I have to admit that I was one of the many who let out a defeated groan when it was announced that Call of Duty would not be coming to the Nintendo Switch. Why? Simply because I’m a certified war veteran and overall fan of the military FPS genre. However, saying that, I was also grateful at the same time of being spared the possibility of being severely disappointed with another weak cash-in á la PSVITA style. That’s not to say that the Switch is without any decent FPS’s, but despite the Doom’s and Wolfenstein’s of the world, they simply never matched up to real-world military campaign that I so craved. Well now, my distress calls have been heard as Gameloft’s Modern Combat: Blackout shoots a release onto Nintendo’s Hybrid console.
The Modern Combat series has been a long-running affair on mobile platforms and this version of the game is merely a port of the same title that appeared on mobile and windows devices. In terms of this, the game has a very distinct mobile feel to it; although thankfully, its micro-transaction element no longer remains. Being a port is not necessarily a bad thing though, it may not contain the bells-and-whistles of a triple-A title, but its casual style of gameplay is one that sits nicely on the Switch. Along with this, the game also possesses a number of game modes, both in a singular and multiplayer capacity, as well as an element of depth with a progression system that runs along both its single-player and multiplayer modes.
As far as the story, or single-player campaign goes, it’s a simple run-of-the-mill affair that has been done many times before. There’s nothing particularly new, or even exciting here, but what you do get is a playable campaign that runs through a series of chapters; each one broken into sub-categories from story to spec-ops missions and multiplayer levels to flesh out the whole experience. As with many similar games before it, Blackout sees you chasing terrorist organisations across various locales around the world. Each of the levels are presented in bite-sized chunks that may suit the casual style of the Switch, but for me, they did feel a bit too short; often being over before I even got started. Each level also offers you a series of sub-tasks to complete, from a specific number of headshots to melee kills, which reward you with up to three stars; an important factor as these stars are used to unlock further levels.
There’s a lot of variation here, from the QTE’s to cinematic set-pieces and the room clearing, bomb searching Spec-ops to the straight up deathmatches of multiplayer. Although there’s plenty to do, I wouldn’t say that any of them of particularly well-executed, although they still possess an element of fun. In terms of this, I would advise that you really don’t try and expect a Call of Duty style game, at least in terms of style and presentation. What you do get though is the next best thing to it; at least in terms of its pricing. The best description I can think of is I would look at this game as Call of Duty: The Budget Edition. This is by no means a bad game though, as there’s nothing broken here, at least I never noticed or came across anything particularly broken, it’s simply not in the same league as its bigger and older brethren.
What the game does do well though, is its implementation of a progression system that runs through all of its modes. Whatever game you play, it all adds to a central system of levelling up that grants you a series of unlocks and coinage with which to buy aesthetical items. As you progress through the game, you gain access to a number of extras, from classes, weapons and add-ons such as foregrips, silencers and grenades. This creates a wealth of possibilities in how you outfit your character; something which is further bolstered by the option of buying loot crates with the monetary rewards you gain from levelling. These chests contain a number of cosmetical items to add a touch of personalisation to your character for when you take the fight online.
Speaking of which, the variety and depth found within the game also carries over to the multiplayer aspects of the game; although at the same time, its game modes are severely limited. With only a free-for-all and team deathmatch option available, its modes of play could potentially run dry quite soon. However, this can be offset with the game’s ability to create custom matches with friends, both online and locally (but only remotely, not couch play), plus the jewel in its crown of ranked competitive league’s that offer season rewards as an incentive. It does offer a form of longevity, especially after finishing the solo elements of the game, but a few more game modes would have been a nice inclusion.
In terms of how the game plays when in multiplayer mode, everything here runs in pretty much the same fashion as the rest of the game. However, due to a lack of any proper match-making mechanics, you can sometimes find yourself on the wrong side of a better-equipped team or sometimes overly outnumbered by an incomplete lobby. It was a very hit-and-miss experience in terms of this. Some lobbies were full, creating some exciting and tense games, whereby other times I struggled to find full matches. Hopefully things will improve as more people get into the game.
Overall though, Modern Combat: Blackout is a satisfying shooter, but one that simply can’t compete with other big-hitters out there. If you’ve got an itch for a military FPS on your Switch, then this game will duly scratch your back, but you need keep in mind that a budget price means a budget game. Saying that though, it does play well, contains a wealth of options and depth and possesses a form of longevity to keep you playing over the long-term. However, where I could spend hours upon a day fighting between the houses of Nuketown, I merely spend only a couple of hours here. It simply doesn’t grab you in the same way as what Call of Duty can, but for a casual and satisfying experience in small bursts, this is a game that contains a lot of firepower.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Modern Combat Blackout Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
There’s a lot of firepower here, but nothing explosive.