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March 25, 2007
Call of Duty 3 - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Using the sniper sight...
So here we are. Call of Duty 3 is our very first Playstation 3 review, and what a title it is. Now before you read our final scores and assume 'oh this is the only game has played - they're marking it overly high out of sheer excitement' keep this in mind - we've already played 15 PS3 titles before writing this review. So we are quite qualified to judge this game not only as a title in its own right, but also against other PS3 games. Can Activision's long-running World War II First Person Shooter franchise still hit the mark, or is it starting to lose it's way? Well we're quite pleased to report that despite a change in developers this is another wonderful title in the series.

The storyline in Call of Duty 3 focuses on the battle for Chambois in France. In the battle you'll play the role of Polish, Canadian, American, and British troops fighting the German army. Interestingly the game sees you switching between the four different nationalities during the one major battle to reach the one ultimate goal - to cut of the German Panzer division and elite forces.

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Has a war game ever looked so good?
Developed by Treyarch (as opposed to Infinity Ward who handled the first two titles) the developer isn't totally new to the series having worked on the very impressive Call of Duty: Big Red One on the PS2. As with most World War II based titles authenticity is the key. Not only have the developers spent considerable time ensuring that the weapons and vehicles have been authentically recreated, but also the look of the locations throughout the game. By pressing the L1 button during battles you can aim down your sight for more accuracy, and you can even switch between standing, crouching and prone positions with the press of the circle button. As you may have noticed you can also use several different vehicles in the game including tanks and jeeps to name a few.

Throughout the game you can take cover behind a variety objects but much like real life their level of protection will vary according to the material they are created from. Steel pipes, brick walls and large tree trunks will offer solid cover while wooden crates and exploding barrels probably won't extend your life too much. Speaking of staying alive the game also uses an auto-regeneration method of healing. If you get hit too many times the screen will turn a red colour, you'll need to find some shelter pretty quickly as another bullet or two and it will be game over.

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Flame effects are quite stunning.
One of the new features added to the PS3 version of this game is support for the Sixaxis' tilt mechanism. During certain sections of the game you will have to move the controller to perform actions. It may be to steer a vehicle through a level, wrestle an enemy soldier, insert the fuse into a bomb, or row a boat across a river. At times we felt it was a little inaccurate, and it didn't really add to much to the overall experience however it was nice to see it being used moderately effectively in a game so early in the consoles life.

When you've finished with the lengthy (and we're talking 10+ hour) single player campaign or, I guess, when you want to change the pace up a bit, you can head on over to the multiplayer mode. With support for up to 24-players online this is one title that really pushes the system - and does so with a minimum of fuss. We've played numerous matches with up to 20 people at a time and there was minimal lag. Online game modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag.

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It's dirty, it's gritty, it's war.
When you enter an online game you can select the class of military personnel you want to use. Choices include Rifleman, Heavy Assault, Light Assault, Medic, Scout, Support and Support Anti-Armour. While most people stick with the standard foot soldier there is some fun to be had as the lesser used classes such as Support and Medic. The multiplayer games also allow more then one person to hop into a vehicle at a time. These vehicles include tanks, jeeps and motorcycles with sidecars. While one drives the other can man the guns to take out the enemies.

The one disappointment with multi-player is the complete lack of option for split-screen gaming either offline or online. Surely Sony's new uber system could handle either 2 or 4-player split screen offline gameplay, or even that split screen mode being played online with other gamers.

There are some small problems with Call of Duty 3 which hold it back from true greatness. On occasion the CPU controlled friendly solders will get in your way and not move to allow you past. On more then one occasion I was backing away from an enemy only to hit an obstacle before dying - that obstacle was a teammate. This shouldn't happen. Friendly AI should have also been improved to eliminate, or at least reduce, the frequency of friendlies walking right in front of your weapon as you're shooting at an enemy. Finally there were two occasions playing through the single player campaign when the character seemed to get stuck in the game world and I had to revert back to the previous checkpoint.

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The graphics are sensational.
Switching to online gameplay I can't understate how much I was missing online voice chat to teammates during play. With the Playstation 2 pulling this off in SOCOM back in 2003 I can't understand why this wouldn't be possible in this game especially since it was enabled in the XBox 360 version - even if the additional data forced the maximum players back to 12 or 16 units that's something I could live with.

Graphics in Call of Duty 3 are impressive. Yes, there are a couple of other games which look a little better overall, but this is certainly a next-gen game. Running at 720p the visuals are very impressive indeed. The battlefields are littered with smoke, haze, explosions and debris while there's often dozens of soldiers, both friend and foe, running around the battlefield. There are though occasional glitches to be found in the game. On numerous occasions there was clipping issues with parts of enemies such as weapons or arms visible through walls thus giving away their position and the frame rate does drop occasionally when in multi-player but overall this is a solid title visually.

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Taking cover behind the tank while firing.
One of the biggest changes we've noticed with the PS3 is the improvement in audio. The Call of Duty franchise has always been strong in this already, but the addition of Dolby Digital 5.1 sound just brings that something very special. You'll hear gunfire all around, soldiers talking from different directions, and with the sub-woofer, some of the meatiest and downright heart pounding explosions ever heard in a game. I just can't emphasise enough just how much better the sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1 as opposed to the old Stereo and Dolby Pro Logic II in the previous generation. The orchestral music has been composed by Joel "son of Jerry" Goldsmith who has worked on "Stargate: Atlantis" and "Stargate: SG-1" (upon which he was nominated for three Emmy awards), "Kull the Conqueror", "Shadow of a Doubt", "Helen of Troy" and "Witchblade".

If you love World War II based FPS's this game is a no brainer - it's an essential purchase. There really isn't a single major disappointment in the game with every aspect managing to impress. If you're after something decent to play online, then this game will also keep you happy for quite some time. Indeed while there are one or two titles that seem to be capturing all the limelight at this launch Call of Duty 3 is a game which also deserves to be added to your collection. Great fun.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSOne of the most intense battlefields ever created in a videogame.
SOUNDFantastic speech, however it's the battlefield gunshots and explosions that set the atmosphere brilliantly - as does the surround sound.
GAMEPLAYA great FPS that keeps the series at the top of the pile. The tilt controls are a bit gimmicky, but this game is fun from start to end.
VALUESingle player campaign is long enough, but it's the multi-player that will keep you playing.
OVERALLCall of Duty 3 isn't a game to make you go out and buy a PS3, but if you do have one it's certainly a game to add to your collection - especially if you play online. A very, very solid title.

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