A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the third entry in this popular WWII first-person shooter is beautifully presented and rich with historical detail -- but still very violent. While this Call of Duty game is rated "T" instead of "M" (unlike the first two in the series) kids will still see a small amount of blood spills with every kill, bodies litter the battlefield, and close combat often means face-to-face struggles. Open approaches to enemy positions create intense battles, with threats that appear out of nowhere and less than perfect cover -- exposing players to sudden, bloody deaths.
What's it about?
In CALL OF DUTY 3, players control an infantryman marching through France after the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Working with Allied forces (players buddy up with the French Resistance, Polish troops, Scottish soldiers, and others), players participate in some of the fiercest fighting of the European ground war. In rural towns like Saint Lo, Mortain, and Chambois, players storm German positions on strategic hills, go house-to-house to clear enemies from French villages, and secure critical infrastructure (such as bridges and ports). Cut scenes elaborate on the war strategy -- giving some much-needed context -- but the game forgoes traditional narrative; instead it uses occasional bits of gallows humor or an intra-squad flare-up to set the scene.
Is it any good?
Whether fighting face-to-face in the trenches, commandeering a jeep, or serving as a sniper spotter on the back of a tank, Call of Duty 3 keeps the action engaging. Battles are challenging, but can always be accomplished with a little ingenuity and nerve. The only failing here is the unrealistic torrent of enemies that appear at certain points of the game, undermining best-laid plans with a lame advantage for the computer.
All is forgiven with graphics and detail that define next-generation gaming. Looking through a rifle sight, players' first-person perspective takes a moment to adjust focus from a nearby object to an object in the distance. Environments are genuinely disorienting, giving players a number of options to approach enemy positions -- some more vulnerable than others. The mixture of intensity and detail makes Call of Duty 3 a sometimes-harrowing game experience. While not as violent as some other shooters, Call of Duty 3 gets the blood pumping like few games can.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of WWII games. Is there something about this particular conflict that lends itself to video game treatment? What is different about wars like Vietnam or the current war in Iraq that make them more or less suited to game recreation? Does the historical content of this game make it educational -- or is that aspect just an attempt to legitimize another shoot-'em-up?
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