Welcome to your baptism of fire. Being thrown into battle straight off is standard issue in a war game and Call Of Duty 3 is no exception, letting you begin the campaign in the aptly titled 'Bloodiest Battle of the War'.
Bullets ricochet, limbs burst and grenades explode while the constant thundering of tanks and planes deafens you - to the point where it feels like your ears are being syringed by a heavy-handed, sweat-ridden whale of a matron. COD 3 pulls out all the stops to put you as close up to the action as possible, even allowing up to 24 players to experience full-on war in the online mode.
The only way to get any closer would be to trade your PS2 controller for a cheap firearm, and convince your mates to run around the woods in full military uniform while you try and pick them off one by one, limb by limb, life by life.
The backdrop for the game is the 'Normandy Breakout' of World War II. With significant numbers of Allied soldiers having unloaded on the North coast of France, the next task is to push the Nazis back into Germany and for Paris to be liberated. It's during this oncoming carnage that you assume the roles of four very different Allied troops (American, British, Canadian and Polish), providing an incredible variety of combat throughout the game.
Armed with a decent selection of weapons, ranging from bolt-action rifles and trench guns to multiple submachine-guns, there's no end to the skin-ripping, organ-busting damage you can inflict on the bands of soldiers stupid enough to cross your path. Not forgetting the trusty, flesh-scattering ability of your hand grenades of course, although blowing yourself up Dad's Army-style is often just as easy as spraying enemy guts over the screen. There's also has a great new handto- hand fighting element, usually in response to being jumped by a sneaky Nazi hidden behind a door/sandbag/pile of other dead Nazis.
The result is a close-up battle, with you frantically pressing combinations of buttons on
the control pad in an attempt to wrestle the bugger off. It's all gloriously visceral, violent stuff. Not that you'll always be facing the enemy head on in COD 3, however. The variation in action is huge, allowing you to take control of multiple vehicles (jeeps, tanks, trucks and even rowing boats), often to transport whole units who'll happily do the fighting while you swerve between exploding trees and Nazi ambushes.
Fortunately, your barrack buddies are far more intelligent than in previous versions of the game. They'll quite happily forge on ahead at times and deal with a substantial amount of enemy fire, giving you a welcome chance to recuperate and get your breath back. In fact, by far the most outstanding quality of COD 3 is its realism. The between-level clips are of Saving Private Ryan quality and the character animations highly detailed, providing a seamless link between footage and actual gameplay. The sound effects are spot on too, from the sound of splashing mud ruining your obsessively polished boots, to the patter of rain and the clink of live grenades landing by your feet.
These elements combined with the complete control you have over even the smallest tasks (you even get to rotate your controls to screw pins into explosive charges) add up to PS2's finest WWII hour. The PS3 is great, but this provides plenty of war-based fun in the meantime.
Finally topples the Medal of Honor series and looks truly amazing on PS2. Stunning, in a word.
- Exploding bodies... EVERYWHERE!
- Excellent online modes
- Same gameplay as the PS3
- No stat count on headshots!