Modern Combat 5: Blackout ($7) is one of the most high-profile iOS games to be released this year. Blackout is the latest first-person shooter in Gameloft’s Call of Duty-esque series, and this time around, there are no in-app purchases to be found. However, an internet connection is required to play at all times.
As Modern Combat players will expect, Blackout has a great presentation. From the seriously impressive, detailed graphics, to the immersive sound and all of the requisite bells and whistles one would expect, there’s no doubt that Gameloft’s newest is a truly premium title. It’s important to note the frame rate during the game was solid for us on an iPad mini with Retina display, whether in single-player or multiplayer mode.
Single-player missions in Modern Combat 5 are fairly short, but more challenging than one might imagine. Players are dropped into a number of exotic locales for various types of missions. The quick levels keep the game from getting tedious — at the start of the game, you soon find yourself manning a small gunboat in Venice, and before you know it, you’re shooting your way through Japan. There’s a story, but it doesn’t stand out in any way. The AI in the game is smart enough — if enemies were any smarter, the game would be too challenging, simply due to inevitable control issues.
About those issues — when playing a touchscreen FPS, controls are going to be tricky. There’s just no way around it. In Modern Combat 5, the default settings have you using the same thumb to look around as you use to press the shoot button. When you’re trying to walk and move around obstacles as well, it can become too much action for too few buttons. Blackout’s controls are decent enough, but gamers used to playing computer or console FPS games might have a tough time adjusting. We’d recommend adjusting the sensitivity and other control options as soon as you’re given a chance. It’s unfortunate that Blackout doesn’t support MFi controllers, at least as of yet — why even have an iOS game controller if not for games like this? We expect controller support will be added in an update.
For many people, multiplayer will be the main draw to Modern Combat 5. There’s plenty to offer, with a classic free-for-all deathmatch in addition to a number of different team modes including VIP mode, capture the flag, team battle, and squad battle — the last of which requires players to join their own Blackout squad for battles. It all runs as well as you’d expect, but novices aren’t going to stand much of a chance. The learning curve is steep when you’re faced with opponents who know their way around Modern Combat.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout has a lot to offer. We haven’t even touched on the extra features, weapons upgrades, special events, achievements, and other things that will keep gamers coming back for more. Many iOS gamers will consider this an automatic download, and rightfully so. But those new to touchscreen FPS games should understand there’s going to be a learning curve before dropping $7 on a game that could prove a bit frustrating. The constant internet connection needed to play the game will be a major downside to some, as well. Overall, though, Blackout still earns our strong recommendation.
iLounge Rating: B+