Last year when the Xbox 360 first launched here in North America, we saw the release of one of the most impressive WWII shooters of all time. This is a tough feat to accomplish, as WWII is also by far the most celebrated war to be turned into a video game as well. Call of Duty 2 really managed to bring in just an amazing single player campaign that looked great and played even better. Now a year later we are checking out Call of Duty 3 the sequel to last year’s smash hit. The big question is can Treyarch manage to continue its success and make the third game the charm? Read our full review to find out!
So what was so good about Call of Duty 2? Well first and foremost, it was a game that really managed to take advantage of the Xbox 360 hardware, probably more so than any other game out of the launch lineup. Call of Duty 2 took a great looking game and just made one of the deepest shooters out there, and thus got my game of the year pick for the 360. Now a year later some wonder if you could possibly make a worthy successor. So how are the final results?
So being that Call of Duty 3 does take place in WWII there is of course some back-story to the whole adventure. Basically you are at the point in WWII where the Nazi’s have control of Paris and it is the allies’ goal to push the Germans out, and to do this you will take roles of different soldiers from different countries. There is really nothing new with the story nor in the way it is told. The story does help move the game a long a bit but doesn’t really offer anything new or interesting to the series, which was kind of disappointing.
Some may have notice that the developers of Call of Duty 3 were not the same for what we saw in Call of Duty 2. With Infinity Ward off doing other things, the baton was handed to Treyarch who worked on last year’s Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, a game that tried to expand the franchise in some interesting ways but didn’t really didn’t manage to bring it all together. Well with Call of Duty 3 you can expect really a very familiar game to last year’s game, with the controls really being untouched and much of the mechanics being the same. With that being said, there are some new elements that the game throws in for a more updated feel.
First off, you have the ability to take control of a few combat vehicles in the game, which does help to give some variety to the experience. Also there is some new hand to hand combat mechanics that if a enemy sneaks up you have this little mini sequence of sort where you have to press the right buttons to take out your enemy in hand to hand combat. This idea is good, but one that is only fun the first two or three times. After that you just kind of realize how simple it really is.
The single player campaign is actually even more intense this year then it was in the previous two games. You will get this sense of pandemonium right out of the gate in the first level, which is one of the most intense FPS experiences I have ever had. You charging the Nazi’s and you have bombs, shrapnel, and bullets flying all over the place, and it is just a matter of duck and cover to try to make it out alive. The developers did a great job in the pacing of this game, allowing you to really take in some amazing battles and also have some extremely challenging situations. The single player campaign is deep, it’s still extremely fun to play, and it is actually even better rounded then last year’s single player campaign.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have the multiplayer, which is another big reason of last year’s game success. This is really where the game surpasses last year’s experience, though adding two huge factors that really add to this games success. First off, instead of eight players like last year, you now have up to 24 players online, which is a much more intense battlefield. Also this year for the first time in a Call of Duty game you have vehicles online and are able to use those in the games different modes. Both of these combined with a great list of modes to choose from. The online play runs smooth and is just another reason why Call of Duty 3 is still a great game.
Some may say that not enough has changed in this year’s game to make it a great predecessor. To me however, I saw a lot of small improvements that made once again another great game. Whether you’re playing online or offline, the gameplay holds true to the Call of Duty formula and still manages to make a new and exciting game that I think many fans will love - until the next Call of Duty game.
Visually you can see a lot of similarities from this game to last year’s game, although the environments in this year’s game are from different locations and thus have a different feel. The visuals still hold up great in this game, with great particle effects and just an overall feel of war that has not been recreated to such a realistic degree by any other game. The game even during some of the extremely high traffic areas keeps at a great pace and just looks fantastic. Whether you’re looking at the character models or just the fine detail of this game, Call of Duty 3 is still a fantastic looking game.
I have heard it said on several occasions that people are becoming tired of the WWII shooters and it is time to move on. In fact, I myself have said that we should start seeing games on other wars or time period. However with that being said, Call of Duty 3 is a game that makes WWII still an extremely engaging war to fight in, and really manages to do enough with this game to make for another great experience. The game plays well both online and offline, and if you like WWII shooters you are just going to thoroughly enjoy this game.
In the end, Call of Duty 3 just like last year’s game manages to impress from start to finish. With a very solid single player campaign and multiplayer that manages to keep things engaging and much deeper than before, any fan of the series or FPS in general are going to just love this game. If you own a 360, then you really owe it to yourself to go out and check out this game.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.