Call of Duty 3
When Call of Duty 2 made its appearance on the 360 last year, it definitely left a lasting impact and gave most of us a glimpse of what next-gen gaming could be. Now, it's a year later and developers have had ample time to better understand the 360 and start taking advantage of its resources. Knowing that the Call of Duty series has turned into one of the flag ships of Activision, you might expect a solid showing. But how fresh can a WWII game feel with three versions of Call of Duty and countless other quality WWII games available? Although some might be turned off by that from afar, once you start playing you'll quickly become engrossed in WWII action yet again.
This time around, instead of focusing on fighting through numerous different battles across the entire war, liberating Paris is your primary objective. Playing as American, British, Canadian, and Polish forces you'll see the war from a more finite point of view instead of jumping around from conflict to conflict. It's a nice change of pace and gives a more personal view of the war.
The gameplay however is where some may be left wanting more as it has returned almost entirely intact from Call of Duty 2. If you played CoD 2 however you would realize that this is a good thing. Gameplay upgrades in Call of Duty 3 were focused around minor additions such as being able to pick up a thrown grenade and chuck it back before it blows and other additional features such as a multiplayer modes now supporting up to 24 players.
Where Call of Duty 3 makes it's presence known is the graphical capabilities it brings. There are few genres that are as critical to graphical performance as first person shooters and often the success of the games rides on it. You will be brought into WWII like never before. The detail is remarkable from the foliage to the soldiers and the explosions are highly realistic with a spot on physics engine driving the show. When combined with the audio effects, the experience can get quite intense and currently offers a rather unique experience on WWII.
Although Call of Duty 3 brings back many gameplay similarities from CoD 2, you'll find few complaints and the graphical upgrade steals the show. With the addition of a full multiplayer capability you can once again experience WWII to the fullest.
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Even better than a David Copperfield show in Vegas is the girlish giggling induced by tossing a smoke grenade into enemy territory in Call of Duty. Sure, Copperfield can make the Statue of Liberty disappear, but could he go head-to-head with a T-34 tank and live to tell about it, all thanks to a trusty bit of smoke? Yeah, probably--he is David Copperfield.
I've been thinking about innovation lately. The crisp feel of good game play feels great when you realize it isn't quite the same old thing. Naturally a game like Call of Duty 3 stands out in this regard, but perhaps not like you might think. Over the last few years we've seen a deluge of World War II video games, some of which have been truly amazing. Although Call of Duty 3 just jumps on the dog pile without adding anything new, it still represents some of the better game play that you'll find in today's market.
If you've never played Call of Duty 3 before, you should know that this game offers pretty much modern FPS game play. You'll find no cover mechanics, no health bar, an emphasis on crouching and careful aiming, and with some small exception, just basic run and gun game play. Additionally, the storylines and cut scenes from this game seem to establish a slightly stronger narrative than previous Call of Duty titles. The PS3 version in particular offers a few game play options based on the PS3 technology. Twitching the controller will let you make melee strikes, plant explosives, or even drive a jeep. They don't work really well, and they're tacked on, but it lets you do something that only the PS3 can do. I figure the Wii does something similar, but similarly unique for the Wii controller.
Although this game is a port, it still looks pretty nice. Some of the game textures are fantastic; especially when you get a chance to see the high res Polish tank crew and their nasty, oily jumpsuits. Still, there's room for improvement, so look for PS3 optimization in the next version.
All in all, Call of Duty 3 is pretty much the same Call of Duty game that you've played twice now, but if you enjoyed the trip the first two times, this one is going to live up to the reputation.