Not Good, Not Bad
Have you ever been in a drought? Or perhaps not a drought, maybe you've experienced a flood. If so, then you know what it's like to see another World War 2 game appear on the shelves at GameStop or EB Games (which are one in the same). The genre itself, World War 2 Game, can be broken down into two types the FPS and then the RTS World War 2 Game. In both areas games struggle to be the crème of the crop or at least stand out from the rest. The FPS that stood out for me, and most, was the CoD series. Then of course our RTS father, or at least the mother of World War 2 RTS games is Company of Heroes. Both of these games have a fine tuned game play mechanic that no one else has been able to replicate. When I say no one, I mean even studios that have worked on the Call of Duty series such as Treyarch and Spark haven't been able to touch Infinity Ward's quality, although the former did it the best.
Call of Duty 3 is another, run of the mill, World War 2 game. We know how it ends, America and its allies triumph over the Axis of evil which includes Germany, Italy, and Japan, all the others were really just little nuances in the overall picture. Let's mention the things I like about Call of Duty 3 on the Xbox 360. It's more of the same; it's more of that tried and true formula from Call of Duty 2. Now I replayed the single-player in Call of Duty 2 I'd say three to four times and the single-player for around 60-Hours; it, to me, is the pinnacle of World War 2 games. Now I am a bit late of playing Call of Duty 3 and submitting a review. Here's what I liked about the game:
The graphics are well, they are pretty. Although some areas could be improved; a la texture mapping maybe or scaling to widescreen. A lot of times I felt like the textures were stretched to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio or characters at times looked more so fat, or for lack of a better metaphor, as if they took a duce in their pants and never bothered to go empty it into the closest lavatory. The use of HDR and bloom is a nice touch, although, albeit a bit overdone in some areas. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this game comes from when the action gets going and when the graphical fidelity ramps up. With grenades going off and some motion blur kicking in, it reinforces the idea that this is war, and it is hell. The guns are well modeled, although sometimes lacking detail (a la MP44) and then the grass in the game. Let's not forget the grass. This is actually a huge improvement over the engine that I would go prone just to be sneaking in the grass. I mean, who doesn't want to frolic through the grass?
In order to move on beyond mechanics and graphics or anything that is purely artificial in my mind (it's a video game, what isn't?), here is what I think about sound also. The sound is very well done, some gun sound seem to have changed from what I remember. This isn't bad though, for some weapons it makes them sound much better and then the other raises the question, "Why did you bring a teddy bear with you to war?" Some added features would be them pausing the game for you to plant explosives, turn a lever, or fight in hand to hand combat with those nasty Krauts. While this does break up the monotony of the linear experience it feels a bit out of place; more so the pausing to setup explosives and pull a lever than fighting Krauts.
The story itself revolves around, and too my liking, more than just the Americans, Brits, and Russians. Although the Russians have been exempt this time around let's hope they make an appearance in Call of Duty 5 (they already showed in Call of Duty 4, those bastards.) So you follow storylines which follow Americans, Brits, Pols, French, and Canadians. It's nice to see three countries involved in the war, although I could have sworn the Pols and French had decided to surrender when they saw Hitler's mustache. Half way through the game you may realize something; it's following the same campaign Company of Heroes followed. The Falsaise Pass and the cornering of Germans in Chamboise. This is very nice to see and part of me wishes that Relic and Treyarch had cooperated on both games and made the stories interlock with each other. So as usual you're running around destroying flak cannons, driving tanks (which are still some of my favorite missions, and to be honest, are better in Call of Duty 3 than 2 or the original.) So Treyarch did a good job. Although they took some liberties with the series in adding a few quirks that at times don't feel right, the multi-player isn't worth discussing as it leaves a lot to be desired when compared to 2's or 4's multi-player experience. When you're done playing this game you'll feel a since of release and no need to replay it. That lost point is sad. Also, at times, I felt like the stories or internal conflicts between say the Pols and Canadians and Brits and French were cliché or just not done in a general tasteful or well put together fashion.
To sum this up. Call of Duty 3 isn't a buy. But if you have a friend, who owns the game, then borrow it from them. Have some fun, the campaign I would venture to guess last between seven and ten hours which are decent. So if you have an itch, like me, sometimes for a World War 2 game then check this out.