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Modern Combat Versus review - Gameloft's FPS acquires a new target

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Future fight

Product: Modern Combat Versus | Developer: Gameloft | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPad | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Gameloft has pulled a cunning evasive manoeuvre on us with Modern Combat Versus.

For five iterations, Modern Combat has been a thinly disguised 'tribute' to Call of Duty, with a heavily scripted single player portion pushed to the fore.

Modern Combat Versus is trying a different lane of attack. It's a streamlined, multiplayer-focused sci-fi shooter that follows recent console FPS trends.

Zeroing the sights

Gameloft still wears its inspirations loudly and proudly on its sleeve, but those references are at least different this time around.

This is less Modern Warfare-era CoD, more Infinite Warfare - with a hefty dollop of Titanfall, Overwatch, and maybe even Destiny ladled on top.

Each multiplayer battle takes place between two teams of four players, and the goal is to capture and hold a central area, blasting any opponents that get in your way. In order to achieve this, you can pick from a number of distinct character classes.

Your class-based soldiers wear outlandish battle suits imbuing them with futuristic abilities, such as the ability to see enemies through walls, erect a forcefield, or run really fast. Each class also comes equipped with their own distinct weapon.

Trigger happy

Modern Combat Versus feels like a much more streamlined, honed FPS than previous games in the series - and not just because there's no story mode (no loss as far as I'm concerned, but opinion will vary).

Besides the simple weapon set-up, the shooting is automatic, and peering down the sights of your weapon for added precision is a simple matter of double-tapping the screen. Some will bemoan this simplification but, it feels much more at home on mobile devices as a result. Having to stretch to the middle of the screen to activate your special feels awkward if you're playing on an iPad, though.

The gunplay feels pretty weighty and satisfying, although it's perhaps a little too 'bullet-spongey' for my liking. It can take what seems like an entire clip to bring an opponent down, which serves to neuter things somewhat.

Visually, the game is very impressive. Its levels are far denser and richer than, say, Guns of Boom, which means they're simultaneously more impressive and less easy to decipher when the action hots up.

Scoping out the competition

All that being said, Modern Combat Versus doesn't threaten Guns of Boom as the mobile multiplayer FPS champ. Part of that is down to that tricky-to-define area of 'feel'. It's simply not as fun bombing around shooting stuff in Gameloft's game.

I think part of that distinction also comes down to the progression system. Guns of Boom's freemium structure is finely judged and lightly applied - a light seasoning to the deceptively substantial gunplay on offer.

Modern Combat Versus, by contrast, goes all-in with the timed loot boxes. Indeed, character progression is tied to these random XP drops, and you're always encouraged to spend more currency to speed things up. New characters are expensive to obtain, too. It's all a bit of a turn-off.

All in all, Modern Combat Versus is an interesting diversion from a series that was getting a little stale. There's evidently more content to come, too, so it'll be interesting to see which direction it shoots off in.

But the game lacks a certain intuitive joy and a generosity of spirit, which its key rival has in spades. Modern Combat Versus lands a few hits on Guns of Boom, but it fails to strike the same critical areas.
Modern Combat Versus review - Gameloft's FPS acquires a new target
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 29 September 2017
A playable multiplayer-only diversion for Gameloft's FPS series, but Modern Combat Versus lacks the friction-free charm of Guns of Boom
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