GAME DISC ONLY
Call of Duty 3 is a historical first-person shooter game that has a single-player campaign mode and multiplayer mode. It is open-ended, giving the player multiple paths to complete objectives, but plays similarly to the series' previous installment. Players fight alongside AI-controlled teammates against enemies who use various attack patterns, hide behind cover, and regroup to improved defensive positions.
A character can be positioned in one of three stances: standing, crouching, or prone, each affecting the player's rate of movement and accuracy. Two firearms can be carried, and both fragmentation and smoke grenades can also be equipped; unlike previous installments in the series, players have the ability to toss live grenades back at the enemy. Weapons and ammo from fallen foes or friendlies can be picked up to replace weapons in a player's inventory. A player may fire from the hip or aim down the gun's iron sights for increased accuracy. The compass on the heads-up display (HUD) helps the player navigate to the location of each objective.
Using cover helps the player avoid enemy fire or recover health after taking significant damage. Similar to Call of Duty 2, the edges of the screen turn red and the character's heartbeat will increase in volume, indicating that the player's health is low; it can be replenished through an automatic recovery system when the character is not taking fire.
The player takes the perspective of either an American, British, Canadian, or Polish soldier during the single-player campaign, for a total of 14 missions. Set in the Western Front of World War II, Call of Duty 3 takes place in the year 1944 and contains missions specific to four major Allied campaigns in the Battle of Normandy. The player takes part in a series of objectives marked by their HUD; these include having the character arrive at a checkpoint, eliminate enemies in a specified location, manning a tank, and marking targets for air strikes. Call of Duty 3 introduces to the series scripted close-combat sequences and multiple actions to arming explosives, both of which require the player to press buttons in sequences to progress.
In addition to the single-player campaign, Call of Duty 3 features a wide range of multiplayer modes for players to participate in – each team allowing up to 24 on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, and 16 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in a single match. This is only in the online mode. All team game modes feature the soldiers of the Allied nations versus those of the Axis. Multiplayer features are absent from the Wii edition.
It is the first game in the Call of Duty series to introduce two different game modes. The "Normalized" mode was added to allow console players a way to adjust to the smaller kill box of Call of Duty, its expansion United Offensive, and Call of Duty 2.
On the Xbox 360, Call of Duty 3 divides its multiplayer aspect into Player and Ranked matches. Player matches allow players to invite other players into their games, but do not contribute points toward the leader board or unlock Achievements. Ranked matches put the player with and against teams of random players, and contribute towards player points and allow players to unlock Achievements.