outcome of the fight, and the decision is never a matter of life and death. What this does do successfully is give a feeling of choice to the player, making the game feel slightly less scripted and linear.
Probably the last of the new gameplay features is the mini-games. These are simple yet a welcome addition to the gameplay. Placing a charge is no longer a matter of simply running upto it and pressing a button. Now you have to press a series of buttons in the correct sequence. But unlike many other games which try to incorporate this idea, there are no penalities for pressing the wrong button, and no time limit either. One of my personal favourites is rowing a boat by twisting the right analog stick, as enemy fighters bombard the waters around you.
Enemy soldiers get closer to you than ever before, right in your face. Although these sequences are rare, they are quite enjoyable and fun. You can suddenly be jumped upon by an enemy soldier, who will try to steal you gun and kill you. Unlike the real world, its only a matter of alternately tapping the trigger buttons real fast to knock the soldier away, then finishing him off the the 'A' button. The first time that happened, I had my heart pounding, my blood roaring and my 360 controller slipping out of my sweaty hands. But as with most things in this game, these sequences slowly lose the edge and the element of surprise.
On a more positive note, the ability to drive tanks and jeeps is a welcome addition. Although it happens very rarely, these sequences make up for some of the most intense scripted sequenced fun you will have in the game. Driving an old jeep, with a panzer hot on your trail, running over fleeing german soldiers whilst avoiding bombardment from all directions, trying to reach for that jump which will take you to safety. These make up for some truly grizzly moments in the game, and some of my personal favourites too.
This is where the games strength lies. Beautiful character models, the best looking foilage and grass ever seen in a game and awesome scripted action sequences make up for the repetitive gameplay. This game needs to be seen to be believed. The smoke effects are even better than COD2, and if you never saw COD2, then you will simply be blown away by the smoke effects, period. Explosions look pretty, and the framerate rarely (if ever) drops down, even with loads of enemies in sight. The vehicles are accurately reproduced, as are the interiors inside houses. The gun models are accurate to the last detail, and you can even read the serial number on the guns if playing in HD. The blur effects when zooming in with a gun give the game a nice touch. The lighting too, as always, is spot on, and the shadows look great as well. Unfortunately, the game still has some clipping issues and minor collission detection problems. Every now and then you will see a dead enemy body mysteriously hovering over a barrel or crate, but nothing drastic enough to spoil the overall beauty of the game
Definitely one of the best looking FPS games out there, COD3 should be treated more like COD2.5. Awesome sound and graphics make up for the mostly repetitive gameplay. The power of the next gen is used nicely, but only for improving graphics and presentation. Sadly there are no innovations in terms of gameplay, and for the few minor ones which are there, they feel superficial and not important enough to effect any gameplay decisions. COD3 suffers from the same syndrome effecting many next-gen sequels, an over emphasis on presentation, and not enough use of the power to innovate gameplay. All in all though, its definitely worth a play, but maybe when the price drops a bit. Certainly worth a rental though.
Gameplay : 7/10 Graphics : 9/10 Sound : 8/10
8 / 10