previews\ Feb 25, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Call of Duty 3: Roads to Victory - PSP - Preview 2

The World War II FPS genre, crowed though it may be, has been hitting the PSP in full force recently. First came EA’s Medal of Honor Heroes, which brought the series to the PSP, then came Brothers in Arms D-Day, which was Ubisoft’s foray into the WWII on PSP arena. Now Activision is getting into the mix with their flagship WWII series, Call of Duty.

Call of Duty: Roads to Victory does what it sets out to do, which is to effectively bring the series’ intense gameplay to the handheld format. The preview build that GameZone was able to recently sit down with showed that the game needed quite a bit more work, but what we saw was a pretty good accomplishment on the PSP, which has been notoriously unkind to the FPS genre.

The preview build of the game showcased four different levels. Each level presented different elements of the game, and they felt pretty diverse. You’d run the gamut of missions that aren’t uncommon to the series, such as destroying flak batteries with timed bombs, clearing out machine gun nests and fighting your way back to your squad mates after a glider landing. The last mission of the four previewed had you manning the gun of a B-24 Liberator, shooting down anti-aircraft balloons and enemy planes.

The familiar trappings of the Call of Duty series were present in preview build of the game. The “down the sight” aiming is present and easily accessible, requiring you to hold down the L button to look down your gun’s sight. Each weapon is different, as some will give you a better means of aim, while some are better off utilizing the auto-aim feature.

Of course the biggest problem when it comes to creating a decent FPS experience on the PSP is the controls. Since the system only has one analog stick, or nub as it were, it can be tough to emulate a console shooter without the extra control of two sticks. However, Call of Duty: Roads to Victory helps this out by offering up a very liberal auto-aim system. You aim with the analog nub and the face buttons move you back and forward and side to side. There were some control issues that seem unavoidable on the PSP, like remaining stationary to change your weapons or cook a grenade.

The graphics and sound are done very well, and aside from less detailed textures and some hits in the framerates when the action gets intense, it looks about as competent as the PS2 versions of the series. The music and sound effects are also pretty good, akin to the other games in the series.

Call of Duty: Roads to Victory is shaping up to be a pretty solid entry to the series, taking the franchise’s presentation and production values to the handheld format and losing little in the transition. While the controls can be rough at times, the auto-aim feature is leaps and bounds beyond most FPS games on the PSP. Look for it to drop this March.

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