iPhone App Video Review: 9mm

by Andrew Koziara

9mm is the latest and greatest from Gameloft. It’s a 3rd person shooter game with plenty of action and several cinematic moments. The graphics are mostly great, and it all feels very high octane. There is plenty to laugh at in this game though, from bugs to animations and the copy-paste story, but none of those things really hold the game down.

There is an obscene amount of naughty language in this one though; plenty of F-bombs. Be sure to keep it away from the kids, unless you’re one of those cool parents, of course.

The game puts you in the shoes of Detective John Kannon… because, you know, he’s a loose cannon. See it’s funny cause… oh never mind. You end up killing a drug dealer and you and your fellow officers decide to keep the money for your families. The drug dealer was the brother of a ludicrously powerful crime lord, who seems to have his own army. The plot seems heavily inspired by gritty crooked cop crime dramas such as Street Kings and LA Confidential. There are so many stereotypes in this game, it’s hard to even keep track. Tough lady cop that all the guys hit on? Check. Main character has issues with his wife and daughter? Check. More cursing than is even remotely necessary? Check. I’m sure you’ll all be just as shocked as I was when one of your fellow officers betrays you for money. I was extremely upset that Kannon wasn’t out to get revenge for his partner who was murdered just two days away from retirement, and even more upset that he never turned in his badge and gun but still got revenge with his cop friends who didn’t care. I’ve spent too much time on the silly story. To sum it up, it’s like a parody of a gritty crime drama, but it plays itself completely straight, and it is extremely enjoyable to laugh at the over the top language and dialogue throughout. I actually had a blast with it.

At first glance, most people would probably assume this was a sandbox game inspired by Grand Theft Auto, but it’s actual an extremely linear game, heavily scripted and very cinematic. You go through the 12 missions, and shoot the bajeezus out of the same 5 guys about a thousand times. You move with the left stick and aim by swiping the screen. There are sprint and crouch buttons to help with cover. Something interesting is the addition of a right side virtual stick. This is your slow-mo stick. You can press it like a button to go into Bullet Time mode, or you can flick it in any direction and do a slow motion dive, busting some caps all the way down. The game feels a lot more like a Max Payne, or Jon Woo’s Stranglehold.

The controls take some getting used to, but they’re very manageable. To break up the repetitive action, there are several quick time events in the game. You tap, swipe, and do other random gestures to perform simple tasks from opening gates and interrogating people to awesome things like all-out chase scenes. The soundtrack and general sound design really complement the game play, and I generally loved the music that would play. Hearing muffled music only to kick a door down and have it start blasting along with enemy gunfire is very effective.

The game has plenty of flaws. The combat gets insanely repetitive, and it’s a bit too easy on Easy mode. Playing on Easy mode, I completed the game in less than two hours. I’m sure the harder difficulties will extend that time though. When I collected my 700th shotgun round, I was pretty confident about the rest of the game. Some of the character models and animations are hysterical. Your daughter is a hideous creature, and the running animation is choppy and awkward. Sometimes it honestly looks like everyone is in the middle of a Benny Hill chase scene. Still, this is a very focused experience, and it doesn’t aspire to be more than it needs to be. There’s even a multi-player mode which was actually pretty fun. There is both Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, disguised as Cops and Gangstas. This is a seven dollar app, and one of the best Gameloft has done in my book. Check it out.

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