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    ETA's GameLog for Call of Duty 3 (360)

    Saturday 9 February, 2008

    ENTRY #2


    After another hour of gameplay I have just remembered something I probably should have recalled before I started to play this game: I don’t like WWII games. I don’t like the guns, I don’t like the atmosphere, I generally don’t like the stories, and in general I don’t like much about them (which is not to say I haven’t like a few like “Brother’s in Arms” for example). Unfortunately, CoD3 is no exception to this rule. The underpowered “authentic” weapons do not make for an enjoyable experience and the war-torn fields, barns, churches, and battered European cities of WWII games make for pretty uninteresting level design to me. CoD3 features all of these and doesn’t pull them off particularly good or particularly bad. It falls right in the sweet spot of average.

    At least the action has picked up in the second hour of playing, but not to the point where I feel this game is a must play. The wide-open areas of the game are now a little more focused and I feel like I have a little more control over what is happening in these sections of the game, but not to the point that I like in my FPS games. These areas of the game still suffer from some major drawbacks, which is a shame because these could (and should) be the best and most tension filled parts of the game.
    I find the fact that my squad is pretty much oblivious to my actions to be pretty annoying. They just go about their business (shooting whoever is within range) like I am not there. In most cases I can just hang out in the back of the lines, wait for most of the area to be cleared then finish up the battle and move forward so the game can be advanced (since your squad usually requires you to make the first move forward in order to progress…which is odd since they pay no attention to you otherwise). There are also very few ways to approach these wide-open levels. The game doesn’t reward you or make it appealing to flank for example, so you are pretty much forced to play these big, wide open areas in a pretty linear and predetermined fashion.

    When you aren’t in an all out fire fight, you are pretty much back to the same old same old follow the clearly marked trench/road/corridor/river to your next wave of enemies or objective. Its not particularly bad, but certainly not that original or interesting enough to keep me coming back to this game for more. In fact, nothing in this game really makes me want to “come back for more”. The rewards system in the game seems to need to get a serious kick in the butt. Like I said above, in most cases you are not reward (and usually punished with a quick death) for trying to do anything outside of follows the linear path to your goal. You there isn’t any health or much concern out ammo I’ve encountered so far so no rewards there, there is no real power-ups or specials to speak of, I don’t get anything “cool” (like nice dramatic explosions for a well placed grenade) so there isn’t much glory to be had for me either. Overall, the lack of rewards and linear gameplay put a damper on things for me.

    If I recall correctly this game was pretty well received when it came out. I’m not sure if it is a case of a game that didn’t stand the test of time or if people were just desperate for a next-gen FPS, but I definitely don’t see what is so special about it.


    Despite its more or less lack luster gameplay and fun factor, CoD3 does have some very nice design elements. The most obvious one (and the one that has the most effect on gameplay) is the fact that you have to aim down the irons of your gun to get an accurate shot rather than just point with the cross hairs. This minor, but very important, design choice really adds a level of skill and complexity to an otherwise standard affair game. It’s a limiting factor, in that your view is pretty obstructed (except for what is in your irons) and your movement is more limited, but it adds a layer of skill and an element of emersion to the game (making the player that much more connected with their faceless in-game counter part).

    Another nice design touch is the role that your AI controlled squad mates play in the game. Aside from adding to the tone of the game they serve multiple functions that would normally require a HUD or other element that would separate the player from the game world by one more degree. Yes, there is a mini-map and a way to check your objectives from the menu, but there isn’t much need for either of these as your squad mates provide most of the in game hints and objectives you need. Squad mates will issues orders, give you hints (like shouting “use the tank for cover!” at the beginning of level where you will be torn to pieces if you don’t), lead you to your next objective (either by taking point or calling for you assistance), and generally act as your in game tutorial when needed.

    As mentioned above, the level design is pretty linear. This did make the game less enjoyable for me, but from a design point of view there are impressive. The world feels and looks big, but you never really feel lost or disoriented. Always knowing (or at least having a good idea) of what you are suppose to do next in a level is always a plus when it comes to level design in my book.

    Unfortunately where the game falls down is on the challenge and rewards design aspects (as mentioned above). I, as a player, feel so disconnected from the action at some points in the game that most of the meaningful play, and thus challenge, are sucked right out of the game. The fact that I rarely feel rewarded for my efforts (I don’t consider progressing the game and getting pretty “ho-hum” cut-scenes much of a reward) pretty much killed the fun for me. The rewards (and cool parts of the game) are spread too thin and don’t work hard enough to keep my attention. And all the other good points in the design cannot make up for this huge flaw.


    This is a great Gamelog, with a good amount of gameplay discussion and analysis. Some bits of your second gameplay section feel like they'd be better off in the Design section, most notably your discussion of how you felt the rewards system of the game was lacking. Some more interesting discussion could be gotten from talking about the genre/setting (I'm never too sure with WWII FPSes) and how CoD 3 and one of the ones you mentioned you like handle it differently, which makes you pick one over the other.

    Either way, though, this is great. Keep it up.

    -Amy Leek (grader)

    Tuesday 12 February, 2008 by MarsDragon
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