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Call of Duty 3

The words you knew were coming sooner or later - once more unto the breach!

The sentence you're about to read is neither a misprint nor a rumour, but a fact straight from the proverbial's gob. They want more drama. That's right. Despite the fact that Call Of Duty 2 was a game so excruciatingly intense you often found yourself having to pause merely so you could free up enough brainpower to remember how to breathe, developers Treyarch want to raise their coveted 'cinematic intensity' to dizzying new heights. Fullest of full marks for vision, then...

NORMANDY WELCOMES CAREFUL DRIVERS
First things first - the graphics. Somehow, they've managed to improve them. For the full low down, check out 'Space Age Sights' overleaf, but in a nutshell? We're talking individual blades of grass that get crushed underfoot.

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But, detailed lawns aside, it's the way they've approached the storyline that has us salivating like dogs at dinner time. We chatted to Blake Hennon of Activision US to get the full picture. "It's simple," he says. "No more jumping around the globe - we want you to get a sense of the battle, of the reason for each action." And by crikey, we think he's on to something. Half the time in the last CoD you were pretty much just blazing for the end of the level every time. This time round, our Treyarch pals want to increase your involvement by focusing on just one story; the Normandy Breakout following D-Day, 6 June.

Personally, we've always found the 'nationality' of your character to be secondary to their cause in WWII shooters, especially when it seems to have so little to do with the actual act of saving the day. But here, the fates of our four American, Canadian, Polish and British heroes might really amount to something beyond a taste for chewing gum or humbugs. Will we see the same incidents from different angles, Brothers In Arms style? There's been no confirmation of this tantalising possibility, but when we asked, the stifled grins round the edge of the room would seem to indicate a resounding yes.

The explosive action has of course been ramped right up to the hilt as well - having analysed the last offering, Activision's military advisor decided that the battles were far too distant. As a result, the blocking of each fight has been tightened to near breaking point, leaving you never more than a matter of metres from danger.

This has given rise to a new gameplay element, a Battle Action system which utilises sequential button presses to perform actions like unarmed combat, or the disarming of a bomb. Looks good, though we'll have to wait for a hands-on report to see if this technique holds water.

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NICE ONE, FRITZ!
The enemy is wily as a fox and slippery as a nipple, if the new AI system is all it's cracked up to be. See, the scenery is littered with destructible elements... That cart you're hiding behind may not seem such a good idea when the enemy start pinging shots clean through it, but equally, you'll be impressed when you blow the enemy cover away only to watch as he scurries off whimpering to find a new hidey-hole. Like a girl.

The biggest revelation though must surely be the new, spectacular-sounding multiplayer mode. "We're fully aware of the mistakes we made with Call of Duty 2," Blake admits. Which must explain why Treyarch have created a whole separate development team just for the multiplayer this time around.

Our only gripe so far is that the flip-n-fall, cartoony physics of bodies caught up in explosions have not been changed one iota - four games in on Microsoft hardware and we're still being treated to much the same effect you get if you splat a spoon down on a bowl of custard.

Our quibbles, however, stem mainly from the fact that we're whores for war; greedy for the best. The sheer lunatic frenzy of battle remains incontestable. The real question then is not 'will it be any good,' rather, 'will you be man enough to handle it?'

The verdict

At this stage we'd hold our fat tongues shy of calling it a 'revolution', but this is virtually certain to be another monstrous leap toward perfection for the greatest god-damned WWII shooter ever devised. You have no right not to be excited about this. Say it out loud.

Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Treyarch
Publisher
Activision
Genre
FPS

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