While it may not be a huge cultural phenomenon like Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3, another big military shooter with a ‘3’ in its title is also being released this shooter season. That game is Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation, Gameloft's flagship series and mobile counterpart to Call of Duty.
The game is basically a rehash of the previous titles with a new campaign, a few new features, expanded multiplayer and a bit of polish.
Like it's console counterpart, in this title, the world has devolved into another global war of sorts. The fallen nation of the title is America, in fact. Korea, Pakistan, and Russia have all banded together and formed the KPR, a group hell bent on invading and destroying America. I guess the developers couldn't choose between generic military shooter enemies one, two, and three, so they just lumped them together in a massive army, which was probably the best decision. As usual, the plot is generic, but only serves to establish big set pieces and battles, which is all it needs to do. There is a lot of variety in the environments across the 13 available missions, including the now seemingly mandatory AC-130 gunship level. The set pieces are bigger than ever, and the campaign reaches a new level of epic for this particular series.
The gameplay is mostly the same as ever; aim, shoot, crouch, throw grenades, sprint, etc. You've got three virtual stick configurations to choose from, and the difficult-as-ever to use Gyroscope aiming. You'll probably have to tweak the sensitivity and figure out which scheme works best for you. The aim assist makes a return, which is a nice optional feature in console shooters, but a necessity and the saving grace of the phone shooters. I still don't think first person shooters really work with touch screen controls, but this game makes it work better than most, and it's definitely enjoyable. Of course, there are plenty of bugs and glitches, and the AI is still using cheap and brutal tactics that got old way back in Call of Duty 3.
There are several situations in which the cover you're hiding behind is actually a hologram or something, because enemy bullets tear right through it and into you. I'm talking about big stone walls here, not just cardboard boxes and stacked objects. It's better to just stay back as far as you can and pick enemies off while aiming down the sights.
The game's multiplayer resembles the console version of the game more than ever. You can participate in battles with up to twelve people across six maps and seven game types. Kill streaks now lead to special abilities, like revealing enemies on the radar or an air strike, which is new to the series. As you get kills and assists, you'll gain experience and rank up, unlocking new weapon load outs. You'll also earn a currency which can be used to buy attachments for your guns, with the option of buying the currency in-app with real money. I feel like that would completely unbalance the game, but whatever. The multiplayer is fast and fun, although the online service is currently having issues of its own. I experienced the occasional connectivity issues, and several people are having their ranks and unlocks wiped after logging out. Maybe wait for some updates before you sink your teeth into the multiplayer.
The graphics are as beautiful as ever, with more detail than ever. The music and sound effects are well done, though they often drown out dialogue and instructions, even after I turned them down in the options. If you like touch screen mobile shooters and competitive online multiplayer, or obviously, if you liked Sandstorm or Black Pegasus, this is a definite buy for you. You can join the war effort for just seven dollars, and this is the first game in the series to be iOS universal. It's one of the best iPhone shooters yet, for whatever that's worth to you.