Players: 1 – 2 / online
After the huge success of Call of Duty 3 on the Xbox 360, it was a given we’d see this game appear on the Nintendo Wii. However many people were concerned about how the “lower-spec” console would handle the demanding graphics –not to mention how the unique controllers would lend themselves to the game. It would be fair to say I was highly excited about this title prior to the launch date, but the end result stirred a mix of emotions afterward.
Graphically, Treyarch have done a great job of porting this game over to the tiny but mighty Wii. The models certainly use fewer polygons and lighting techniques than the PC version, but still maintain a lot of detail, and you can easily distinguish between the different characters by facial recognition. Everyone who has had the pleasure of playing a Call of Duty game knows the amount of ambience that goes into them, and the Wii version is not watered down at all. You’ll find yourself running through the smoking rubble of bombed buildings, dodging mortar shells and being completely immersed in the terrifying battlefield environment. Sound also plays a huge part in this game and the Wii delivers rich audio from voices through to the dramatic musical score that carries you from campaign to campaign. The presentation of this game is almost flawless; however the Wii tends to suffer in other areas.
The controls for Call of Duty 3 were obviously a big selling point. Gameplay footage showed your Wii-mote becoming your gun and players using their controllers to drive vehicles - even having to physically fight off enemies in melee mode. It all looked like a lot of fun. But in practice a lot of these turned out to be more work than a rewarding experience. Targeting with your Wii-mote worked as you would imagine; being able to target your objects with the flick of the wrist worked well. Call of Duty 3 even had two different options that changed how you could target (from traditional first-person through to a slightly more realistic perspective), and was fairly responsive to your movements. What made the game difficult was the number of different buttons and combinations you needed to remember whilst playing. Reloading, crouching, zoom aim, jump, go prone, throw grenade, use binoculars, switch weapon… the list goes on, and when you’re getting shot at from all directions it can be a bit tricky trying to remember everything. Plus the Wii-mote wasn’t designed to handle so many different buttons. I’m sure that after a few hours of play you could master them and get to know them by heart, but the whole beauty of the Nintendo Wii is supposed to be the simplistic nature of the games, and more emphasis on logical movements rather than remembering what happens when you press the left pad button. Another flaw with the controls is that “Reload” (obviously a pretty common requirement in a first- person shooting game) is the “minus” button. Anyone who has played a Wii will know that this button is located where no finger can easily go (perhaps the developers of the game had an extra opposable thumb?). The only reason I can see for this is to make the action of reloading more awkward, just likeit would have been back in the day. Another way to reload is to flick your nunchuck controller up and down a couple of times, but I think that when games go down the line of becoming this realistic – we are losing the concept of fun video gaming.
All of this aside however, those who have mastered the plethora of controls will find there are many hours of fun to be had in this game. The single player campaign alone has hours of fun with enough variation to keep you thoroughly entertained. Some maps have you driving trucks through dirt-roads between German infantry posts, and others require you to pick off enemy snipers from rooftops. There is no question that the freedom of movement and the Wii-mote bring a new element to this well-respected title, but I think that perhaps this game should have been taken down a different path for the Wii console.
And finally, on the 16th March, look out for Call of Duty 3 Gold Edition for the Xbox 360, which will come packed full of extra goodies.
Pros: Some of the best graphics and sound around on the Wii. Great atmosphere and well worthy to hold the Call of Duty title
Cons: Controls can be a nightmare