Gameloft’s long awaited gun-toting sequel is finally here, proving that in fact sometimes more is more!…
Reviewed by Nigel Wood
There has been a running debate at TouchGen Towers, about whether people actually buy first person shooters for their single player campaigns anymore, and instead jump right into the multiplayer offering. It would be shame if this statement turned out to be true, because Modern Combat 3′s campaign might just be the best single player FPS experience on iOS to date.
Taking place in modern day warfare, the game pits you and your team of US soldiers against a new terrorist threat known as the KPR, a super group of terrorists consisting of members from Korea, Pakistan and Russia (an unlikely alliance). Much like Modern Warfare 2, the US has been invaded by this threat, and it is up to you to uncover the terrorist plot and take out the three heads of the KPR.
It’s completely unoriginal of course, but then again, what warfare games aren’t these days? Much like the WW2 games before them, the modern first person shooter genre is suffering from a creative block.
Much like the Modern Warfare and Battlefield series, Modern Combat 3 is split down the middle into a single player campaign mode and a multiplayer mode (more on that in part two of this review). It seems that the campaign mode tends to have to work harder to impress, fighting against its own multiplayer mode in attracting the player. Because of this you’ll find many campaigns play out like blockbuster movies, delivering non stop action, grandiose set pieces and huge explosions. Modern Combat 3 is no different, and unlike it’s forebears it triumphantly succeeds.
The majority of the time you will find yourself on foot, making your way from one checkpoint to the next, taking out the bad guys. However, unlike the last two games it’s not just a case of run and gun and hope for the best. Even on easy mode it’s easily the most challenging single player campaign so far from a Modern Combat game. Much of this is not necessarily down to the enemies AI, which can be a bit dumb to say the least, and is instead to do with Gameloft throwing as many enemies at you as possible. In fact, on several occasions I found myself clearing an area of enemies, only to be confronted by a second, and sometimes third, barrage after taking only a few steps.
While generally no smarter than your typical Hollywood henchman, there were a few moments where I was caught out. Sometimes when you take out an enemy he’ll lie there injured, taking last-stand pot-shots at you with his pistol. I found myself dying in this game far more than I have in any other iOS FPS.
To add a change of pace, Gameloft have added a few on rails-style missions in a bid to spice up the game. Most of these see you mowing down the enemy with a chain gun, be it on the back of a jeep, or from the belly of a chopper. While certainly enjoyable to a point, I found these unnecessary diversions, which serve only to dilute the overall experience instead of build on it. One in particular – which is a rip-off the excellent AC130 missions from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare complete with night and heat vision and long range weapons – though well presented, was too strung out and really quite tedious.
The modern combat series has always pushed the iOS device of the time with great presentation and graphics. Modern Combat is no exception here, and in fact I think it is the most accomplished iOS game at pulling off a real world experience so far. Props to the great blur effects when you run and turn. Sure, it may not boast the best textures, lighting or animation, but as an overall package it all comes together beautifully. From the first mission’s highly detailed urban environments, to the final chapters nuclear bunkers, Modern Combat 3 delivers a scale that is unparalleled. On more than one occasion I found myself turning my iPad 2 on it’s side and struggling to believe that all this was happening on a device less than half an inch thick. new to MC3 is the addition of Airplay, allowing you to play in full widescreen HD glory on your TV. All that is displayed on your iPad are the controls. It’s a cool feature, but one that I feel is nothing but a gimmick. It’s not easy to play this way, as you will often find yourself looking down at the screen to find the right buttons, due to the lack of tactile feedback.
As with the majority of campaigns these days, the experience is over in several hours. It’s increased difficulty will ensure a longer experience than the norm, and I recommend that you turn off the auto-aim option for a more fun and challenging play through. The story, while unoriginal and featuring a campy script, is more satisfying than most Gameloft games, and is of course left wide open for a sequel (which i’ll bet my left nut will come next year).
So, whether you have bought this for its multiplayer or not, the campaign is worth your time. It probably delivers more bang for your buck than anything on the AppStore right now, and possibly even more than many console titles.
Review by Kevin Moore
I got married last year. It took me approximately three months to realise that the document I signed after the wedding ceremony was not a marriage certificate, but an affidavit giving my wife sole use of the television for the rest of our lives. The wily minx. Ever since then, I’ve been searching for a way to replicate my legendary Call of Duty multiplayer sessions where I’d be up in my underpants till 4am on a work night, calling in airstrikes on unsuspecting French teenagers.
In Modern Combat 3′s multiplayer mode, I may just have found it.
Say what you want about Gameloft and their unmistakable philosophy of ripping off popular console titles. I happen not to care that much about whether the game is original or not, as long as it’s good. Does that make me a gaming philistine? Heck, I’ve been called worse things than that by my own mother, so bring it on.
And yeah, sometimes even I cringe at just how much Modern Combat blatantly copies Call of Duty. But then I chuck a grenade into a dark room, smile as someone gets blown up, and remember that Infinity Ward aren’t rushing to port it to the iPhone any time soon. Modern Combat’s multiplayer is more than good, it’s excellent.
Part of what makes it so great is its depth. First off, you’ve got 100 ranks to reach and a huge range of weapons to unlock as you level up through your kills. That alone is going to keep you busy for many, many months Daniel San.
But each weapon also has multiple attachments such as scopes, grips and launchers you can mix and match, as well as an assortment of equipment like grenades and C4 for you to carry onto the battlefield.
For those obsessed with the exact number of round-the-corner stomach blasts, or shoot-a-Touchgen-member-of-staff-through-a-box missiles they’ve doled out (yes Callum at Gameloft, I haven’t forgotten), there’s a comprehensive stats section in the Headquarters section of the multiplayer menu. This covers your lifetime stats, Match History; which shows your last five matches and where you placed, and the cursory online leaderboards.
You’ve also got challenges that charge you with achieving specific actions that span each weapon, in-game behaviour, attachments and game modes. Challenges like gain 20 kills with a certain gun, complete 50 revenge kills (killing the person who just killed you), or shoot Nigel The Editor 16 times with a shotgun. Maybe one of those is made up.
And that’s not all. Once you’ve unlocked a few of the heavy hitting guns, you can customise your weapon load outs. For the first time on iOS, kill chain rewards make an appearance so you can blow the entire map to kingdom come once you’ve whacked 20 players in a row (and there’s the option to buy rewards using coins for those who are struggling to rack up even three kills in a row. Yes I am talking about myself).
On the field, the gameplay is nippy and high octane. The introduction of two more players to the mode adds more opportunity to get your gun on. As long as your game is full, you’re never left wondering around the map without someone to maim.
Each weapon has it’s own unique feel, attachments add a good level of accuracy, and my favourite FPS multiplayer tactic of random grenade lobbing works as well as it always has. Everything seems well balanced, giving the veteran, and the n00b, chances to carve each other up.
When you’re gunned down (which is a lot in my case), you’ll be treated to your assailants Kill Signature; an avatar and quote such as ‘Feel My Calculator’, or something. It would’ve been nice to be able create your own, although I can imagine the type of debaucheries people would come up with. So perhaps not.
I also love the fact that the game automatically assigns a new host if the original one drops out. So there’ll be no more sabotaging the match by rage quitting after losing your hot poker-up-the-bum killchain reward just as you were about to launch it.
So, a high percentage of what you can find in CoD multiplayer is here. There’s definitely been a page ripped out of Infinity Ward’s classic title ‘How To Create A World Dominating Multiplayer Experience’. Well, they’ve actually ripped out whole chapters, but who’s counting?
There’s almost nothing to dislike. The only real gripe I have is the bizarre fashion in which setting up games is handled. On entering a lobby to search for game, you’re presented with a list of available matches. Tap on one, then tap ‘Join Game’ to enter. Pretty standard stuff? Kind of…
The weird part is that the list of games is constantly disappearing and reappearing within seconds, making finally joining a match some sort of trippy mini-game where you’re submitting multiple taps in a short timeframe and your reflexes have to be as sharp as on the actual battlefield.
Thankfully you can search by game type via the Quick Game menu, which sounds as if you’re going to be thrown into a random match rather than being able to definite the parameters of your search. ‘Battle’, or ‘Free For All’ as it’s more commonly known, is the game type I play most. I can’t be bothered much with capturing flags, defusing bombs or controlling zones (all of which feature), I just want to shoot your face off and laugh. So It’s good I can search for this mode alone rather than have to wade through the smorgasbord of available matches, even if it took me accidentally tapping on Quick Game to find out.
Other than that, I struggle to find negatives. If I had to go all Simon Cowell on it, I’d moan about how there were only six maps, and how disappointed I was when the servers went down for a couple of hours two days after release (although with approximately 658 billion headshot warriors cramming into the lobbies, perhaps it’s a victim of its own success).
I might also turn my nose up at the fact that the more affluent among us can purchase their way to glory by throwing real money at coins (the game’s own currency) through in-app purchases. Although to be honest, I can’t see many people finding value in £69.99 for 2 million of the things, but who am I to predict the actions of the privileged?
It’s not strictly a rich man’s playground though. You can purchase coins to spend on the various weapons, attachments and equipment that come with reaching specific ranks, but you still have to reach that rank by gaining kills in the first place. Being able to buy both coins and ranks would essentially render the whole point of multiplayer useless. Anyway, there are much better things to waste seventy quid on, like a human-sized Snickers Bar for example.
So if you were scared Gameloft wouldn’t be able to pull off a half decent version of CoD’s legendary multiplayer on the small screen, then worry no longer, because they’ve done just that. It’s going to be exciting to see what they manage for next instalment. There is a next instalment, right? Of course there is.
And to my wife, the joke is now firmly on you my dear. Thanks to Modern Combat 3′s fantastic multiplayer, not only will I be able to reclaim my right as a gamer to blow people up at 3 in the morning, but because we’re now in an era where this is all possible on my phone, any location in the world is open to me and my underpants.
Final review rating (not an average)
Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation is out now as a universal app for $6.99. Get it on the