There are a lot of games with titles ending in numbers these days. Those numbers keep getting higher and higher, too. Strangely enough, it seems like expectations don't rise. Developers are content on making virtually the same game over and over, and players seem content to keep playing them over and over. Call of Duty 3 is another one of those games. There are times when I almost forget that I am not playing Call of Duty 2. You can see for yourself that I am rather fond of Call of Duty 2
. So maybe I shouldn't be so disappointed that Call of Duty 3 is the same game. But I am and I'm getting fed up with this industry trend.
Maybe I am the only one. Madden games continue to sell like blockbuster movies on opening day. I played the last couple and, as a casual Madden gamer, I really couldn't tell you the difference between the last two. I know there are differences, the back of the box says so. Whatever they were they didn't have any impact on me and don't seem like a $60 difference.
Then along comes Call of Duty 3. The differences are a little easier to pick out. There are new missions of course, even if it is the same War over and over again. The graphics are a little better, but not much really, and not in any significant way that affected my appreciation of them. COD3 is a good game, but once again, does it warrant dropping another $60?
The major difference that struck me is that COD3 is a much harder game than 2. I played a large chunk of 2 on the hardest difficulty so I felt fairly confident about starting out 3 on the normal difficulty. That confidence was quickly shaken. I had to fight for every inch of ground. The missions have a more manic feel. Bullets seem to be coming from everywhere at once. Maybe that is what real war was like but it wasn't as much fun to play.
COD 3 has added destructible environments which is definitely a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it is so limited that it is almost worthless. Often my cover would be blown apart while many of the things I would attempt to destroy would remain indestructible. This is especially annoying when it is an object that should easily be destroyed. Sometimes the same objects would be destructible at certain places and not at others, pointing out its own ridiculousness. I do applaud them for at least taking this baby step.
They bumped up the online play, allowing games to have as much as 24 players and adding a class system. The class system adds a bit to the team games, letting players take on certain roles, like medics, and adding variety. COD3 still didn't add what I think is the most important online feature: co-op play. My biggest complaint of COD 2 was that it had no co-op and 3 repeats this grievous mistake. I would have even been happy with local co-op but no such luck. For my friends and I co-op play is probably the most essential feature in gaming, especially online co-op. It also seems to be the most overlooked feature.
The whole WWII shooter genre is getting pretty stale and that is only compounded by the Call of Duty franchise's been-there-done-that gameplay and look. The X-box, Playstation 2, and 360 versions are all content identical. Basically, they are all pretty much the same only the graphics are obviously a lot prettier on the 360 version. (Of course the 360 version also has achievement points added.) Still, COD3 is one of the best looking games to come out for the two last-gen systems.
Bearing such a small update to last years excellent Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3 just doesn't seem worth the $60 dollars. With all the stiff competition, I'd say there is a better shooter out there for your money. COD3 is just too much like its predecessor. I was excited to play COD3, but that quickly faded. Instead of playing a new game, it felt like I had put an old one in. I loved COD2, but when I was done with it I was done with it. So when COD3 felt exactly the same it was as if I was already done with it, too. It is a well made game. I don't have a lot of technical complaints about it. It just doesn't feel fresh. With all the games out there competing for my attention I just can't get recommend one that I have more or less played a year ago.
I'll hold out hope that the developers take a little more time before cranking out Call of Duty 4. Give gamers a little breather and themselves a chance to come up with some ideas to really knock our socks off.