Developer: Gameloft
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Modern Combat 4’s name sounds just like Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward’s series of modernized Call of Duty games, and it clearly plays like it too. That’s been Gameloft’s clear goal with this franchise: make a mobile military first-person shooter. It won’t always be smooth because touchscreen controls for FPS games just aren’t going to ever be great – tactility helps out a lot – and perhaps Gameloft could be far more original in its storyline and gameplay elements, but Modern Combat 4 accomplishes its objective of being a solid military FPS that can be played on the toilet with flying colors.

Modern Combat 4’s singleplayer mode jumps around from character to character, showing the stories from different locales and through the eyes of different characters, including the deranged villain. In general, the objective is simple: shoot the people the game says to shoot. The story feels kind of disjointed because it just jumps from place to place without any real warning, and the fact that the dialogue is so bad just means that the game works best as a mindless excursion through wartorn areas. Though I will say that the use of Havok physics, typically seen in the realm of the big boy consoles, means that when explosions go off, it causes objects to go flying and creates ragdoll effects with bodies. However, it may be why the game stutters on A5 devices like the iPad mini.

The multiplayer is the real star here: there’s a whole bevy of modes to check out with players form around the world. There’s the ability to party up with friends and take on enemy teams in Team Battle, take on all comers in free-for-all Battle mode, and enjoy 6 other objective-based games. By enjoy, I mean, try to do actually do the objectives while everyone else just fetishizes keeping their kill-to-death ratio high. The multiplayer is fully-featured like the console games it takes inspiration from. Of course, thanks to the controls, it winds up playing like the awkward teenage version of a military FPS, not an actual big boy game. Oh, and early reports are that the Gameloft Duo controller doesn’t work yet, so that’s not a solution. The one annoying factor is that loadouts can’t be customized and upgraded while in the between-games lobby. Oh, and multiplayer is only supported over wifi.

Really, what Modern Combat 4 does is that it’s not an original game. Its influences are clear. But Gameloft knows how to do make a game with high production values, that loses little because of the transition. I’m never going to expect these games to have perfect controls becuase it’s practically impossible given just a touchscreen to use. But for those that want to sit in Starbucks and pwn some noobs instead of doing it from their couch, well, that’s why these games exist. And as the technology improves, they’re more closely resembling their inspirations.

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