Call of Duty: The new Madden? Another year, another CoD, and as far as the World War II experience goes, we've been here before. It's definitely a step up graphically, and on a technical level it's definitely far superior to its predecessor, but with Treyarch at the reins instead of Infinity Ward, this feels like more of a buffer to hold us over for the next real CoD than a complete, original experience.
Once again, you're a random soldier on the battlefields of World War II -- a smaller part of a bigger battle, something the developers have emphasized to a fault. The problem isn't the basic gameplay, it's the scale. Rather than fighting in the huge, completely bitchin' battles the last game in the series had to offer, you'll find yourself in the middle of small, obscure skirmishes in the French countryside. There's definitely some excitement to be had, but it's few and far between as you make your way through the game's terribly archetypal story.
Call of Duty 3 really feels like last year all over again...
Yes, archetypal. It wasn't a problem with Gears of War at all, since it had an exciting presentation and its gameplay was consistently surprising and fresh. Here, you're blindsided with boring slide shows and unskippable cutscenes, and all of the painful dialog they entail. And the dialog will be enough to make your ears bleed. This coupled with the fact that they're unskippable and that you have to watch them every single time you load a game is inexcusable.
The gameplay, while run of the mill, thanks to the million WWII games released every year, is not as bad as it could be. I definitely had some fun shooting Nazis to the tunes of the 40's as I romped through captured French villages, and the weather effects were nothing short of awesome, especially at the beginning. It's just too bad the developers didn't optimize this nearly as well as they could have for the PS3--things occasionally get very choppy, a problem not nearly as apparent with the 360 version.
On another note, the SixAxis functionality feels completely gimmicky, and it can be nothing short of frustrating. Why is it so difficult to row a boat? Hurdles like this were completely unnecessary and counterintuitive to their purpose of total immersion. This isn't how the game was originally meant to be played. There's really not much more to say-- there's nothing new here. It really is the exact same as Cod2, but with a different skin.
With this review, I won't mince words: If you've played Call of Duty 2, you absolutely do not need to play this game at all, and you probably shouldn't, especially on the PS3. Call of Duty 3 really feels like last year all over again, and aside from a few gimmicky controller tweaks, the gameplay is exactly as you'd find it on the more solid Xbox 360 version. It's a rental at best, and even then only if you've played Resistance to death or you've never played Call of Duty 2.