It is hard to expect much from a shooter that gets its name from smashing two Call of Duty titles together. Yet Modern Combat: Blackout still manages to be disappointing.
Modern Combat: Blackout is a generic military shooter with little to set it apart from the crowd. The Switch is lacking a major game in this genre, but this title’s lack of polish and absence of fun rules it out of filling that niche. It consists of a sloppy campaign mode of identical challenges repeated in different locations and an online multiplayer that fails to capture the fun of Call of Duty that it is clearly aiming for.
The plot is generic for a shooter. Terrorist attacks and false flags are the backdrop to your missions. Dodgy accents aside, it features a healthy amount of voice acting. However, these scenes have little to do with gameplay, which jars the flow of the game. The main thing going against Modern Combat: Blackout, however, is that it’s a mobile port and controls haven’t translated well. Aiming is stiff even with the sensitivity cranked all the way up and motion controls are only usable when aiming down the sights. That last bit is an improvement over the normal controls which is a nice Switch-specific touch, but the controls overall still aren’t fantastic.
There isn’t a jump button; you just kind of glide from area to area. It rarely feels like you’re actually interacting with the world around you, just moving through it. Your character doesn’t possess any depth, you’re just a pair of disembodied arms and a gun.
The campaign mode is shallow, with the same level designs repeated over and over. You may as well not have freedom of movement, as you move for a few seconds at a time between checkpoints then enemies rush in and you shoot them. Rinse and repeat. The worst offender is the Breach levels. Each opens with a short scene of a door being kicked in, followed by a bullet-time segment to take out attackers or detonators. These sequences come in multiples of five, each nearly identical. It is like endless repetition of a joke you didn’t find funny the first time.
Enemy AI is odd. If you shoot one enemy, another immediately takes his position in the level. You can kill the new one without adjusting your shot, repeating this until every enemy is killed. It makes gameplay feel less like a fun shooter and more like committing an atrocity against lemmings. After this, you push your weightless disembodied arms past the evidence from your future war crimes trial and repeat this in the next area.
Multiplayer is better than the campaign. The controls are still dodgy and matchmaking is difficult, but if you can find a game with enough players, and that’s a big if, there’s some enjoyment to be had but you will have more fun playing multiplayer on mobile.
The look of Modern Combat: Blackout is best described as serviceable. There is nothing breath-taking, and most areas are fairly generic blasted-up streets. Visually, it’s hard to tell the series originates on Android but it isn’t distinctive enough to be of merit.
Modern Combat: Blackout isn’t worth its price tag. It is a poorly ported mobile title, a cash-in Switch port that will only satisfy the shallowest of shooter fans.
Modern Combat: Blackout £19.99
Modern Combat: Blackout is a soulless experience. The campaign is repetitive and dull. The Switch might be lacking a military shooter, but Modern Combat: Blackout is still best left on mobile devices.