STAFF REVIEW of Call of Duty 3 (Xbox 360)

Monday, November 27, 2006.
by Chris Groves

Call of Duty 3 Box art You start off looking into a dark rainy day. In the distance is a Post WWII German flag hanging lengthwise, and leisurely waving in the wind. Below is a Battalion of German soldiers marching forth. Meanwhile cut scenes are appearing and briefly telling you parts of what happened during June 4 1930 WWII. The CGI movies are very well made and provide you with the feeling of being there.
The game starts you in a small base just outside St Lo, France. You walk towards a lone soldier and he guides you though some of the controls with a few comments and remarks. Walking around you get some control popups that will help you in further situations ahead. After a bet on how good you can shoot you are asked to jump in a Deuce and go into town, but before that you got to get a hold of a Thompson that is behind a barricade near a tent.

The Game menu is easy to navigate, and the control scheme is great. You wont find yourself hitting the wrong button and all of a sudden have a grenade at your feet and needing to run away hoping that you don?t get a piece of shrapnel in your backside. On the way into the city during the truck ride you are chased by a fellow soldier that is looking for a ride, as he is following you find out the trials and tribulations of war. After entering the city you are awarded with a wave of soldiers battling it out in a ruined graveyard, with bullets flying overhead and exploding grenades on the other side of the wall you are taking cover by. When you climb over the wall with the help of a fellow soldier you then notice the power of COD3 on the Xbox and thank yourself for also having a good stereo (In which I will touch on later). The amount of action you see starts the game off in a very heated battle and you then thank yourself for messing around at the base earlier to learn some of the controls. There are fellow soldiers perched behind tombstones returning fire while you are running from each small tomb and headstone to advance. The nice thing they added to COD3 is being able to pick up grenades and throw them back, just as you see a grenade land at your feet and a soldier beside it picks it up and throws it back and kills the attacking German. It makes all the more interesting game play when you pick one up and have a very short time to aim and throw it back, before you loose your arm and then some. The AI is more improved on keeping you from advancing to quick and will find a way to kill you if they cant get a bead on you with their weapons (Thankfully you can throw the grenades back). The skill levels are quite different as on easy you don?t take much damage and the enemy count is generally not that high but as you kick it up a bit, like on hardcore you do notice more soldiers shooting back and their aim is remarkably better. Another great addition is regenerating health, for when in those heated battles you take a barrage of bullets and almost die. You can take cover and replenish and proceed to return fire to advance. The variety of attacking you can do is great. In addition to just your basic hand weapons, their are antitank, sniping, and machinegun nests. There is also vehicles you will be driving and shooting out of while racing down roads filled with Germans doing their own thing, not expecting you to show up. The Axis soldiers will find anyway they can to get into the building you are in, and if you aren?t finished looking out for just yourself they will find a way to come in from behind you and your fellow allies.

The multiplayer aspect is great but is also accompanied by a few problems. Now I don?t know if this happened to all but I now some of it has. When going into ranked games the search always brought up one and only one server ?S and never let you in. When you finally get your way back to the main multiplayer menu and start a player match and search for a server, you wont be let down with the amount that show up. After Getting into a server you get the choice of choosing sides (Unless the server turned on auto team balance) you are awarded with various classes. There are 7 character classes insisting of rifleman, light assault, heavy assault, medic, scout, support, and the sometimes handy sometimes not anti-armour. The maps they include in the game are great and offer a variety of game play. Half of the maps include tanks and most include small to medium vehicles that will allow you to enjoyably cover terrain faster while running over the other team. I have joyously been in 24 slot servers and haven?t noticed any lag if none at all during my multiplayer experience. One of the maps holds terror due to the 3 tanks each team is able to get their hands on and if all controlled by one team, wreak terror on the other side and generally win the match. Now most of the time I was a scout, as I always like to snipe but in some games this did prove to be a very hard challenge. Well in COD3 it was the best time I had in a long time, especially with the artillery option.

The visuals are great in the fact that the wind in the game is making the grass and trees move accordingly. Some of the blown up buildings and rubble look amazing as you scope in on a sniper rifle to see a picture hanging in a window 300ft away. The focus effect you get when using the iron sights is great as everything around what you are aimed at is blurry. As you advance across the grass and take a look back and see where you have stepped the grass is pushed downward, it is even more noticeable when you go prone and then back up. Some of the vegetation provides cover and obscurity from the enemy but also does the same for them, even at long distances.

The voices in the game were very well done and with the characters mouths moving along nicely with the script, makes for an almost ?You are there? experience. The best of all is the sound effects from the exchange of gunfire and grenades. You will often hear soldiers cry out taunts and hints on where the soldiers are or coming from. COD3 truly engulfs you in the game and provides you with sounds that will make your ears smile. I do suffer somewhat of a handicap being that my speaker set up is only 2 channels but with the addition of a good amp even the stereo set up was enough to make me drool.

I do love the WWII shooters but I also hate them at the same time. I do love the aspect of playing in Europe but ever since I played the COD series I do feel they are almost all the same. They did great on the multiplayer but could of put a bit more time into making it work more than it does. Hopefully the patch will come soon. I have more than enjoyed my time playing this game but I would of liked to see more interaction with characters along side you. I do classify this game as a great rent for those who occasionally play WWII shooters or just want to try it out, but if you are in love with being immersed in a WWII experience I suggest you buy it like I did and play it to the fullest, especially online where you can extend your game play experience.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.6 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.4 / 10


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