The US is under attack, KPR forces have taken control of American cities, and as an American soldier, you must fight to reclaim your country and take out the enemy’s leader. Sound familiar? Well it should sound a lot like the Modern Warfare series, except with KPR thrown in to replace Russian Ultranationalists and Zakhaev wherever needed. That’s exactly what this game is in a nutshell; Gameloft’s take on a series that Infinity Ward isn’t planning to port to mobile devices. Read on for the full review:
Like Call of Duty, the two main parts of the game are Campaign and Multiplayer. Gameloft doesn’t fail to impress with either. In the campaign, you’re told that a coalition of Russia, Pakistan, and Korea (KPR) have planted dangerous weapons in American cities and must stop them in the shoes of Cpl. James Walker. The storyline isn’t very well thought out, as the connection from MC2 and MC isn’t explained and the events that occur as you play all seem generic and shallow. There is no character development or any other background to the situation. You’re just a silent protagonist that does whatever he is told.
The game takes you through a lot of locations around the world.
However, the in game experience is great. As you play, you’ll be put through various well scripted cinematic scenes, which give you control as you complete near impossible tasks in slow motion. There is even an AC-130 level which meticulously resembles a CoD 4 mission. Additionally, the maps give you somewhat more freedom to explore than its predecessors. Once you consider the AI, the game starts to fall apart again. They seem to be the exact same AI as the ones seen in Black Pegasus, and they adapt poorly to the diverse new environments given.
Enemy AC-130 above! Unfortunately, it doesn’t make an appearance in multiplayer. However, nuke lovers will be pleased to hear that a 20 kill streak in Fallen Nation will get you a nuke. However, that’s a much easier feat in CoD than in this game.
Campaign only accounts for a small fraction of the time you will spend playing the game. Multiplayer provides the bulk of the experience, and it does it well. It is designed exactly like Call of Duty, with perks, killstreaks, and whatever else you love about the series, all while preserving the highly acclaimed, fast paced gameplay.
The K/D Ratio seen here would be much higher if the game bothered to save the stats for my best match.
Lastly, one must consider the controls. Designing an FPS game with on-screen controls can prove to be a challenge for any developer. Gameloft, however, has built upon their successful system from the original Modern Combat and NOVA games and provides an easy to use, accurate, and versatile control system. The only issues I’ve experienced with the setup include the accessibility of the sprint function and the inconvenience of of motion once aiming down sights.
Since this is a higher-end, multi-platform game, you may be wondering whether a display larger than one of an iDevice offers an actual advantage. A display of 4″ or 4.3″ gives a significantly larger horizontal field of view and one will have much more viewing area in any direction that isn’t blocked by ones fingers. However, you won’t feel as if you’re missing out on anything until you actually try the game on a larger screen. Once you do, playing on 3.5″ will just feel clunky and difficult.
Gameplay - ★★★★
The visuals of Fallen Nation are the best in its genre and some of the best among any mobile game. The graphics shine on the A5 on which additional lighting effects, motion blur, and anti-aliasing have been applied. Even on the A4 and on mid-range Android devices, the game looks fantastic. There is just a stunning amount of detail applied to the character models, textures, weapons, and environment. To enjoy all of the extra A5 effects on Android, you will need a Galaxy S2 or Galaxy Note.
The amount of detail and number of effects applied are hard to miss. Even the weapon scope is detailed and has a reflective surface.
On the iPad 2’s massive display, the motion blur effect seen when looking around and sprinting adds a whole new level of depth to the graphics and closely resembles implementations in console FPS games. Additionally, the weapon dynamics and animations are varied and realistic.
The menus in Fallen Nation are organized logically and are easy to use. The buttons and background are typical of a military-themed FPS game and will add to the overall depth of the experience.
Gameloft left almost nothing out when they designed the environments.
Graphics - ★★★★★
The audio in this game is average at best. Although the weapon and environment sounds are fantastic, the voice acting is simply terrible. This is a problem with every Gameloft game, and even though they have been slowly improving, the voice acting just sounds artificial and unprofessional. The soundtrack is decent and is, again, reminiscent of the one found in Modern Warfare 2. However, it’s much more subtle than the Hollywood-style Hans Zimmer theme.
Audio - ★★★★
Modern Combat 3 allows the player to rank up 90 levels in multiplayer by playing on 6 different maps in 12 player combat. This is a surprisingly large amount of content for a mobile game and will never leave you asking for more. Even the campaign has 13 missions which take you across varied environments. Although more multiplayer maps may have been nice, the amount of play time this game can offer goes off the charts when you consider the hours upon hours spent ranking up. Yet even this part of the game has its flaws. For example, the spawn system is broken, many lobbies have hackers, connection drops are common, and game stats don’t always save properly. However, these issues don’t occur frequently enough to really impede the game’s experience.
Replay - ★★★★★
At $6.99, Fallen Nation is a steal. It’s no Call of Duty, but again, it’s only a ninth of the price, and gives much more than a ninth of the content. It’s one of the most well made games ever released on mobile and provides an unlimited amount of fun with its multiplayer mode. Quite frankly, the game works well enough to appeal to people both experienced or new to the FPS genre.
Value - ★★★★★
Modern Combat 3 was a surprise to no one. Gameloft has a history of basing their games of console titles and they continue to make improvements to their games. However, this game is probably their best attempt yet at recreating a console quality experience on smartphones. It leaves me optimistic about their future releases and the future of game quality on mobile platforms in general. Although they’ll never give a user what a PSVita or 3DS can, they are beginning to provide a remarkable experience at ludicrously low price points.