Review: Call of Duty 3

God, I hated this game.

Call of Duty 3 was one of the games I was dreading playing back when I started this backlog, and I finally decided to clear it out after my Black Ops binge. Even though the gaming industry heaped awards on top of Call of Duty 3 when it was released, in my opinion it is the most mediocre CoD out there. A developer from Treyarch once said in an interview that the team only had eight months to put out the game, and does it ever show.

To begin, Call of Duty 3 is downright frustrating. It’s central mechanic works by spawning infinite numbers of enemies to advance towards “cover points” if they are open. The goal is to shoot down these soldiers while advancing towards the enemy, thus pushing back their front line. Enemies stop showing up once you have overtaken the original spawn point. The disadvantage to this is that you are constantly fighting an infinite wave of enemies that will respawn faster than you can shoot them down, all the while leaving cover to run towards the next enemy spawn point. On the hardest difficulty you can spend up to 20 minutes just trying to get to the next checkpoint, mostly through a combination of trial and error and luck.

Needless to say, the very first thing I did before continuing was drop the difficulty straight down to zero. Yes, it seems like I’ve got a real streak for starting CoD games on the hardest difficulty and never finishing them. I had struggled through Call of Duty 3 for hours a few years ago before finally giving up. The game was just too damn frustrating.

I discovered that the game was much easier to play while on Recruit, but still not too much fun. For starters, the game is not particularly good looking (at least not on my TV). I’ve seen better looking games on the GameCube than Call of Duty 3 on the Xbox 360. Second, the AI for both the enemies and your allies is abysmal. Sadly, the game makes up for this by spawning usually a dozen enemies at a time, and then proceeds to spawn them at a rate much faster than you could ever kill them. Thankfully, I did get a good chuckle as I watched at least 10 Nazis spawn out of the same broom closet, only to have me mow them down in the doorway one by one. I swear, it’s like a Monty Python sketch or something.

After the difficulty switch, I made three key discoveries that helped me alter my play strategy:

  1. Playing on Recruit essentially made you a bullet sponge, invulnerable to all but the mightiest of onslaughts.
  2. This meant running straight up to the Germans and bashing them over the head was often the quickest method of execution.
  3. Therefore, it was easier to merely blitzkrieg the enemy spawn points before soldiers even had a chance to spawn, than it was to try to fight through them.

Using this method, I advanced fairly quickly through the levels, even managing to annihilate the second half of the game in about two hours. Unlike previous campaigns, Call of Duty 3 only takes place during the Normandy breakout, switching perspectives from four different characters on each leg of the campaign. What this basically means is that you are fighting through the same French towns throughout the entire game, from St. Lo to Chambois. I wanted to put it down for the night, but I convinced myself that another night of CoD 3 was too much to bear. I hammered down the final two levels of the game and called it quits.

Call of Duty 3 suffers from a rushed delivery in almost every way imaginable, and yet it still has a score of 82 on Metacritic. Were the critics completely oblivious to all of its very obvious errors? It seems to me that in the wake of the successes of Call of Duty 1 and 2, reviewers were all too eager to call CoD3 the next big thing, while history has now clearly clarified their error. Do yourself a favor and skip Call of Duty 3.

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