X06: Call of Duty 3 Single-Player Hands-On

We go to Spain to blast Axis soldiers out of France. Sound confusing? It won't after you read our hands-on preview of Call of Duty 3.

BARCELONA, Spain--Call of Duty 2 is one of the best-selling games for the Xbox 360, so it's unsurprising that the follow-up is a featured title at Microsoft's X06 press event in Barcelona. We spent some time playing through one of the single-player levels of Call of Duty 3, and while it doesn't reinvent the World War II shooter, it looks like it's shaping up nicely, with plenty of key differences that should make it worth keeping an eye on.

We started out on a level called Crossroads, where we began slowly inching our way through a decimated French town. Each level has multiple objectives, such as clearing an area of enemies, reaching a checkpoint, or fending off waves of attackers. The mission we played started us at one end of the town, and we had to fight our way through bombed-out buildings, dark sewers, and mangled city blocks to get to the end of the level. There only seemed to be one way to progress to each checkpoint, which made the game feel fairly linear. We reached a few dead ends, but more often than not, getting through the level was as simple as finding the one open door or passage in the area.

The level design in the mission we played offered plenty of opportunities for action. We often found ourselves hiding behind a narrow piece of cover trading fire with several different enemies at a time. Many of the enemies seem to have scripted behavior, so you'll see the same enemies in the same places each time you enter a specific area. It's usually fairly obvious where an enemy will shoot from, because each path you take has some very apparent choke points where you'll find enemies peeking out of windows, from behind low debris, or around a corner. However, sometimes the enemies just rush the battlefield in waves, which makes for a much more frantic firefight than the average shoot-out with a lone gunman. There were several points in the single level that we played where there were a dozen or more enemies doing their best to fill us full of lead.

For the most part, the mission objectives were quite simple, but they displayed a fair amount of variety. In one area, we first had to clear the second story of a house, which was no easy task given the positional disadvantage of approaching from the stairs below. Once cleared, we met up with our three squad mates, one of whom kicked open a door to allow us through to the next area. In a later mission, we cleared a building and reached a balcony where some mounted machine guns were stationed. Using these powerful weapons, we had to take out a tank that was attempting to roll through town. The tank was escorted by a couple of dozen Axis soldiers, though, so we first had to cut them down before moving on to blow up the tank. That's no easy task, though, because a powerful gun like that tends to pack quite a kick, making it difficult to aim.

One of the interesting new gameplay developments that we were able to experience is the hand-to-hand combat. Early in the level, we walked through a door and an enemy soldier lunged at us with a very large and very sharp knife. We deflected his attack and he stabbed a wall, but he quickly pulled the knife out of the wall and began trying to shove it into our soldier's face. We had to quickly tap the trigger buttons to overpower the soldier, and once we got him to a certain point, a button icon flashed on the screen. We quickly hit the corresponding button and were able to kick the enemy soldier away. That didn't stop him though, so he shoved us through a window and we stumbled to the ground where the enemy soldier again tried to lodge his knife into our soft neck tissues. We once again hammered the trigger buttons until another button icon appeared onscreen. After pushing the correct button, we shoved the enemy back through the window we had just been thrown through and shot him dead. It was a fairly long and dramatic fight, but it seemed entirely scripted, so it doesn't look like you'll be able to initiate these types of exchanges on your own. We also played through the sequence twice, and both times the button sequence was exactly the same, so even if your reflexes aren't so great, you can still get through by memorizing the correct sequence. This mechanic felt very similar to the interactive cutscenes in games like Resident Evil 4 and Tomb Raider: Legend. However, witnessing the fight from a first-person perspective did give it an increased sense of danger, because it's not pleasant to stare into the eyes of an angry enemy as he tries to put a knife in your face.

The version of Call of Duty 3 that we played had a few rough spots, but for the most part it looked good and ran smoothly. The level we played featured some welcome variety to the terrain, even though you'll still see more than your fair share of rubble, debris, and dilapidated buildings. For example, to get to one area, we had to enter a house and hop through a hole to get into a sewer pipe beneath the building. We then followed that pipe to another house and came out in the cellar, which was dark and full of huge barrels of wine. Moving up the stairs, we reached the (at one time) living quarters, with a common room that had been blown half away by gunfire. Up the stairs again to the second floor, we reached the bedrooms, which were smaller and offered less cover against attacks, but they gave us an elevation advantage over enemies on the street below. Each area we entered felt unique, but they blended together well, and the design seemed logical rather than simply arbitrary. The lighting effects in the game were impressive. When a frag grenade goes off in a darkened room, you'll see enemies illuminated that you didn't even know were there in the first place. The levels, characters, and weapons are all nicely detailed, as well, to the point that you can read the lettering stamped on the barrel of a rifle when you're aiming. We saw some weather effects in the game, as well. In one area, it was raining, which made the battle feel even more dismal but didn't seem to affect the gameplay in any significant way.

Call of Duty 3 is shaping up to be another intense battle through the rubble and ruin of 1940s Europe. The new hand-to-hand fight sequences are interesting and could offer some entertaining breaks from the shooting. Keep an eye on this gamespace for more details about Call of Duty 3, as well as a full review when the game is released this November.

Written By

Want the latest news about Call of Duty 3?

Call of Duty 3

Call of Duty 3

Discussion

75 comments
slim_jim7007
slim_jim7007

I dint play big red one....but if this is newhere near as good as 2 then ill pick this 1 up.

PigJiggin
PigJiggin

Even though I loved Call of Duty 2 I think I might just skip out on this one, because it wasn't made by the people who brought us the one for 360 and PC, it's the company who brought us Big Red One. Ugh that game was terrible.

kmart_43210
kmart_43210

U missed out on CoD2? Man that sucks. Anyway get CoD3 its gonna be awesome!

payback_56
payback_56

I dont know, people have different opinions, but i think overall this game is gonna be fun, i missed out on cod 2, but played it a few times, and the game always impresses me...

tflame
tflame

The screenshots and footage look amazing! I'm looking forward to some more intense, authentic WWII battles fought as only the COD series can bring!

Ocharlesincharg
Ocharlesincharg

heres the deal...some are right....this game will blow because of single player being linear....and vehicles amy make it like BF2...but regardless the lure of COD 2 is getting 4 riends and holding 4 hour tournaments at the guys house with the best HD tv isnt it...it is for me and now were just gonna have new maps because although tusaine tunisia is the best map EVER it will eventually get boring...im excited for new maps and that it...go allies...nazis blow

Takeo_Ninja
Takeo_Ninja

Another step backwards... Hate when they make games that just use the certified recipe for money making without even trying to change anything. Scripted events is the plague of video games, I just can't stand them! With the computing power of the next gen consoles the only excuse for scripting is laziness and a will to make money, not a great game. I'm waiting for Brothers in Arms, Gears of War and Splinter Cell they at least try to change the way games work and how we feel about them. Crap like this isn't worth a penny in my eyes.

ErikB0869
ErikB0869

Not too happy to hear about the level being linear, as I thought one of the things they were going to do with Call of Duty 3 was to have several options, paths, and fighting styles through which to reach the objectives. Perhaps this is just an early build of it, and hopefully we will see more varied levels in the final release. Also, I hope that the visuals are improved as was also hyped. COD2 was great, but I am hoping for even bigger and better things with COD3. The hand-to-hand combat should also be fun, but apparently it ain't gonna be all that challenging. Oh well, let's hope they get everything ironed out for the final build.

slim_jim7007
slim_jim7007

The only COD game ive played was my firends COD2 for the 360 and i enjoyed it.......since ill have my 360 in a matter of days ill pick this 1 up, along w/ GOW, and mayb GRAW if i can find for cheap. But i like the idea of vehicles it might b fun in multiplayer.......but there needs to b different types for each side......like jeeps for amercians......the motorcycles for the germs....tanks and stuff would b cool too....i jus hope theres a variety.

Goldeneyemaster
Goldeneyemaster

I still think Treyarch will mess this game up. Hopefully I will be proved wrong when the game comes out.

King_Louis51
King_Louis51

It's a shame Infinity Ward aren't making it, as Call of Duty and Call of Duty 2 are easily the best in the series. Finest Hour was awful, though Big Red One was pretty good. You see, the reason i prefer CoD 1 & 2 to other WW2 games is the intensity of the battles -- something Finest Hour, Big Red One and Medal of Honor can't touch. So i hope Treyarch can deliver intense and realistic infantry combat as they couldn't do it in Big Red One.

sHaDYjOe500
sHaDYjOe500

i think they rushed this game cuz people r gonna buy it regardless who makes it they sold so well so release cod 2.5 to eat up more money before the holidays and i think for cod 4 they wanted to give infinity ward more time to polish and redemed itself cuz we all know cod 3 is gonna blow i mean theres gears of war and rainbow 6 vegas that come out the same day and wii the next week real gammers will look over it. treyarch sux with cod stick to spiderman and thats it

Tyuca
Tyuca

mmmm.. I have all the CoD games of course for PC!!.. dam to hear that wouldt'n be a PC version of CoD 3!! very very disapointed

CtEagan
CtEagan

looking and sounding good! Just hope Treyarch keeps up the Infinity Ward reputation.

crazylildude
crazylildude

umm i heard there will be a class system for the multiplayer.I believe that is the major cause for downfall in FPC's in the past.I hope i doesnt for this WWII shooter.Im a major fan.

excaliber24
excaliber24

I'm really worried that the multiplayer is going to suck. I hope that the vehicles dont make it too much like battlefield 2. I wish they left the vehicels out and kept it like cod2 which is amazing.

_Sam_
_Sam_

I can't wait!

rottenmeat
rottenmeat

I wonder if the levels are still destructable?

WarGameJunkie
WarGameJunkie

Why does it have to be linear? This is what I was worried about when I read the same studio that designed COD1 and 2 was not doing this game. If this game is linear, it's nothing more than MOH, same old same old. That's why I got into COD1 and 2 on the PC, because it WASN'T linear. With the technology available on the 360, there is no way they ought to be designing a game that takes you down one path and only one path. I'm actually less excited about this game than I was before.

marolia
marolia

oh this game is gonna be awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! cant wait

gnieves
gnieves

This game was in the works way before Call of Duty 2 was released on PC/X360. Remember this game is developed by tryarch (actually I don't remember the name). The original Call of Duty (PC) and Call of Duty 2(PC/360) aka the good ones (Finest Hour and Big Red One are the bad ones) were developed by Infinity Ward. The game looks good and the multiplayer portion supports 24 players with vehicles at the same time versus CoD2 that only support 8 and no vehicles.

Havak123
Havak123

Yay! I have it preordered for months. Can't wait to get my copy.

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

Can't wait. Must kill Nazi's

piecake
piecake

should be goon no great yay for the 360 down with the ps3

fkholmes
fkholmes

Hmmm sounds pretty good.

xXHackettXx
xXHackettXx

FuzzyPanda321 if you want Mario kiddy games by a Wii, if you want games like Assians Creed, Halo 3, GTA 4, BioShock, etc. Then dont.

mastersnake1988
mastersnake1988

i hope this turns out good. i loved cod 2 mutiplayer... after they finally released a patch.

Wrath82
Wrath82

mmm... nothing new, really. Just a FPS like every other. Maybe worth its price for XBL multiplayer.

FuzzyPanda321
FuzzyPanda321

this sucks... i'm wanting to get a wii, assaians creed, and tthis plus some even more games i'n never going to have enough money

Icekxg
Icekxg

I seriously have a feeling that this game is going to be a rush job...I mean, we just got CoD2 not even a year ago.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

another cod:( they seem like they are rushing it. It won't be that much of a graphics jump.

The_Tay-Man
The_Tay-Man

I hope it is not rushed, they have alot of platforms to develope for, I think that they should have stayed with next gen systems and the PC.

chiefmegadeth
chiefmegadeth

They are putting alot into this game good luck if its anything like 2 then we have a winner I cant wait to play this game i love war games i say make them by the dozen keep em coming Remember theres only so much you can do with fps shooters so who cares if it doesn't bring anything new to them,just make them fun and frantic... ill be happy BRING ON THE PAIN!!!!

BigMoney09
BigMoney09

at first i was a little worried about treyarch making this game. and i know many of us CoD 2 fans were feeling the same way. but if you check the infinity ward website treyarch is affiliated with them. so i dont think think this game will be as different as most of us were expecting

HotTopFade
HotTopFade

I hope the frame rate stays at 60fps. I am sick of games still being made for 30fps. Game just look so much better at a higher frame rate.

Fauij
Fauij

feel reall srry for pc because thats when i started playing this game b4 i got in to consoles..

scruffybawls
scruffybawls

this game could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch and a golfball out of a hose. 1,and 2 were good, this will suck

VolcanoMan001
VolcanoMan001

Do a little research, SA troops in world war two were 99.99% white. There were black troops indeed from SA but they were primarily engineer field park squadrons.

Matti9845
Matti9845

thats a fair point especially since south africa did help GBR in the 2nd world war.

ngamer513
ngamer513

y aint their eva ne blck ppl in war games

Ashkanhoss29
Ashkanhoss29

I hate consoles, so if they dont make a COD pc game soon, I'm never going to buy another COD game EVER.

-L-U-I-S-
-L-U-I-S-

There will be a Call of Duty Sequel for the PC for those who wanted CoD on PC

dcoy8
dcoy8

good thing this baby is alos gunna be on ps3...those graphics are gunna be sick

omerdv
omerdv

They should develop COD3 on pc......... th egame is going to be on ps2 aswell but the graphcis will be so bad... damn make this game on pc !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GoFeR24
GoFeR24

Damn...Why They don't working on the CoD 3 on PC ;/.