Recently, living conditions in the United Kingdom have taken a well publicised kick to the groin. The problem isn’t life altering, nor is it life threatening but in the past month V.A.T rose to a ludicrous 20%. What does that mean to you and me and why is it being tenuously included in the introduction of a game review?
Well, higher VAT means that those lovely price tags of £39.99 for brand spanking new titles are now all but gone, replaced with a derisory £40.99. Fear not however, for in such bleak economic times there is still one hero left to fight for truth, justice and any spare change left on your credit card: the downloadable games industry. Enter Modern Combat: Domination, from developers Gameloft, and for the PSN, not to be confused with (but definitely borrows heavily from) its Call of Duty namesake.
For several years now, developer Gameloft’s lofty (get it?) goal has been to deliver affordable and enjoyable games on a variety of platforms. Initial success on mobile platforms such as the iPhone and iPod devices was soon translated to the mainstream consoles and here we are. Now they’ve turned their attention on the world of first person shooters.
Modern Combat: Domination bears a great many similarities to other FPS games, which is to be expected and celebrated but it’s not without it’s flaws. The most prevalent problem is that there simply isn’t a wealth of things to do in Modern Combat if you’re not interested in online shenanigans.
The game does include a meagre single player mode, wherein players play against CPU bots in the online environments. This just isn’t enough to entice those uninterested in online play to the game and subsequently these sheltered folk must be advised to steer clear.
The actually gameplay in Modern Combat is pretty impressive, especially for the price tag. Standard first person shooter buttons are used, you’ve got your Right trigger to shoot, analogues to move and throw in a melee knife attack and action button to jump. In fact, as a first person shooter, Modern Combat delivers a surprisingly addictive experience.
It should be noted that the gameplay is far from perfect, as issues with accuracy and lag can really make the experience a disjointed one. In particular, changing weapons from primary to secondary can be laboriously slow, as can your melee weapon. Obviously this is less than ideal in a fast paced online shooter and can be a real pain in the midst of a heated exchange of bullets.
Online is, of course, where the game really shines and for several good reasons. Firstly, the online stages are superbly designed with plenty of interesting hiding spots as well as barren open areas perfect for hand to hand or close range shoot outs.
There are plenty of options at your fingertips when playing online from standard ‘kill all death matches’ to team games. Games are not even remotely close to the epic scale of the console shooters with games ranging from a lonely 2 vs. 2 to 8 vs. 8 combat.
Conceivably, the one unifying factor for all FPS’s is the inclusion of experience points and the ability to unlock newer, bigger and more distractingly cool weapons. Modern Combat delivers with aplomb in this department; bringing to the table a very tidy and well utilized upgrade system.
The one issue lies in the manner in which one obtains weapons. As you continue to play online, kill more people and maim more friends you’ll earn cash. This cash can then be used to buy weapons of a higher calibre. Players may find this form of upgrade more a hassle than simply having the weapons unlocked as you progress but it’s really more a personal grievance than a glaring flaw.
The graphics too are well utilized and it’s quite astonishing to think that this studio is the very same studio that gained notoriety through handheld gaming. Backgrounds are polished, character models are a tad blocky especially in the facial area but this is just nit picking. As a very affordable package, Modern Combat really delivers.
One surprising inclusion was the involvement of the Playstation Move controller Having not had the opportunity to utilize the hardware in any first person shooter titles as yet, I was very eager to try it out. The good news is that it doesn’t disappoint, the Move has a high reputation for accuracy and adding to the overall enjoyment of a game and the same is thankfully true with Modern Conbat. The experience isn’t altogether a better one but it’s certainly a nice change and being given the option to switch can really only be viewed as a positive achievement for Gameloft.
When playing online I genuinely enjoyed myself, something I haven’t truly done since the heady days of the original Modern Warfare. However, one glaring headache blighted my otherwise idyllic sessions: server problems. I’ll admit that my internet is far from high tech (a pathetic 2MB) but the wait for any game to begin was achingly tedious and the appearance of lag did disrupt several key gaming moments.
- Pure unadulterated fun
- Nice combination of online upgrades and match types
- A genuine bargain at under £7
- Weapon purchasing system will alienate some players
- No single player campaign of any worth
Gameloft have created something very interesting and more importantly they’re practically giving it away for £6.29. It’s by no means perfect and there is plenty to be overly critical or analytical about. However, it’s a very solid foundation for a series that could spawn an incredibly good game in the near future.