Sadly, Treyarch has brought a different overall tone to the game. You can't escape the feeling that the chaps have put 'cinematic experience' above 'great shooter' on the design whiteboard, and the result is a great game that's punctuated with well-intentioned but irritating sections that instantly take you out of the zone, while its levels are far more linear and restrictive than in CoD 2. For instance, there are the pointless on-rails jeep sections where you fire from the back... and things don't improve when you actually get behind the wheel. The vehicles' arcade handling makes it feel like World War Mario Kart and you never feel in any danger whether you're firing from a gun position or behind the wheel. The fact of the matter is that you're not really playing these sections - you're just watching them. Poor.
Fortunately, then, the tank sections are improved, with tighter controls, and you're encouraged to fight in formation to dish out the pain effectively. Plus they've got big guns (which is obviously always good). But, even here, there's still an uncomfortable feeling of indestructibility about the whole thing.
But the real rock-bottom lows in a game that provides so many seamless highs are the context-sensitive 'action' moments. Before, if you had to lay a charge, you'd just hold down x. Now you have to go through an absurdly tedious mini-game where you simply press the right button at the right time, twiddle a stick, hit x, twiddle right thumb and WHAT THE HELL'S GOING ON?
You'll be fighting for your life one second, then you're serenely plodding through the button-stabbing motions the next, laying charges, rowing boats, melee-fighting and opening the odd door. It's a tedious, entirely unnecessary way of breaking up play and it has to be canned.
The point is, Treyarch has unwisely tried to deliver too broad a slice of the second great war in an attempt to provide us with an all-out cinematic rollercoaster of a ride, and as a result everything but the shooting and the tanks has something of a half-baked feel to it - too often you'll find yourself alienated from the action and under whelmed by the vehicles.
Which is a shame, because, despite not really pushing back many boundaries and there being a lack of variety in terms of location and (what we're going to call) 'feel', the pure amount of carnage that's going on onscreen and some great (if linear) level design has made this the most intense war shooter ever, book-ended by two amazing missions - the final level is every bit as jaw-dropping as the first. Nonetheless, too many irritations prevent Call of Duty 3 from reaching the truly essential status we'd hoped it would achieve.
A brilliant game that doesn't quite eclipse its ace predecessor thanks mainly to a lack of variety and crap vehicles bits.
- The most intense war experience yet
- A perfectly-tuned shooter
- Punctuated with annoying bits