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Call of Duty 3
Score: 97%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1; 1 - 16 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Action

Graphics & Sound:
Call of Duty 3 came in and I had every intention of passing it to Starscream for review, as he is a huge COD fan. After all, I had played Call of Duty: The Big Red One on the PS2 and absolutely hated it! Everything was so dark and I just didnít think it was the least bit entertaining. But I figured, hey, let me see what this looks like on the PS3. I was blown away and hooked from the start. Needless to say, itís a good thing Starscream had the 360 version to review, because I kept the PS3 one for myself.

Everything looks crisp and clear in this game. Characters are beautifully rendered and very detailed; they have personalities and their own story lines. Some are in conflict throughout the game, and it is cool to see how things unfold. It makes you care more about the team you are working with.

Landscapes are appropriately war-torn, yet still have fantastic details all around. The game takes place in France and youíll work your way through French countrysides, quaint towns and bombed-out cities. Background music is stirring and perfectly matches whatever situation you are in. Voice-work is excellent and clearly spoken. Nothing seems remotely phoned in and again, this makes you care more about the characters.


Gameplay:
Youíll begin the game and the tutorial as an American named Nichols, but throughout the game, you will switch between the Americans, the British and the Polish, sometimes working with the French Resistance as well. Missions can be anything from planting bombs to destroy key weapons to rescuing one of your own or just clearing out a rough patch of Nazis. You might be piloting a tank or travelling on foot. Missions are nicely varied, however, and lots of fun. I never felt the least bit bored or even frustrated when I died and had to restart a mission.

Since Call of Duty 3 is a first person shooter, of course you have a wonderful array of weapons at your disposal. The weapons you have access to will differ depending on what team you are with for that mission and you can only carry two at a time, adding to the realism. Sometimes youíll have a fantastic Scoped Springfield sniper rifle and the other times a machine gun. You can grab up whatever the Germans drop as well, but youíll have to lose your existing selected weapon.

Probably one of the most exiting runs for me was when I ran out of ammo and had to run around, disarming bombs and cracking Germans in the head with my gun, melee style. There was no ammo to be found! Thatís playing hard-core, let me tell ya!

You can also choose to play online games of the Deathmatch and Capture the Flag variety, but I found that whenever I was in an online game, I couldnít find many other folks running around the field. You can create your own game or join a Quickplay match. You can also select the type of character you will be Ė be it light or heavy assault, sniper or medic, etc.


Difficulty:
There are four levels of Difficulty to select from: Easy, Normal, Hard and Veteran. Easy is just as it says - Easy. They cut you slack and let you learn. I selected Normal and found the difficulty to be just perfect. This game was no walk in the park, but the challenge level was not frustrating Ė well, not in most parts, anyway. Enemy A.I. is excellent and will hide and also come after you, adding to the realism factor. Hard steps up the pace and you will die more quickly. Feeling sadomasochistic? Try Veteran. It is brutal! They will kill you, over and over. This level of difficulty is not just for experienced, hard-core FPS players, but for total bad asses.

If you opt to play multiplayer, the challenge will depend on who is playing with you, but that goes without saying.


Game Mechanics:
I really liked the cool ways that the SIXAXIS controller was integrated into Call of Duty 3. You would tilt it back and turn it sideways - steering wheel style - to pilot the tank, which was very difficult but still lots of fun. Then, youíd use it to melee fight, popping a German upside the head with your gun. Sometimes, youíd have to arm a bomb and that would consist of twitch hitting certain face buttons, then turning the controller like you were turning a crank. Other times, you were required to wrestle a German who surprise attacks you by physically shaking the controller back and forth to get him off of you. The worst use of the SIXAXIS, though, was in rowing a boat across a river. I hated this mechanic and made Geck0 do it for me so I wouldnít have to get frustrated. I do have to admit that it was a neat use though.

You have the ability to use both frag and smoke grenades and you can use the R trigger button to cook the grenade for maximum damage. If the enemy lobs a grenade at you, you can now pick it up and launch it back at them. On the downside, they can do the same back to you. When a grenade goes off near you but doesnít kill you, your world shakes and you experience a ringing in your ears. In addition, as you take damage, your screen gets more and more red, obscuring your view. There are no health meters, however. If you get too injured, you just back off and find a place to hide until you recover. Maybe this isnít so realistic, but I find it a better way to handle things rather than having to hunt for health packs.

Load times werenít too bad and the camera worked really well, with you having the ability to move it around as needed when the auto-camera wasnít exactly as you wanted.

Overall, Call of Duty 3 is just a primo game for the PS3, the best I have played on the system so far. Yes, even better than Resistance, in my opinion. It has the perfect amount of realism, intense gameplay and a great storyline wrapped around the oft overdone WWII scenario. Go out and buy this, even if its the only PS3 game you own.


-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins