Developer: Gameloft
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Modern Combat 2 is the first game in a long while that makes me truly happy as a gamer. I’m not saying that quick Cut The Rope sessions aren’t a thrill, but Modern Combat 2 really sucks me in. As critical as I’ve been of Gameloft and their lack of innovation, I have to commend them on this excellent First Person Shooter (FPS).

What makes Modern Combat 2 stand out in the crowded FPS field is its console-worthy control system. Developers can put all sorts of effort making great stories with excellent graphics, but the standard dual stick FPS controls just don’t cut it. Modern Combat 2 utilizes a hybrid virtual joystick/ screen swipe control system that is aided by an accelerometer based aiming system. Basically, the system has the virtual stick moving you forward and back, with screen swiping and accelerometer aiming guiding your direction. With this system, I could actually aim my gun, making head shots much less of an iOS pipe dream.

Past the controls, the single player game itself is a pretty standard FPS affair, complete with a standard “fight from behind the enemy lines” storyline and characters that are fully voice-acted. For the most part, the levels are all well made, with periods of light action abruptly intersected by some high powered shootouts, but some of the “special” scenes drove me nuts. After just about every shootout there is a little bit where you have to do something that requires you to either shake or rotate your iPhone to accomplish. For example, a scene at the beginning of the game has two exploding barrels that happen to fly right at you, making you have to shake the screen to duck. I can’t tell you how many times I shook and twisted my device before the action finally occurred. I like the action sequence distractions, but I would be much, much happier just touching the screen at selected points to continue on my journey.

Even with the “special scene” issue, Modern Combat 2 is easily the best single player experience that I’ve ever had on my iPhone. As good as the single player game is, though, the multiplayer game is what really makes Modern Combat 2 shine. There’s really nothing innovative about the system itself (other than the ranking system), but that’s really the joy of it. The multiplayer system supports relatively lag-free 10 player matches (deathmatch, capture the flag), as well as a great ranking system and an online leader board. You gain in rank as you earn points, raising your level of awesomeness as you go. The real game changer here is that as you gain these ranks, you gain weapons to use in your arsenal. I’m not sure how balanced this will make the game as more and more people get into the upper ranks, but it sure is fun to plow through a bunch of new players with your high powered assault rifle.

It’s really not hard for me to say that Modern Combat 2 is my favorite iPhone FPS. If it weren’t for the issue I had in some of the single player missions, I really don’t think I could find a fault at all with the game. The graphics are killer, the sound is great (especially with headphones), the weapon selection is top notch, the multiplayer is great, and the controls are easily the best I’ve ever encountered. Fans of the FPS genre will certainly not be disappointed with Modern Combat 2. If you’ve been waiting for a true first person shooter on the iPhone, now is the time.

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