N.O.V.A 3 received a perfect score for its single player mode. How does the multiplayer stack up?
Everyone around TouchGen is buzzing with the release of Gameloft’s super shooter N.O.V.A. 3. We cranked our way through the single player, and it earned every bit of the perfect score it received. It is without question the best single player shooter experience one can have on iPhone or iPad.
How does the multiplayer stack up? After all, when you go into a big budget shooter, the single player is where players tend to spend a fraction of their time. The multiplayer is what keeps gamers running back to games like Call of Duty and Halo years after their first release. N.O.V.A. 3 has reached the point where it is easy to compare it to a console game. Of course, you cannot put it on a level playing field with a game like a Call of Duty, but it is as close as you will get on iOS.
Overall, the multiplayer is well executed. The controls work just like the single player, so if you are not fond of the controls there, you will more than likely have even more problems when you are trying to fight against real players, who will be much smarter than the AI in single player. Check out our review of the single player for an in-depth breakdown of the controls and basic gameplay mechanics.
There is a ton of modes in the multiplayer, so you will have a hard time getting bored. You can play standard stuff such as free for all, team deathmatch and capture the flag. They also have some creative modes such as freeze tag, where you have to run through each member of the other team and freeze him or her in place before one of their teammates thaws them.Whether you are looking for standard FPS action or something a little more new and exciting, N.O.V.A. 3 has you covered.
When you connect to multiplayer, you can either quickplay, join, or create your own room to get started in a game. I generally used quickplay because I wanted to get in there and shoot fools as quickly as possible, but if you want more fine control over your game, you can create and host one with your custom settings.
Once you choose a mode to play, you will be thrust into action. Obviously, you want to know if the game is any good once you are on ground shooting other players. Simply, yes it is. The shooting mechanics are good, the hit detection never seemed to give me any issues and as we said in the single player review, the controls work just fine.
Of course, just running around and shooting your gun is not enough. There are plenty of vehicles and mechs to drive around and bring havoc to the battlefield. The cars were a little difficult to control, but after a while, I got the hang of it and found it to be passable. The mechs are where the real fun is. They are balanced enough where they can be killed, but still powerful enough to feel fun.
The multiplayer comes equipped with six maps, which should be enough to keep you busy for a while. Obviously, this is fewer maps than you would expect to see from a console shooter, but I think that considering the handheld nature of N.O.V.A. 3, it is an acceptable amount.
Matches are played with up to 12 players, but in my time with the game, I never actually played with a full room. Even when I stayed with a single server for multiple games, it was never full. Players were constantly dropping in and out. I found that most rooms seemed never to exceed six or eight players.
Everything in the multiplayer is based on leveling up your character and buying new items in the Armory. This provides the multiplayer with a real sense of progression and it makes it much more rewarding. Of course, it sucks when you are new to the game and you are getting wasted by enemies with better weapons, but when you are the one doing the wasting, it is a ton of fun.
Speaking of the Armory, there is plenty of unlocks in there to keep you busy for a long time. Unlocks are purchased using in-game currency, and they cannot be purchased until you have reached the proper level. You can buy the in-game currency with real money, but you will still be limited on the items based on level. This keeps players who are willing to spend real money from dominating. No matter what, you have to put in the time to level up your character, and I think this is a very admirable move from Gameloft.
I did experience some issues with lag while playing the game, but it was not something that occurred in all the time. When it happened, it was usually devastating, and more often than not, it would lead to a disconnection from the room entirely. It was not ultra common, but it did happen enough to be slightly annoying.
Another problem is that there are not always many people playing. Of course, this is no fault of Gameloft, but it still stinks when you cannot find a game in the particular mode that you want to play.
Occasionally, I had some issues with bad spawns. Every so often, I would spawn and get killed immediately by an enemy who was too close. It only happened a few times, but it is certainly worth pointing out. This tends to happen often with new shooters, and I expect that Gameloft will address this in a future update.
Overall, the multiplayer in N.O.V.A. 3 is awesome. The game has some issues with connections every now and again, and there seems to be a scarcity of players in some of the modes. While it might not be perfect like the single player, it is pretty damn close. It is without question the best multiplayer shooter on iOS, and I cannot help but feel like some of the flaws are limitations of the platform, and not N.O.V.A. 3.