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PLATFORM: Wii, PS3, Xbox 360
ESRB RATING: T
I’m sure most of you who are fans of Call of Duty have only one question on your mind for the Wii version: how does it look, and how does it play? To that I say to you, that’s two questions, stupid.
Let’s be honest. No one’s expecting PS3 or 360 visuals for this one, we all know the Wii is woefully underpowered compared to those behemoths. You’ll be pleased to note that the visuals are much better than the last generation though. You’ll see right from the first battle as they throw you into a classic all-out firefight as dozens of soldiers scramble over the field while explosions rage all over. But don’t go into this expecting the shiny goodness of the other big boys ’cause it just ain’t happening.
Another thing that’s missing from this version is a multiplayer mode of any kind. Yes, we all know that Nintendo fucked up with not having any online multiplayer games at launch but this game doesn’t even have any split-screen multiplayer and you can forget about a co-op mode.
So why would you get this version, then? The controls. I was as scared as anyone else about how the strange looking control scheme would work for first person shooters. But I’m here to tell you it’s pretty goddamn perfect. You hold the nunchuck in your left hand and the analog stick controls your movement. The remote allows you to aim and turn. The two buttons on the nunchuck allow you to crouch or jump and the buttons on the remote allow you to aim (A button) and throw grenades (the directional pads) and that’s about it. Throw the nunchuck up and down and you’ll reload, jerk it to the right to switch weapons. Thrust the remote forward and you’ll smack a guy with your rifle. It’s incredibly easy once you get the hang of it.
But there is a very steep learning curve and you will not be able to aim (let alone walk) for the first couple of hours of play. The first time you pick it up you’ll hold your right arm out, trying to aim like you’re playing Time Crisis in an arcade and your arm will get sore after a while. Once you figure out that you can just keep your hands rested on your lap and it will control just as well and it’s oh so sweet. It wasn’t until I bagged a kill with every round in a 10-shot clip that I realized how responsive the controls are. In fact, I’d say this is my new favorite way to play shooting games and it just shows so much promise for future first person shooters coming out for the Wii.
The one problem with the controls are the little minigames that pop up. They’re the same little things that show up in the other versions, such as the awesome scene where an ememy soldier jumps out at you and you wrestle with him for the gun but in this case you’re going to be flailing your arms around to fight him off instead of pushing buttons. It’s not as clear or as fun as it should be. It doesn’t make sense either because the motions are similar to those performed in other games (spin one hand in a circle, chop the remote downward, etc.) but it doesn’t seem to pick it up as well. Thankfully these are short- because you’d be sore as hell from trying to get the motions right. Despite all that complaining they’re not all bad, like the fun driving segments where you have to hold your hands at 10 and 2 like you’ve got a gypsy eating your chrom.
The story is standard stuff. Thankfully there’s no storming the beaches of Normandy in this one. Instead, it focuses on a joint attack by American, Canadian, English and Polish troops during the Normandy Breakout; the campaign that helped liberate Paris from those diabolical Nazis. You’ll jump from one company to the other throughout the game and see a lot of the same faces along the way.
Unfortunately, unlike the last Call of Duty game Treyarch made (the insanely good Big Red One) you don’t really get attached to these characters. It takes away from the action more than anything and their deaths don’t have the emotional impact that they did in the previous titles. The game’s also fairly short, maybe around 10-15 hours depending on how you play it.
It’s pretty obvious that this game was rushed out for launch. The lack of any multiplayer is pretty unforgivable as there’s not much of a reason to play back through this one. There’s also all manner of visual and gameplay glitches that I ran across playing this. Like when I died and fell through the world or the one time I started a checkpoint with two weapons I’d never had before- with no bullets. (I had to restart the level to fix it.)
So while all signs point to the next Call of Duty game on the Wii being a classic, the same doesn’t apply for this one. It’s a great time don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t have as many "Wow!" moments as the last few, and just doesn’t have much replay value. Worth playing but try and rent it if you can.