Jeremy Jastrzab
04 Apr, 2007

Call of Duty 3 Review

PS3 Review | A late call is better than no call.
Ever since the original release of Call of Duty for the PC in 2003, the franchise has gone on to grow and flourish. To take advantage of this flourishing status, Call of Duty 3 was released with on all consoles, though one version was missing back in 2006. Since the PS3 has only just been released in PAL territories, the respective version has only just hit the store shelves. Just as the other versions of Call of Duty 3, the game has been first developed for consoles, rather than being adapted or ported from the PC, and the development baton was passed from Infinity Ward to Treyarch.

The significance of this was that with Infinity Ward, the first two Call of Duty games for the PC had an immensely high standard, that was simply not matched by the subsequent console releases. As has been reported in many previous reviews of the game, including our own Xbox 360 and Wii reviews, Call of Duty 3 was a good effort but not quite up to the series own lofty standards. As for the PS3 version, even though it plays second fiddle to the Xbox 360 version, it by no means lags too far behind.

As is the case with all versions of Call of Duty 3, the game takes place across 14 missions and the 88 days leading up to the liberation of Paris. Through out this time span, you’ll be jumping between the American, British, Canadian and Polish armies. In something of a clear indication that the PAL version has had little translation in comparison to last year’s version, the option to skip the rather generic cut-scenes that stick this all together has still been left out. It is almost as if the games were sitting in warehouses, just waiting to be released. As you’d expect, the story is nothing major but it helps to the game going.

That's the way if you want to run and gun.

That's the way if you want to run and gun.
The most substantial addition to the PS3 version of Call of Duty 3 has been changing the mini-game additions from a traditional button inputs, into controls that are centered around the sixaxis motion control. For example, you can execute a melee attack by thrusting one hand holding the controller forward, by holding the controller up, it can simulate a steering wheel or a rowing paddle when held on its side. Other additions include turning the controller when inserting the pin for explosive charges and to fight off enemy soldiers that get up too close.

For the most part, these additions worked and responded just as they should, unlike the Wii controls that were reported to be unresponsive at times (though we found no issues). However, controls like the steering took a fair bit of time to get used to, as the game and environment was obviously designed around being controlled by an analog stick. Then there was the melee attack, which had the R3 button as an alternative. These made the sixaxis controls feel tacked on. However, their responsiveness and functionality show that such additions do have the potential for some future applications.

The PS3 controller seems to have had the analog sticks much more finely tuned, which has made it much more suitable for accommodating first person shooters. However, we still find it a tad bizarre that for the second time now (the first being Resistance), developers have stuck the main firing button on the R1 button. Instead grenades are thrown using both the R2 and L2 triggers. Despite this, the controls hold up very well and make the game almost as enjoyable as it was on the Xbox 360.

Through out the single player campaign, you will go through a variety of different missions and scenarios. The series has always followed the template of having you go from one highlighted point on the compass to the next but it has done so reasonably well. Through out the game, you’ll be taking on the Germans in bold offensive moves through abandoned war torn cities, forests, castles and other significant grounds, both on foot and in vehicles including jeeps and tanks.

You'll be raiding plenty of old shacks.

You'll be raiding plenty of old shacks.
Being the same game, the same issues that we had with the Xbox 360 version carry over onto the PS3 version. Given that they were released at the same time in the US, this should hardly be a revelation. The single player campaign really doesn’t kick into full gear until the last third of the game, when the game really feels like Call of Duty ought to feel. That’s not to say that the first two-thirds are that bad, it’s just in comparison to the rest of the series, it feels linear and like something that may have been churned off a production line.

In terms of a next generation game, the main aspect of Call of Duty 3 that doesn’t deliver is the AI. It is rather disappointing to see the slow and often unrealistic reaction times of the enemies at close range in particular but they happen to be quite robust at long distances. Funny that. Furthermore, your squad becomes a nuisance, as they struggle with killing enemies and often block doorways or narrow paths. Possibly the most frustrating part is when you can’t complete an objective because one enemy is left and its up to you to rat them out and defeat them or worse still, your squad members can’t move close enough to the objective marker.

Some of the reviews out of the US suggested that the Call of Duty 3 servers were on the borderline of being empty. Given that the multiplayer was one of the best aspects of the game, we were very worried about this. However, our concerns appeared unfounded as the PS3 servers at the PAL launch were adequately filled with players partaking in some of the finest multiplayer action currently available for the PS3. While it may lack some of the more intimate options that are available on Xbox Live, shooter novices will appreciate the fact that the general standard is not as high as it is on Live or on PCs. A more casual player is likely to appreciate not being mowed down at every corner. Not only that, we were surprised at how seamless the process was of getting into a game and actually playing. It’s actually a rather good showcase for the PSN.

As we’ve mentioned, the PS3 version is an obvious second fiddle to the Xbox 360 version. This is primarily apparent in the visuals. The maximum output that Call of Duty 3 can do is 720p, as opposed to the 1080i on the Xbox 360. Unless you’ve played on the maximum output, the difference won’t be that noticeable though. Otherwise, Call of Duty 3 is a good looking game with grand structure, scope and well designed character and vehicle models. There can be quite a lot happening on screen at once and the game contains more than respectable graphical effects. The sense of style means that the game can distinguish itself from any other WWII shooter but we would have expected the game to look at least as good as the 360 version. The lesser output and slight graphical glitches don’t help and it is obvious that the game is missing an extra coat of polish.

Battling though war-torn streets, this is what it's all about.

Battling though war-torn streets, this is what it's all about.
The series has maintained a very high quality of sound output and Call of Duty 3 is no different. Through out the game, the atmosphere and tone are all wonderfully conveyed by the quality and the amount of sounds that are coming through at once. It is particularly immersive as you try to get a grasp with regards to everything that is happening at once. There needs to be one word said on the voicing though. The Polish accents are rather poor, especially in comparison to the rest of the voicing in the game (this is coming from someone of Polish descent). Aside from that, the game succeeds in sounding great.

While it is true that Call of Duty 3 on the PS3 isn’t as polished as the 360 version and that anyone who wanted a Call of Duty fix got it last year, there is no denying that overall, it is a quality release at the PS3 launch. The campaign may not truly evoke Call of Duty status until the later third of the game but it is still a quality FPS and we were surprised and relieved at the seamless multiplayer. The sixaxis controls did feel tacked on but were responsive and showed potential for future implementations. If you’ve had your Resistance fix and are still itching for some FPS action, and don’t own any other version, Call of Duty 3 for the PS3 is worth looking into.
The Score
Despite the lateness, Call of Duty 3 is a intense and enjoyable shooter for the PS3 but only worth it if you haven't already played another version.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Call of Duty 3 Content

New Call of Duty 3 screens & info
03 Aug, 2006 Exclusive screens for Australian media and confirmation as Wii launch title.
Call of Duty 3 shots spring to attention
12 Jul, 2006 First screens for all three next-gen machines. Plus: first videos inside.
Call of Duty 3 Bravo Map Pack Released
01 Jun, 2007 A huge update.
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