Genre: WWII FPS
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Call of Duty – your chance to stick it to the Nazis without the actual fear of death – is back in its third iteration in Call of Duty 3. On the Wii, the in-depth fighting and immersive scenarios created by Call of Duty are only complemented by the use of the Wiimote.
While the previous Call of Duty games jumped around to different battles, Call of Duty 3 focuses on the Normandy Breakout campaign. You get to fight this battle spread across the point of view of Americans, Brits, and Russians. It really gives you a sense of what is going on in the big picture when something that the Russians do affects what occurs to the Americans, and so on. The variety of fighting is also greater than before; you'll find yourself sniping, driving tanks, and rushing in with guns a-blazin'.
The controls are actually much more intuitive than one might think. You use the nunchuk's thumbstick to move your character around, much like the WASD keys on a keyboard. Then, just like a mouse would do for computer games, the remote is used to look around and turn. The whole thing really feels like the closest experience a console game has gotten to mouse-and-keyboard control for first-person-shooters. There is a slight learning curve because you are actually aiming your gun, unlike moving thumbsticks or a mouse, but in the end, it is more intuitive and makes the game more immersive.
Aiming and shooting isn't the only thing for which the motion sensitivity is used, though. You can flick the nunchuk to the left or right to switch weapons, and you can move it up to reload. Also, if you move the remote forward, you perform a melee attack. All of these actions can also be done with buttons, but you'll find that it's much easier to just go through the motions. There are also many tasks in the game that require you to use the Wiimote in interesting ways, such as planting explosive charges, engaging in hand-to-hand combat, driving, and other small tasks.
Sometimes when you run into a building, there's no telling what's going to be there. Heck, there may even be a Nazi waiting to stab you in the back. When he attacks you, you frantically thrust the nunchuk and remote forward in an attempt to push him off of you. Then you move the controllers diagonally and punch him with his own gun. It is definitely an interesting change from the button-mashing one might be performing in Call of Duty 3 on other consoles, but sometimes, you feel like you're doing more work than you need to be, but nothing is happening. While the aiming mechanism is top-notch, this is where some of the motion controls certainly feel tacked-on.
However, the driving in Call of Duty 3 does make more sense. You have to hold the nunchuk and remote as if your holding onto a steering wheel. It's weird at first because, well, you're not actually grasping a steering wheel and are just holding two controllers in the air, but it begins to make sense once you start driving. The B trigger on the right is the gas, and the Z trigger on the left is the brake (hey, it's like in real life!). While the steering wheel is extremely sensitive, it really places you in the game, as opposed to using thumbsticks to drive. Unfortunately, driving is one of the few motion-sensitive battle actions that feels natural.
Not only will you find yourself taking control of a jeep, but you will also man a tank a few times in-game. In this, you move the tank with the thumbstick, and aim the turret with the remote. Sadly, like the struggle, this feels very unnatural and is difficult to control. Hopefully, in the next Call of Duty for the Wii, the developers will think about additional ways of tailoring it to the Wiimote, instead of some of the tacked-on tasks we have here.
In addition to some motion-sensitive complaints, there are a few other nitpicky annoyances. For one, the AI in this title is very hit-and-miss. For the most part, your teammates do a good job of holding their own; in some battles, you can even freeride and shoot next to nothing. However, there were times when I caught my comrades shooting at a wall in an attempt to kill whatever was on the other side. The wall is not our enemy, buddy! He is protecting us!
Also, I found it incredibly annoying that you had to watch the intro movie of your current level every time you loaded your game. In an era when most people play in short spurts, you want to immediately start playing when you boot up the game. I could've killed so many Nazis in the time that movie was playing.
However, I can't gripe about those movies too much because they're one of many things that make Call of Duty 3 so immersive. In addition to the music, scenery, and constant action going on around you, many times, I felt like I was in a scene from Saving Private Ryan. The developers did a great job of supplying the player with enough scenery to envelop you in that moment. There are even some destructible environments featured in the levels; an enemy may be hiding behind a crate, but you can just as easily blast that crate and reveal his cover. You can't feel safe anywhere, as a seemingly protective wall could be brought down at any moment by a passing tank. All of these elements make this WWII shooter seem even more real than the last iteration.
Sadly, Call of Duty 3 takes a hit, as it definitely doesn't look as good as its Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts. That doesn't take away from the fact that the levels look just like a WWII scene; you just have to go into the experience expecting to see Xbox-level graphics.
The sound is also important in placing you in the timeframe of WWII. In calm scenes, you can hear scratchy old-time music that lets you feel like you're there, and then the cinematic aspect kicks in, and you're in the midst of battle, with epic music playing. The voice-acting is also great, and the dialogue in the cut scenes flows very smoothly. When all of the elements come together, you really feel like you're playing a movie.
Okay, so I've established that Call of Duty 3 has a great single-player experience. There are a few faulty motion-sensitive tasks, but using the Wii remote is probably one of the most precise FPS controls you will find on a console. All praise aside, there is one massive complaint of Godzilla-sized proportions: no multiplayer. There isn't any online play, and there isn't even any split-screen multiplayer. After mastering the controls in single-player, you want to try out your Nazi-killing skills against your friends, but Wii owners are robbed of that experience. This is something they will definitely need to fix in the next sequel.
Since there is no multiplayer to speak of, the replay value of the title plummets drastically. You have the option of a stage selection each time you beat a level, but replaying stages can only hold your interest for so long. Omitting multiplayer is a shot in the foot for any Call of Duty game, and you'll probably just want to move on after completing the campaign.
Call of Duty 3 on the Wii obviously had to take the route of gameplay over graphics, and it succeeded with first-person shooter controls unlike any other console game. However, the exclusion of multiplayer was a major blow and will affect the decision of buyers who are on the fence about whether or not to purchase this title. If you want a solid single-player experience and a chance to feel the best Wii FPS controls before Metroid releases, pick up Call of Duty 3.
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