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Call of Duty 3

Hands-on: CVG gets the first play of the Wii version outside of Activision

With Red Steel and Far Cry from Ubisoft joining CoD3 for Wii's launch, it's going to be a battle for the FPS throne come December 8. But with the controls being the most prominent factor of Wii, it's down to how developers have used the Remote that will be most crucial. We're pleased to say CoD3 does an excellent job.

The basic control layout is the same as Red Steel's; you control forwards, backwards and strafing with the Nunchuk analogue stick, and use the Wii Remote like a pointer to control the on-screen crosshair and look view.

But even though the principles of the control system are the same as Red Steel, CoD3 feels immediately more responsive and easier to control. Red Steel has a large neutral zone in the centre of the screen which gives your on-screen arm a disembodied feel as you're forced to swing your aim right out to the extreme edge of the screen to make camera adjustments.

In contrast, CoD3's neutral zone is tiny. This means that moving your crosshair even slightly off centre incites an immediate reaction from the camera. The speed at which the camera turns is also more gradual, starting off slow and building up speed the further away from the centre of the screen you aim. This made it far easier to control than Red Steel, having no problems reacting and shooting enemies that appeared above or behind us.

CoD3 also uses the tilt function in the Wii Remote in some interesting ways. As you take cover behind scenery, you can lean your head out by twisting the Remote in the direction you want to look. You can perform a melee attack by shoving the controller forwards, and you change ammo by flicking the Nunchuk. It all works brilliantly which is fortunate because, as you'd expect from a CoD game, the action is brutal.

As dozens of soldiers run around, firing bullets in all directions, planes fly around overhead, swooping low and dropping bombs that rock the ground with huge explosions, which look absolutely awesome. The smoke and dust effects look great in motion, and truly play a factor in gameplay because you have to wait for the dust to clear before you battle on.

Just to make things even more hectic, CoD3 will give you the choice of multiple routes through levels. You've heard that before though, right? This is different; instead of simply giving you a change of scenery, each of the routes will give you a different role to play, but they're always connected with each other to achieve the main goal.

One level saw us storming a large building full of zie enemy. The commander ordered the group to split into three units and advance separately - the first unit to go through the top floor of an adjacent building to provide support for unit 2, who will advance on ground level. And the third unit would go through an underground passage to emerge from a trapdoor for an ambush.

You simply head down whichever route you prefer, and your AI comrades will automatically splinter off down the other routes. So you can be the sniper, covering AI advancers, or run straight in with support from AI snipers. Your choice.

CoD3 also packs the new hand-to-hand fights which have you wrestling to overpower enemy soldiers. It's tense stuff - we walked unsuspectingly into a building only to be suddenly charged at, have our gun grabbed and yanked from our virtual hands.

On other consoles, you tackle these bits by rapidly tapping the L and R shoulder buttons, but on Wii you have to perform a series of bigger, more aggressive motions.

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