What stands out most about Commando 3 is that it... umm... uh...
If you've played a third-person action shooter before, then you've played Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3. It has a "one stick runs, other stick shoots" control scheme, an angular cartoon visual style, and most of all, It involves shooting stuff... that explodes.
[image1]Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with this, and if you're not sick of conventional action games, Commando 3 is a good alternative. The major problem is that absolutely nothing stands out. It gets a tiny seal of approval for its slightly more frantic, slightly more challenging and slightly more playable gameplay than the average romp. But if this mild approval of this non-costly shooter is enough to excite you, please open your eyes. If you want to shoot dudes, the game industry is Willy Wonka's Video Game Factory, and in a paradise of bullet-sugar, Commando 3 is just an after-dinner mint.
The plot can be summarized in four words: "Evil dudes, shoot them." There's nothing really special about the plot - in fact, “nothing” is an unfortunately appropriate adjective - so the very idea of incorporating cut-scenes that last more than five seconds pushes its luck. Sure you can skip them, but why are there intermittent 30-second slideshows masquerading as a plot?
Keeping with the theme of half-baked features is the character selection, which consists of picking between three characters who have different stats for speed, health, and grenades. There's no way to redistribute these statistics, and the whole thing is rather unnecessary despite their minute differences. It's just another screen you have to go through before you finally get to shoot dudes.
[image2]Fortunately, the action picks up immediately. You can toss grenades and use a screen-clearing special move, but for the most part, the gameplay mainly consists of dodging bullets that fly at you from every which way, while you try and shoot back. It's basic, but Commando 3 pokes its head just above mediocrity, just chaotic and fast-paced enough to be entertaining. Bullets are densely packed, and move just somewhat faster than the player, meaning you have to react quickly, but you always have a fighting chance. There are also a few different power-ups that are best used in different situations. The fundamentals of Commando 3 are solid, and co-op play is enough to ensure you and a buddy can be satisfied...
...But never ecstatic. While the gameplay is fine, there's not enough spectacle in Commando 3: No outstanding explosion effects, no unique art style, hardly any variety in power-ups, and three playable characters who play far too similarly. Attempts to vary the level design aren't successful; you're pretty much playing on same generic landscape throughout the game.
For decent gameplay, an inoffensive art style, co-op play locally or over Xbox Live, and multiple difficulty modes, Commando 3's price tag at 800 points is reasonable. But the question becomes: Why buy Commando 3? You can get an exciting, if not sparse on features, shooter with Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved for half the price. You can get many more exciting, albeit more expensive, shooters on the Xbox 360 like Gears of War or BioShock. Nevertheless, if you play Commando 3, you'll probably enjoy yourself, even if it's been done many, many times before.