Call of Duty 3 - updated hands-on

The most memorable moment during Island had to be getting our clock cleaned by the massive German tank. It seemed like imminent death, until our buddies dragged us to safety and patched us up. From there, we made our way to a building, starting at the basement. Footsteps and chatter from enemy soldiers enhanced the experienced, and helped show CoD 3's attention to audio detail. A badly timed smoke grenade fell back down the stairs onto us - which was before we learned how to pick up a live grenade and toss it back (something only enemy AI did for CoD 2 ). Once we finally secured the German anti-tank gun, a cutscene immediately popped of featuring dozens of "cavalry" turning the tide.

Sticking with the 360, we took a spin with War, the new multiplayer game mode. Maps have five linear objectives - which is a fancy way of saying there are five waypoints to control. The goal is securing them all, much like EA's Battlefield series. Poisson was the map, and it was cleverly designed with plenty of open terrain while also featuring some confined areas that needed to be approached on foot. This is important, as the level contained several vehicles.

Driving a tank around gives you a definite advantage. Its fire can blow any other players away, and it's tough to bring down - usually requiring a smartly placed mine, or the old "grenade-in-the-cockpit" trick. It drives predictably clunky, but not at the expense of being intuitive. Meanwhile, Poisson also had jeeps with machine-gun turrets - however, we had more fun just flat-out running over our enemies.

Various soldier types mainly affect the load-out, as each one received different grenade-type weapons. Earning higher ranks is fairly easy, and the reward is being able to carry more of said sub-weapons. The further-reaching benefits of ranks remains to be seen, but the vehicles and 24-player simultaneous online (over PS3 and 360) are big improvements for Call of Duty 's multiplayer.