November 21, 2006

Review: Call of Duty 3 (Wii)

I bought Call of Duty 3 (CoD) on a whim. Standing behind the cash register at Electronic Boutique Games (EB) I pondered about when I would be receiving my Future Shop (FS) games in the mail. It was a Sunday so I knew it would be at least a couple days. Could Wii Sports hold me over for 2 whole days? I had heard Wii Sports has no depth at all. And having seen a cool video of a person playing Call of Duty 3, I decided this was the game to get, so I slapped down an extra $65 on top of my console, controllers, etc.

This being an impulse purchase, I was immediately cast into doubt when the guy beside me at the other cash registered pointed out to me that CoD doesn't have multiplayer. But with me being silly and basically too giddy to think rationally, I ignored him, signed the receipt and walked out of the store proudly, beaming from ear to ear.

Initially, I found the controls to be pretty awkward. While playing First Person Shooters (FPS) with XBox and GameCube, I had grown accustomed to sitting down, laying back and just playing FPS with my hands in my lap with the controller. But with the added remote controller aspect of the Wii, I now had to have one hand holding the remote and pointing it at the screen at all times. Little movements of my hand from side to side would make my guy turn left and right, while the nunchuk controlled movement forward, backward, and strafing. The biggest difference is that on a conventional console, you can only shoot at whatever is in the middle of your screen. Now, you can aim anywhere on the screen and then to make the guy turn, you need to point just outside of the guys' field of vision. So think of it as a rectangle "shooting area" within the screen, and when you pointed outside the screen, the player would turn.

So initially I had a helluva a time, even just getting through the tutorial. Another problem with the controls I found was that the grenade buttons (Left and Right on the directional pad) was too far up from where my thumb was resting, which was at the A button. Furthermore, to need to reach down again below the A button to the "-" key in order to commandeer vehicles or stationary guns a little troublesome. My hands were just too small or maybe my thumb was too short. In the tutorial I had to throw a grenade into a window, and I had a really tough time pointing above the window without making him just look into the sky, and then reach way up over to the grenade button. It really makes shooting and throwing a grenade at the same time quite difficult -- though I suppose it's a little more realistic.

I'm not going to make too much fuss over the graphics. The Wii's graphics are equivalent to XBox/PS2 graphics. I find this game a little darker than it could be. I'm also sure this game would look better on 480p, but unfortunately the component cables don't come out until December.

Eventually I did get used to the controls and started to kick some Nazi butt.

Other aspects of the game include: Setting up explosives, paddling a boat, driving a tank, driving a jeep, operating turrets, wrestling enemy soldiers. I had the most trouble wrestling. Basically there are times when a german will get the jump on you and you find yourself face to face with him and he's trying to use the rifle to choke you to death. A little window pops up to show you how to manipulate the controller to fight the guy off, and the subsequently knock him in the face with the butt of your gun. It sounds easy but it is NOT.

The most fun I had outside of plain running and gunning, was the driving. It's a whole lot of fun. You hold the nunchuk at 9 o'clock and the Wiimote at 3 o'clock, and you just start driving as if your hands were on a wheel. This is absolutely great fun! The Wiimotes vibrate and give off sounds and I had a great time driving this one jeep through a tank area, whenever one fired upon us, you'd feel a strong rumble from the wiimote. It was absolutely great and gives me great insights as to how great a racing game will be. Possibly a Mario Kart or something of that sort.

If there's one thing I would have to complain about Call of Duty 3, it's the value. With no multiplayer capabilities, this game has limited replayability. Once you finish all the campaigns, there's nothing left except to try it on a harder level. This creates havoc because you're spending $65 on something that might last a month tops, but more likely, 2-3 weeks. If you were a kid and had more time to play, I could see someone finishing in less than 2 weeks, which really limits the value of this game.

One other thing that bothered me was how far back they put you when you die. You could spend 20 minutes getting through a mission and if you die right before you complete, you're sent all the way back from where you started 20 minutes ago. That's a big pain -- though if I recall correctly, the Call of Duty series has always been this way.

So in summary: Call of Duty 3 is very fun. Lack of multiplayer gives it low value and low replayability. Adjustment is needed to get used to the controls. Sounds are great, though a little repetitive -- when your mate yells out "Outta here!" for billionth time, I am thinking "shut up!". Cutscenes are great, good conversation and voice acting. Graphics are average. I think they could have done better, though I really have nothing to compare it to at this point.

Sound: 7/10
Controls: 8/10
Graphics: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Fun Factor: 10/10

Overall score: 38/50.

If you like FPS games, you will like this game, regardless of it's longterm value. That I am quite sure of. I love FPS, but I'm also looking for longterm value.

Note: I called EB to see how much I could get for this game if I traded it back. It was a measely $22 -- for a 2 day old game!! I then found a person on RedFlagDeals to trade with. I'll be trading CoD for Super Monkey Ball tomorrow evening.


b.p. said...

do you think the wii is more ergonomic for players, or could they get carpal tunnel syndrome or any other type of injury more likely than other game consoles?

airhead said...

super monkey ball. YAY!!!

eBrian said...

bp: I think you could definitely get carpal tunnel syndrome of some sort playing the Wii, especially if you play any of the games sitting down for an extended period of time. The motion sensor is fairly sensitive (though you can adjust it in some games) and if you are just sitting there with your arm stretched out like you were changing the channel only not, your arm and wrist will get pretty tired. Now when you add into account the excitement or often tense gaming (ie, trying to snipe someone's head, or making a minute turn for a monkeyball), you could definitely strain yourself.