Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Gameloft is responsible for bringing us some of the most polished and frenetic mobile shooters for the iOS platform in the form of Modern Combat. The latest entry, Modern Combat 5: Blackout, raises the bar even higher, despite still having some of its own setbacks. This fifth entry is certainly an improvement that demonstrates what can be done within the mobile genre.
Players take up the role of Caydan Phoenix, an ex-marine who was deployed into Venice to tackle an uprising sweeping the area. After Phoenix is inevitably set up, he finds out that the international security agency who sent him in is up to no good - in fact, it's acting as a front for an international terror organization. That's where you come in: righting all these wrongs and clearing his name; with guns.
It's clear at the onset that Blackout's single-player campaign is impressively fleshed-out, despite the played-out narrative. It carries players along nicely - at least until they feel confident enough to tackle multiplayer. But while the narrative is paltry compared to that of "big budget" shooters, it's engaging enough to sustain a single-player campaign that's divided into bite-sized chunks.
For shooter fans who simply don't have the time or patience to engage in hardcore multiplayer matches all the time, this is a nice boon. The stop-and-pop mechanics are satisfying as well, especially when it comes to level organization. You'll want to devote some small blocks of time to the game in order to level up your character, and experience is distributed evenly throughout both modes no matter which you choose to play. This means that even if you never touch multiplayer until you're finished with the single-player campaign, you can still increase your stats until you're satisfied.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout boasts an impressive feature that ensures you unlock additional classes, weapons, and other customization options whether you play solo or in multiplayer. You earn XP by completing missions and optional objectives, and on the multiplayer side of things you receive XP for kills, headshots, multi-kills, and any other useful way you can find to take out your enemies.
You can put your accuracy to the test in multiplayer for feat-specific XP that can be earned simply by going for the head, or being a prolific soldier and kicking butt by taking out two and three other soldiers out with you. You can also unlock new skills that can be upgraded later on with SP, which is earned with every promotion, completion of events, and by certain missions. SP is not as plentiful as XP, so you'll want to spend it wisely.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout does require an always-on connection whether you want to play single-player or multiplayer, so if you've got an unreliable internet connection it may not be for you. Depending on your connectivity, you may find yourself having issues playing either mode and this can be a huge hindrance depending on what kind of internet you're working with.
Additionally, the controls can be somewhat fiddly, which is an issue mostly resolved when playing on a larger screen but something to keep in mind. The virtual controls can be jarring, but the promise of controller support will likely alleviate these issues in future updates.
If you're looking for a slick, modern shooter for your iOS devices, Modern Combat 5: Blackout is one of the best contenders out there. It does falter here and there, but those faults come with the territory. Given its affordable price compared to blockbuster shooters on consoles, it's still very much worth looking at and should be held as the higher standard to which other mobile shooters can aspire.