World War II seems to have been a brilliant event for gamers and publishers, despite being very bad for the rest of the world, as so many games nowadays are being made about it, the latest of these is Call of Duty 3 which is being released on all three next generation consoles, although Wii gamers may feel a bit short changed in that they are getting a cut down version of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions in exchange for their hard earned cash. Many have been feeling pessimistic about what really is the first proper first-person-shooter for Nintendo’s new console, as it has not been built around the new controller, but instead the control scheme has been forced into what it an existing port which ultimately could lead to a lot of control issues rendering the game unplayable, but is this the case for Call of Duty 3, or has Treyarch made something comparable to the game’s Xbox 360 counterpart?
The game jumps between the three main forces of British, American and Polish as they all centre in on Paris in the middle of the Second World War. You are essentially taking part in what already happened about 60 years ago when the Allied forces tried to regain control of France from the Nazi regime, you do this by completing 14 different chapters each with their own separate plot lines that serve little purpose other than to keep the game moving and justify the missions goals. Luckily you won’t be constantly interrupted with cutscenes and dialogue in the game, but rather you’ll just be left do your thing. But as is the case with most World War games, the story is really quite irrelevant as the majority of people playing the game will already know enough about the whole conflict and in the end it is the gameplay that really matters.
If you are looking for a game to show off the Wii’s graphical capabilities with, then this may well be one of the best options from the whole launch line up. While it may be unimpressive to those used to Hi-Def 360 visuals. The environments are something special with destructible scenery and a whole variety of different bombshells, shrapnel and all degrees of rubble lying around helping you feel as though you really are in a battlefield in 1940’s France. The animations add a few nice touches as well, whether it is the clouds of smoke and dirt from an explosion, or the flash of a gun going off that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won’t be disappointed with the audible side of the game either, with constant noises varying from a bullet flying just past your head to a grenade exploding after you’ve launched it into the Nazi base. As with the other Call of Duty games the music score is exceptional, and at times it is on par with several blockbuster movie scores. The voice overs are also surprisingly good considering many other games hire very unprofessional voice actors and end up with near ridiculous voice overs. As the Wii doesn’t support digital audio you won’t be able to listen to the game through full Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound speakers, but this isn’t by any fault of the developers or the publishers, but does take away from the atmosphere of the game slightly.
The game introduces you to the new control scheme via a tutorial level, which is still one of missions but you are given a lot of guidance in how to play the game. It isn’t complicated at all, you use the analog stick on the nunchuk attachment to move around, much the same as the left analog stick on a normal controller, and to aim and move your view around you just use the WiiMote. The WiiMote essentially acts as your gun in the game, as to fire all you need to do is pull the trigger button, the buttons on the nunchuk are also used for various movements like ducking or jumping. You can either throw a grenade with the press of a button, or for the more adventurous you can make an overarm throwing motion with the nunchuk to lob an explosive at your enemies. Reloading and changing weapons can also be controlled by a quick movement left and right or up and down with the nunchuk. Even though all of these are going to become what is the norm for all Wii FPS there are a couple of nice little additions, like being able to wrestle weapons off your opponents be putting the WiiMote and nunchuk forward together and then yanking them both back at the same time.
The controls may take a little getting used to, but this is the case with all Wii games due to its new controller, it was the same with a lot of the early DS games. But after a few hours of play it will become second nature to even the most experienced FPS gamers. The “bounding box” mechanism, which is similar to that used in Red Steel, is more accurate than dual analog sticks, but not quite as precise as a mouse and keyboard. Once you zoom in the aiming becomes even more accurate and you don’t need to worry about moving around. All the motions are picked up well by the sensor bar, so you won’t need to worry about dying because for some reason you weren’t able to throw a grenade in time.
The main downfall of this game is the lack of any form of multiplayer mode, something that makes the game very enjoyable on the Xbox 360, especially combined with Live. It seems unusual that such a key feature from the previous installments has been left out of the Wii version. It does also mean that you will not be playing the game for as long as you will imagine, most gamers won’t have much left to do after about ten hours of gameplay, and without any multiplayer support you’ll probably have forgotten about Call of Duty 3 within a month.
Call of Duty 3 is an excellent example of Nintendo’s insistence of gameplay over graphics, it is more engaging that it’s bigger PS3 and 360 brothers even if both visually and audibly it isn’t as good as them. With multiplayer the game would have got a far higher score as you can imagine the fun you would have had with three other friends all trying to kill each other. There is very little originality about the game aside from the control scheme, but then again the new controls are reason enough to play this.
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