Call of Duty 3 - updated hands-on

The Call of Duty franchise has already defined what a next-gen first-person shooter should be, winning FPS battles since the day the Xbox 360 launched. Activision and Treyarch won't be happy until they win the whole darn war, and showed us their firepower in a next-gen hands-on gameplay session at Activision headquarters in Santa Monica, CA.

It's easy to see this series is hitting its stride. The people behind Call of Duty know that we want intense, memorable scenarios filled with carnage. We were able to witness new elements like vehicle driving and melee struggles, while also experiencing fully fleshed out levels on every platform.

The single-player level on display for Xbox 360 was the same Island stage shown in Paris, but we dug much deeper into it. After following a tank (better known as "mobile cover" for these purposes), we came upon a seemingly serene farmhouse. To ensure its serenity, the area needed to be cleared. Of course, Germans were pinning us down from every window, and hiding in every corner. This is sure to be a running theme in Call of Duty 3: fighting (sometimes literally) uphill battles where your squad is outgunned and holding inferior position.

The selection of firearms in this stage was extremely diverse. At one point we dabbled in the single-shot Kar98k German rifle - which was good from afar, but was a severe liability up close. The FG 42 was the opposite, with its hyper-fast rate of fire but lack of good distance aiming. Easily the best gun of the level was the scoped FG 42, providing the best of both worlds: machine-gun rate, and a sweet scope. With it, we were blasting the helmets off of Germans left and right. The stage facilitated our sniping glee, with several areas filled with a seemingly unending stream of enemies.