Another multiplayer nightmare?
ESRB Rating: (Teen) Blood, Language, Violence
Video: HDTV 480p / 720p / 1080i
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Players: 1-4 Offline, 2-24 Online
Release Date: 7th November 2006
After the rather anticipated and much hyped Call of Duty 2 by Infinity Ward, I was really looking forward to this sequel. However when it was announced that Treyarch was to be developing Call of Duty 3 a lot of gamers feared seeing another ‘Big Red One’ (A call of duty 2 expansion) also developed by them. Call of Duty 2’s biggest flaw however was its non existent, if poor multiplayer out of the box. Let’s face it, it was crap – utter crap. There were issues left, right and bloody centre and gamers complained for ages about it. A patch eventually arrived, five months later, but by then gamers had already move onto Ghost Recon, however it still remained a very heavily played title.
Call of Duty 3 picks up after the landings at Normandy, and focuses mainly on the allied efforts on land as they attempt to force the Nazis out of Paris. I had high expectations for Call of Duty 3 (CoD 3 as I’ll refer to it from now). CoD3, gameplay wise defers from its predecessor by a small margin.
CoD 3 annoyingly jumps around from various army campaigns without really allowing the player to familiarize themselves with their squaddies. In CoD 2 for example I knew quite a few of my squaddies visually. In CoD 3, you’re thrown from one army to another at such a pace that I didn’t get to know anyone, thus the game felt even more linear then its predecessor. There’s very little sense in team achievement here because you don’t know any of your team. One minute you’re fighting alongside Canadian soldiers, then you’re bumping into a group of Scottish (I think) infantry, and then you’re bumping into Americans? Accents are so dodgy that it’s hard to tell what locale certain infantry groups you’ll encounter come from. It would be nice to spend more time in a campaign, but not here. So I ended up rushing into one scenario to the next with little regard to my squaddies, not the best of starts.
So, just like CoD2 every level is very linear, and rather predictable. The game uses event triggering as always, so scripted events initiate once you reach a certain point on the map, or kill a group of enemy soldiers, and thus a checkpoint save is initiated once this happens.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I hugely enjoyed the single player portion of the game, hell I was immersed in the atmosphere – and there’s heaps of it. The in-game environments are more active and action packed then CoD2, with explosions, debris and dirt flying all over the place. It really feels chaotic, which is exactly what gamers want. However, after just a few hours (or 20 minutes in my case) of gameplay, the flaws become apparent horribly fast.
My first 10 minutes was spent cursing all over the place as I repeatedly died for various stupid reasons. I jumped right into Hardened mode, which is just under CoD 3’s hardest mode – Veteran, which is where the true test of patience, and frustration lie. Anyway, in the first 20mins:
- I managed to get stuck on a wooden splinter lying on the ground. A soldier appears and shoots me in the head.
- I respawned, only to find myself stuck on a gravestone. I was in a graveyard at the start, how ironic.
- I respawn again! I’m hiding in a little hut getting my bearings, when a Nazi spawns right in front of me and kills me with his rifle.
- Yawn <respawns again> "Right, now I’m rea…" <notices a grenade at his feet>
- "Oh f**** *** ** ** *** !"!$!£"@"@$!!!"
The enemy AI is where things just aren’t right. CoD 2 was poor, but this is way worse. Once again enemy soldiers seem to have X-Ray vision and shoot at you behind walls or doors. Just when you think things are going according to plan, your group suddenly drops dead in front of you as you charge an enemy stronghold. Campaign mode has some superb missions though, but it feels like a one man show when the bugs seem to be getting the better of you for the most part. Playing the game on Veteran mode is always a one man show anyway, as it more or less feels like the entire German army is shooting at only you. Call of Duty 2 on Veteran mode was exactly the same in this respect, so it’s not that bad.
New to the Call of Duty series is the addition of Quick Time Event’s (QTE’s). QTE’s are scripted events that always occur on the exact same spot on maps. There’s just a few in CoD 3, and they are neat to experience first time round but after that it just becomes a nuisance. One example is on the first level, when you enter a burnt out house. As you round a corner, a German soldier suddenly leaps at you causing you to fall to the floor. You view this event through the eyes of your soldier, so right now the angry Nazi is trying to strangle you with his rifle. By hitting the left/right trigger buttons alternately you can build up a power bar and slowly push him off. Then the on screen prompts tell you to hit a button or two on your controller to make your soldier attack, so you hit B or A to fight back, and thus win the fight. Unless you’ve got one arm, there is no way you can lose a QTE so it just doesn’t really add anything to the game on the whole. In addition to QTE’s, there are also bomb arming sequences where you setup plastic explosives on anti air guns on a few levels.