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Call of Duty 3 Review

Developer: Treyarch Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 7, 2006 Also On: PS2, Wii and Xbox

It has only been a few seasons since Activision released the original Call of Duty for the PC. In the matter of a few years, Call of Duty has been transformed into one of the company’s biggest cash cows. With a new Call of Duty getting released each of the past three holiday seasons, including three on current-gen and two on the Xbox 360, the importance of the franchise is apparent. In its second iteration on Xbox 360 and its first on PS3, Call of Duty is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than ever.

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Let me make this clear first. I have limited experience with Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360, as the copy I own doesn’t work. I was not responsible for last year’s review in which it received an 8.9 out of 10. Please don’t draw comparisons from this review to that one since Shawn and I are two distinct reviewers with different tastes. That said, it is of my opinion that Call of Duty 2 was the only launch title last year that was worth the $60 being asked for it. Call of Duty 3 tries to add on to that experience by improving the graphics, adding new levels, more enemies and fix the shoddy online multi-player from last year.

Now that that is out of the way, this is easily the best World War II shooter I’ve ever played. It makes me glad I own a 360. Medal of Honor: Airborne is going to have a lot to live up to if it expects to retake the World War II genre from Call of Duty. Everything about the game impresses me. The sheer amount of chaos in battle, the graphics that give Gears of War a run for its money and the sound effects of mortar fire, guns blazing, and the clings of bullets, though admittedly the voice acting gets a bit repetitive.

There’s so much going on in Call of Duty 3 that it feels like a real war. Seeing literally dozens of different Allies and Nazis storming at each other is an amazing sight that has been needed to add some realism to the World War II genre. The problem with the current-gen has been that you would think the war was fought by a group of a few people. In reality a battlefield would have hundreds or thousands of
troops from each side. It’s only a matter of time before we get to the point where we will be fighting a war with hundreds of computer allies and enemies on the screen.

Most importantly, the combat is intense. Running out of bullets in your gun, having a grenade lobbed your way and switching weapons to shoot down a group of three Nazis will give your heart a real workout (as well as your patience). What’s been missing from World War II shooters since…forever…is that they just don’t feel authentic. You shoot a few guys, run around on a scripted battlefield and don’t control much. In Call of Duty 3 you have a few optional paths that you can take, altering the game slightly each time you play.

That’s not to say Call of Duty 3 does not have its faults. Activision decided to implement some driving segments that are all pretty weak. You will sometimes man a gun on the back of a Jeep and can run over Nazis when you are driving, but that’s about all the fun you will have with it. One of the best parts of the game comes when you hop in a tank. The tank level has you plowing through the streets of a crumbling French village, knocking over fences and firing down entire groups of enemy soldiers. It’s a shame that they did not have more tank levels instead of having you drive around in a Jeep, or even a multi-player mode where you could battle against friends.

Another problem that I found with Call of Duty 3 was that the collision detection is off at times. I found situations that when ducking behind a vehicle my bullets would fail to penetrate enemies clear in the open and easily targeted. Since the game ditches health packs for a replenishing health bar, duck and cover seems to be the strategy developers expected. For this I am a bit baffled that they did not correct some of these small issues, not the least of which is the occasional glitch. There are parts of the game where your character may literally get stuck and cannot move.

With the 65th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor just passing, the release of Call of Duty 3 would feel appropriate…if not for the fact that a new installment in the franchise gets released each year. I would suggest to Activision that they need to give the series a break, even though Call of Duty 3 is a fantastic entry into the series. With 32 player online multi-player, split-screen offline multi-player and system link, as well as a relatively long single-player, this is one of the few next-gen games that can be justified for the $60 price tag. If you need a second choice shooter after Gears of War on Xbox 360 or Resistance on PS3, Call of Duty 3 should be your pick.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.7
Written by Kyle Review Guide