Call of Duty 3

Key to this is the introduction of a new battle action system. "You've never really had the sense of a real life or death struggle in Call of Duty before," says Iremonger. "So forcing you to make decisions on the fly and then all of a sudden having an enemy in your face that you have to fight in hand-to-hand combat is something we wanted to add to take the player out of their comfort zone.

"That said, one of the things we are not doing is turning these battle actions into major challenges. So they're really there to turn things on their head a little bit, but they're designed to entertain, first and foremost."

Of course, Call of Duty isn't just about the single-player game; multiplayer modes are central to the full experience and this is in greater evidence than ever in CoD 3. Up to 24 players are supported via both Xbox Live and split-screen - so you could be playing on one telly with three other mates while simultaneously warring against another 20 players online.

"The other thing that we've done is add vehicles into multiplayer," adds Iremonger. "So that again gives us a whole new dimension. These just change the tempo and some of the tactics you're going to use. They're multi-occupancy vehicles too and, if you're a passenger, you can always do all the things you could do if you were on foot. So you can throw a grenade, fire your weapon, all that stuff."

Above: Whether it's the incessant gunfire, distant explosions or the sound of clomping boots, the game features superb audio

While jumping aboard a tank is naturally the first thing that you'll want to do, it's actually the speed and manoeuvrability of the motorbike/sidecar/mounted machine gun combo that offers the multiplayer game's most compelling transport solution. Indeed, it came in particularly handy during the Capture the Flag game we played on the compact Edem Dam level.

However, after we also played a number of War (most kills wins) games on the larger Poissons map, we were left slightly underwhelmed by the overall multiplayer experience: the maps simply weren't that exciting and, motorbikes aside, we spent an awful lot of time just trudging back and forth.

But. Even this cannot dampen our excitement about Call of Duty 3 and we've every confidence that developer Treyarch will have tweaked both the single and multiplayer aspects to within an inch of their lives by the game's November release. Indeed, Iremonger assures us that his team is dedicated "to ensuring that that multiplayer is as good as it gets". Let's hope he's right.