World War 2 is one of the worst tragedies in the history of War. However, it has at least given game developers an endless pool of inspiration for games, from multiple different angles. Infinity Ward’s much acclaimed Call of Duty series have done a great job at showing the horror of that era. Now up steps Call Of Duty 3, holding the baton high for the series, and attempting to take it that one step further. I dove into battle ready for the best War experience ever. Was I disappointed? Keep readingâ€¦
Immediately leaping into the single player is always a good idea. You start as an American soldier, and you go through the basic training so that you learn how to shoot and everything. Then itâ€™s onto the battlefield, and youâ€™re plumped straight into a massive offensive and trying to advance on enemy lines. However, itâ€™s all pretty straight forward, because you have the star on your compass telling you where to go. Then you realise that this single player has absolutely no improvements of Call of Duty 2 whatsoever, which suffered from the same linearity. But CoD3 makes it far worse. Instead of having the the star fixed on your objective and you make your way there however you please, the star here instead is placed at where you should be, then it moves to the next place you should be, then it moves again and so on. This means you simply follow the star, and although there are a few skirmishes in between, it just feels on-rails. There really isnâ€™t any point in trying to go in a different direction, because you canâ€™t. It makes the single player a whole lot less enjoyable, especially when you get killed by a box.
Yes, thatâ€™s right, on the second level, you have the opportunity to melee a box and uncover some guns. However, if you do this, you have to stand on the right side, otherwise the lid flies off and kills you. See, it doesnâ€™t make any difference which way you hit the box, it still slides off in a scripted motion, and if you stand in front of the lid and play on Veteran, it will kill you.
In fact, scripted events make up most of the game, and are far more noticeable than they were in CoD2. Again, in the second level, a tank fires a shell at you, and no matter where you stand, you get hit and the screen goes all dark. Itâ€™s frustrating that something like that happens, but thatâ€™s not the only problem. Your team AI, for the best part, are not all that great. They do kill the Germans this time which is nice, but not immediately. If you stand and watch, your team-mate who has a Trenchgun will go one-on-one, and will fire several times and miss, or hit the German but the German wonâ€™t die. Similarly, the German will fire at the US trench gunner, but he will take countless hits and never once dies. Itâ€™s annoying, and something that really should have been fixed. This is also true of yourself. Even in Veteran, you can take countless hits before dying, something which is very unrealistic, and makes the game have a little bit of an arcadey feel about it. Also, the new addition of button pressing when a German launches himself at you are poor. All my encounters were scripted, and simply involved pressing LT and RT alternately, then pressing Y at a certain interval. Pretty disappointing, and adds absolutely nothing to the game. One part this is nice though is that when you set up an explosive in the later levels, you have to do it yourself by pressing the right buttons that appear on screen. It’s a nice touch, which makes you feel more involved. Just a shame they didin’t do that with the guard attacks.
None of that detracts from the beauty of this game though. In HD, the graphics are some of the best seen on a 360. Every little detail imaginable is pretty much there, and when you like down the aim of your gun, the foreground blurs, as it would with your vision in real life. This looks excellent, as does grass. If you go prone, each blade swings in the wind, and makes it hard for you to shoot through. I donâ€™t look out for it, but this is probably the best grass you will see this year in a game, without a doubt. Water too looks great, with puddles and ditches that you get into for cover. They are just the right shade of brown to be believable, and if something explodes in the water, it again looks just the way it should.
So are there no positive elements of single player and game play? Well you get to play as US, British, Polish and Canadian soldiers, seeing the same area from four different perspectives. You get to play with several different weapons which is nice, since many of them don’t appear in the multiplayer. Apart from that, there are some nice touches, like the new ability to cook grenades, and you can pick up and throw back enemy granades (you canâ€™t cook a smoke grenade though, which is a bit disappointing). When you do some driving missions, you see that it is horrible to control and feels like it should never have been put in the game. It’s also not particuarly long. There are 14 missions, and if you play it on anything but Veteran, you should complete the game pretty quick. Veteran will take you longer, but it is still slightly easier than CoD2 because it seems you can take more hits, rather than the “one and your down” approach that CoD2 took. I doubt you will spend much time with the singleplayer, because the multiplayer is more enjoyable and at least offers you something slightly different from CoD2.
There are five modes in the multiplayer, ranging from â€śBattleâ€ť (read: Deathmatch), to â€śCapture the Flagâ€ť and â€śHeadquartersâ€ť. But perhaps one of the most enjoyable is â€śWarâ€ť. Similar to Battlefield Modern Combat, War sees you attempting to capture strongholdas dotted across the map, and the team that captures all three or five flags (depending on the size of the map) wins. This is brilliant, because everyone works as a team, even if it isnâ€™t ranked. Snipers get to high points, support gunners set themselves up in good spots, others charge for the flag. Itâ€™s great to take part in, and when you play with and against 23 other people, which also allows for Guest support over Live, you realise just what a fantastic job Treyarch have done with the multiplayer. Thereâ€™s no GR:AW excuses here. The game maintains the same graphics as the single player, with the beautiful grass still there, as is the excellent blur effect. Not everyone takes the rocket launcher which is nice, as it just doesnâ€™t work against anything other than itâ€™s intended purpose: vehicles.
There are a range of vehicles in the game, from a motorbike, to a motorbike with a side car, a jeep with a potential gunner on top, and of course the big daddy of them all, the tank. The vehicles add to the game, but also take away from it is as well. They are great tactically and provide you with a massive advantage over the opposition, however they are so dominant, on some maps you canâ€™t move because you immediately get blown up. Sometimes you get people simply riding round on a motorbike and running everyone over, which isnâ€™t fun and makes you wonder why the vehicles were put in. I donâ€™t think they were needed when the maps arenâ€™t huge; it doesnâ€™t take an age to get from one side of the map to the other on foot, for example.
But thatâ€™s not to say the maps are small. With 24 people on offer, they have to be pretty sizeable, and for the most part they are. It never feels cramped, but it also never feels like youâ€™ll be wandering for ages not seeing anyone. Treyarch have done a wonderful job on getting the map sizes just right, and their net code isnâ€™t half bad either. With 24 people, I was prepared to allow for a little bit of lag. Not necessary, because there is no lag whatsoever. My connection is a mere 512kbps, and I see no lag. Itâ€™s excellent, and you have to wonder why other games canâ€™t do this. Itâ€™s nice to know that someone knos how to get a game going properly.
But, just like the single player, Treyarch have learnt very little from CoD2 in terms of matchmaking online. Itâ€™s no secret that people have been getting incredibly frustrated that they cannot join friends, cannot join any player match and most certainly canâ€™t join a ranked match, where the achievements are. Couple that with the fact that there is no lobby system in player matches, and you can see just how annoying this is. When a game ends, the host has about 15 seconds to change the map and a few other options before the game kicks off again. So although it keeps things moving, itâ€™s frustrating because you may not always be ready. There really is no time for a quick toilet break here. No doubt the complaints will flood in, and a patch at a later date will hopefully fix this, just like CoD2. You also canâ€™t throw grenades anywhere near as far, nor can you pick up enemy ones and through them back in multiplayer. Though I did manage to lodge a smoke grenade in a tree, which brought a smile to my face.
If you go straight into the multiplayer after immediately having a game on CoD2, you will feel left out in the cold, as if nobody loves you. The realism has been upâ€™t a notch, so now your guns bobs up and down as you walk with the sight up, making it far harder to get a quick â€śdraw and fireâ€ť shot, because 8 times out of 10 you will miss initially. Thankfully, the trench gun and the sniper rifle have been made realisticy worse too. The trench gun isnâ€™t as accurate any more, and sniper whores now lose their magnification after every shot, meaning they canâ€™t just track you through the scope. However, some guns seem to have had their severity taken down a few notches. The sniper is still one hit kill, but the Kar98 and the Garand all take a few more shots to kill someone with (apart from headshots obviously). This is frustrating when you hit them but they donâ€™t fall, as it is in the single player. Another thing I noticed is that the enemy helmets are really shiny, and you can spot people a mile away. It makes the game that bit easier, as if it is trying to accomadate for people who don’t normally play these types of games. It’s frustrating, because it removes from the sneaking-around-and-not-being-seen idea from it.
Perhaps the worst thing about the multiplayer game is the fact that there are no British, Canadian or Polish levels, and subsequently you only play as American or German. This begins to bore after a while, because you would like to see some variety in the weapons you use. My guess is that extra levels will be added for other countries as DLC, meaning we have to pay for the priveledge of fighting as someone else. Also annoying is the fact that you canâ€™t choose different weapons. A scout will always have a sniper, a medic will always have a trench gun, an anti-armourer will always have a bazooka. Unlike in CoD2, there are no variants on weapons. It would have been nice if a rifleman got a choice of a Garand or an M1 Carbine, for example. Itâ€™s very limiting in that way.
However, the classes do serve some purpose. Each class has a special addition activated with the Right Bumper. For example, riflemen get rifle grenades, and support gunners can give extra ammo to team mates. Scouts have artillery which is excellent, as they hails down rockets from below; you can get nice multi kills with that. During Battle, all these are disabled, as are some vehicles, which is probably for the best.
The question you all want answered is probably: is it better than CoD2? Single player is worse than CoD3, even on Veteran. The multiplayer does have improvements and is more enjoyable, but you do feel let down that you cannot play as anything other than US or German for multiplayer, whereas you can in the single player. The weapons and character models are there, but for whatever reason, Treyarch decided not to include them for mutliplayer. The fact there are no lobbies and the fact that multiplayer seems a tad easier is also irritating. The graphics are second to none (Iâ€™m yet to see Gears) and the blur effect is excellent. However, I think the guns look slightly worse in CoD3, with a more ugly look to them. They also donâ€™t sound as crisp or as nice, and if you play in surround sound and you run, it constantly sounds like someone is behind you, particularly in multiplayer, and I find myself continually looking round to check. The explosions are just as nice, but the single player disappointment overshadows it all. The scripted events are irritating, and detract from the realism some what. The button pressing feature for the close quarter combat is a poor addition and not at all necessary, and just becomes labourous if you die and you have to do it again. But if you are looking solely for a multiplayer experience better than the rest, then look no further than here. 24 player, lag free warfare is something to be admired. The team play element is excellent too. But the lack of choice over weapons, the fact that you cannot join matches easily, and the fact that there are no lobbies all detract from the game.
Sadly I rank this game lower than CoD2. I wanted to love CoD3, I really did. But there are so many things that should have been improved on or ironed out, that I can’t justify giving it at least the same score. The single player is considerably worse, without a doubt. The linear path through each mission makes the game far less challenging; your AI team mates take a lot of damage before going down, as do you. The multiplayer is improved in CoD3, and with the right amount of people who play properly, it is great fun. But it has the same underlying problems as CoD2 with the lobby system, and the lack of other armies is frustrating. You also can’t pick up and throw grenades back which is dissapointing. No lag is nice to see, but overall the game doesn’t offer anything substantially better than CoD2. Yes, the multiplayer is fun, but playing as just Americans and just Germans grates, and the single player is far worse than it ever should have been.
Final Score: 6 out of 10 - Average (how do we rate games?)