The fifth installment in Gameloft's action-packed Modern Combat series has lots of hype surrounding it. Will it surpass its popular predecessors or come up short?
What's in the new chapter
Modern Combat 5 (MC5) immediately throws you into the action as a security forces soldier named Phoenix who you might recognize from his minor role in Modern Combat 4. Like the popular Call of Duty games, a major city, Tokyo in this case, comes under attack from a group of violent militants. You'll fight the militants through a series of stages set throughout the Japanese capital and other locations around the world.
Each stage of MC5 is divided into different chapters. Each chapter has your standard run-and-gun stages, objective-based stages that involve tasks such as defusing bombs, and a multiplayer stage. To save space, chapters are downloaded as you progress.
There's plenty of weapons to choose from and you also have a squad which features four different classes: assault, recon, heavy, and sniper. The weapons and classes are an important part of the game and directly affect the difficulty of each level. For example, some missions require you to free hostages who are held at gunpoint by killing their captor. Using a shotgun will almost certainly kill both the captor and hostage, so it's a good idea to choose a more precise weapon before playing the stage.
Modern Combat 5 also has a robust multiplayer mode, which supports up to 12 players at a time. This is the best way to take advantage of the squad feature which allows you to easily join up with your friends and join the fight. Multiplayer has all the classic FPS game types such as deathmatch, capture the flag, and free-for-all.
The gameplay is close to the multiplayer modes in Call of Duty down to the kill streak bonuses which give you upgrades such as sentry guns and helicopters. The games I played all ran smoothly in terms of connection and I didn't run into many problems with lag. I did, however, find some issues with spawning. There were a few times where I spawned in front of an opponent who quickly killed me before I even had a chance to move. Even with the spawning issues, the multiplayer mode is an excellent FPS experience.
Modern Combat 5's move to free-to-play has seen extended support for this multiplayer. Since its release, Gameloft has added custom lobbies to allow you to set up matches exactly how you and your friends want, created new armor sets to keep diversifying tactical options for teams, rolled out additional maps, and improved the league system to ensure that you keep getting better rewards and weapons. You can even invite friends with a referral system.
Grab your gun and join the fight
The controls in Modern Combat 5 face the same problem that many touch screen shooters face: on-screen joysticks aren't as responsive as the real things. The joystick that controls your movement is located on the left-hand side of the screen and you can aim by moving your thumb on the right-hand side. The shoot, grenade, zoom-in, and special ability buttons are also located on the right-hand side.
The controls are mostly responsive, but there are problems such as the shoot and grenade buttons being located too close together. There were a few times when I accidentally threw a grenade which can seriously disrupt gameplay, especially if you're fighting in close quarters.
The look and sound of combat
Lots of work has gone into Modern Combat 5 and the attention to detail is apparent: characters look detailed and fluid in their animations and levels are concise enough that they don't appear repetitive. This isn't on par with console graphics, but it's still top of the line for device games.
Sound in the game is also high-quality. The guns have diverse sounds and other sound effects, such as tires screeching, sound believable. There's also hammy but solid voice acting that isn't normally found in mobile games.
Despite the controls, it's still great for fans of FPS
The controls can get irritating and clunky, but Modern Combat 5 is still an entertaining game with a promising multiplayer.