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Modern Combat 5: Blackout Review

The highly anticipated fifth instalment of the electrifying Modern Combat series, Modern Combat 5: Blackout showcases the very best — and worst — aspects of mobile gaming. The incredible visuals, immersive story and fantastic voice acting make MC5 the obvious choice for any gamer looking for that authentic first person shooter experience; providing they have access to the internet, that is.

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I was, for lack of a better term, blown away by the opening 10 minutes of Modern Combat 5. The console-like quality of the game’s principal exposition is in my mind just as exhilarating as the opening 10 minutes of Battlefield 4. I found myself instantly drawn into the conflict, primarily because the gameplay is so incredibly smooth, but equally because there is very little disconnect between Modern Combat 5 and the console quality games it is trying to emulate. Modern Combat 5 is more than just a pale imitation of – insert any generic first person shooter here – it’s its own master comparable only to itself.

The game is made up of 57 intense single player missions and the campaign is as diverse as it is long. The story is told through eight interlinking chapters spread across six distinct levels, but each of the levels also comes fully equipped with its own unique set of Spec Ops challenges. These challenges are much shorter than game’s main campaign levels, but what they lack in length they more than make up for in variety.

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My personal favourite is Breach; perhaps more akin to an arcade shooter Breach missions task you with clearing a series of rooms, killing multiple enemies in very quick succession. And it’s no good just trying to memorize the patterns, the rooms change every time you fail to clear the screen. Rescue the hostage, shoot the detonator, stop the runner and clean up the rest; do this in seven seconds or less and you proceed, miss and…. Well…

The 29 Spec Ops missions underpin what is defiantly the most captivating campaign to date. Modern Combat has always included a single player campaign, but this latest installment takes it to the next level and sets a new standard for mobile first person military shooters. Prepare to fight your way through the back streets of Tokyo, the canals of Venice and a Japanese Temple/makeshift infirmary as you attempt to investigate the toxic corruption within Gilman Security.

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If you played Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour then you will be familiar with the perk system that allowed you to identify as one of six different classes. Modern Combat 5 takes this a step further and offers players four unique classes, each with their own unique set of weapons and accessories. As you progress through the game you will unlock each of the different weapons and accessories in accordance with your total XP. The new system is a marked improvement over its predecessor’s attachable class concept, but progression is slow and it will require many hours of gameplay to fully unlock just one of the classes, let alone all four.

But before you go running off to start your download, there’s a few other things I would like to draw your attention towards.  Modern Combat 5: Blackout requires constant internet access, even to play the single player campaign. Why the developer felt the need to add this ridiculous feature is beyond me, but the fact is unless you have access to the internet, MC5 is unplayable.

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For all that is good about Modern Combat 5, it still has a few problems. For some the touch based controls are an instant turn-off which is a real shame because once you find the right settings they’re a real pleasure to use. Unfortunately the multiplayer is where a lot of the game’s major issues lie. A general imbalance with the weapons and a respawn system that will happily spawn players right behind you means the multiplayer component feels more like an open beta and not a final build. Having said that Modern Combat 5 does offer a very traditional console-like multiplayer experience and because the maps are bigger, multilayered and more densely populated it is a lot of fun to play.

If you can work around the game’s few imperfections, Modern Combat 5 is defiantly worth your time. It’s available now on iOS and Android devices, it costs $6.99/£4.99 and it’s the most immersive mobile FPS to date.



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