Before Modern Warfare hit store shelves and took the world by storm, Activision was in a pretty weird place when it came to their now-marquee franchise, Call of Duty. The ‘Murica simulator was only grasping at and setting its roots when the glorification of one of the worst events in history was rife.
However, at a point where World War II shooters and the saturation of games with similar subject matter were at an all-time high, Call of Duty 3 was the offering, which was the blandest, generic cash grab out of all of them.
While the first game in the series set the precedent for it as a whole and the second expanded further to set a working system in place, the third is what, at the time, killed it all off.
On top of that, being a console exclusive with one of the worst aiming and shooting mechanics didn’t help, as scores and sales tanked in comparison to earlier titles in the franchise.
The Xbox 360 version of the game is where I first experienced this, and research suggests it was the ‘definitive’ way to play CoD 3, but there was nothing definitive about this game.
Call of Duty 3 Review: Development and Gameplay
The production of this game explains a lot as to why the experience was the way it was. Development took less than 8 months, and it shows.
Textures in the game looked stale and a generation old, because they were, and the constant blur made it difficult to see what was going on. All of this worked in tandem against the player, including the narrow field of view and gray color palette.
The design choices in this game were baffling, to say the least. Guns didn’t have any punch and sounded like airsoft retro weapons, the subpar one-liners sounded like they were recorded in a barn somewhere in the Midwest, and the aiming was extremely lackluster, as mentioned before.
Along with that, reused assets and a directionless level design made it so that neither the cramped corridors nor the open battlefields provided any kind of depth or tension, and were just there to service the superiority complex of what Activision thought its audience was.
In addition, the AI in this game was atrocious. Apart from all of them being medal-winning snipers, the enemies would constantly roam out in the open as if Normandy was the first Disneyland, and the general behavior was nothing like CoD would establish in their later years. Impact physics in the game were nothing to write home about either.
Call of Duty 3 Review: Plot and Setting
As we can clearly gather, Call of Duty 3 is set at the heart of the War, with your group of badasses being put in the middle of France for a few hours of absolute carnage and mayhem, making it a half-decent arcade shooter but completely missing the mark when it came to the setting it was portraying.
The lack of respect for history in favor of tension and drama is often seen in the world of fiction, but when this tension is missing and all you get is a set chock full of melodramatic heroism and one-liners, there isn’t much to look at or critique.
The campaign is divided into four perspectives for a total of 14 missions, which see you go from an American viewpoint to a British one, a Canadian one, and finally to a Polish one, set around the Allied movements in 1944.
While this overdone topic could’ve been innovated in multiple ways, Call of Duty 3 decides to go the most boring and uninspired route that there possibly could’ve been.
Each of the characters that we control feels like the same formula copied and pasted over and over and over again, with actual visual flair and storytelling taking the backseat in favor of an overly glorified, balls-to-the-wall shooter.
All characters surrounding the main character who we control aren’t much too different either, with each trying to one-up another on who is the better stereotypical representation that is reserved for their ethnicity, nationality, or peculiarity of language and behavior.
Call of Duty 3 Review: Multiplayer
Along with the campaign, there is obviously a pasted-on-a-last-minute rehash of the Call of Duty 2 multiplayer modes.
Players fight in a 24-man team deathmatch romp that fails to provide any general entertainment thanks to the horrible design choices.
Call of Duty 3 was a lesson in game development and the sheer amount of effort that makes a good game, along with all the facets that hinder the said game from achieving whatever potential it might have had. After the failures of United Offensive and Big Red One, one would presume that Activision wanted to go into a different path and give Treyarch some more time to iron out all of the issues plaguing those games, but sadly it was not to be and we got what we got.
Although it is difficult to gauge the actual direction in which this boring brown and gray shooter was going, it is fair to say that some executive out there deserves a big raise because of what we got next; Modern Warfare. But that is another story for another day.
Final rating: 62%
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