Gameloft’s Modern Combat series, like the Call of Duty’s and Battlefields before it, is usually a tale of two games. On the single player side, an action-packed (and typically short) adventure with a fantastical story typified the experience while multiplayer is a fast-paced endeavor with plenty of fragging accompanied with some sort of progression system. Modern Combat 5: Blackout [$6.99] fits the bill on the single player side (as evidence by our review), but does a great job expanding the series beyond what’s typically been expected on mobile on the multiplayer side. In fact, when it comes to multiplayer FPS titles on iOS, at this point there’s MC5, and there’s everything else.

‘Bigger and better’ is probably the best way to succinctly describe how Modern Combat 5 approaches its multiplayer. Maps are larger and feature more multi-leveled arenas as well as more places to hide and prepare for battle. There are four classes now, each with their own weapons to unlock and ability trees to invest in. For example, the Heavy uses shotguns and grenade launches and can be trained in damage reduction while the Sniper (aside from the obvious sniper rifle specialty) can be trained to launched decoys in multiplayer. There’s enough variety in terms of traits and level selection that makes each class viable in multiplayer.

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Speaking of variety, I was impressed with the large number of weapons and attachments that can be unlocked in Modern Combat 5. Classes start out with only the first tier weapon unlocked, with subsequent tiers and attachments unlocked via experience, which is earned for doing pretty much anything in the game. Experience also works towards an overall level, which governs distribution of SP (which is used to unlock the above mentioned class traits). An important facet to consider is that there is no IAP in Modern Combat 5; all experience  and the associated upgrades must be earned in-game.

Multiplayer modes in MC5 are varied, but don’t showcase anything that hasn’t already been seen in another game. Basics such as free-for-all, capture the flag and team battle join up with VIP, which challenges players to find and take out the marked player on the other team (a mode that’s increasingly becoming popular with recent games). A Squad system allows players to team up and participate in squad-based team battles (which generates a square MP rating) but doesn’t do much otherwise. It’d be nice to see some squad-based progression unlocks to make things more interesting.

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Of course, game modes, maps and customizability are all well and good, but doesn’t amount to much if the game itself doesn’t play well. Thankfully, MC5’s multiplayer players pretty awesome. The game plays incredibly smooth, even more so than its single player component (most likely due to the fact MP minimizes the occurrence of visual effects to dedicate more resources to framerate). Controls work as well as they can for being touch-based, with plenty of on-screen button customization and gyroscopic aiming which works better in this sequel. I’ve also encountered next to no lag in the dozens of MP games played since launch.

Most importantly, playing MC5’s multiplayer is simply fun. Since maps are bigger and better designed, there’s more of an opportunity to engage in an experience that has the potential to be more than simply ‘respawn, instantly die (or kill), and repeat.’ I’m also a huge fan of the unified progression system as not only are there plenty of weapons and attachments to unlock  but there’s also ample opportunity to customize play styles by choosing which of the four classes to invest SP points in. It’s also pretty cool that both SP and MP missions generate experience towards the same progression tree.

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My complaints with MC5’s multiplayer are few, but are worth mentioning nonetheless. Matchmaking could see some improvement as I’ve had a few occasions of being put into near empty maps (or even worse, being put into a map where a winner is declared seconds after I join). In addition, while I loved the maps I really hope that future updates include more choices to its current limited selection. Finally, its been mentioned in our single player review but MFi support is sorely missing in a multiplayer game of this caliber and I really hope it gets patched in sooner rather than later.

MFi support aside, having complaints limited to things such as map selection and matchmaking goes to just how well multiplayer is implemented in Modern Combat 5. Each year Gameloft works towards trying to get its Modern Combat multiplayer experience as close to console FPSes as possible. While it probably doesn’t reach those lofty heights, this is still the most complete multiplayer FPS experience I’ve encountered on iOS and certainly sets the bar for other developers to follow. Great maps, tons of weapons and attachments, a decent amount of class customization and some good variety in gameplay modes makes Modern Combat 5 an awesome multiplayer experience. I’d argue that it’s worth the price of admission just on that aspect alone.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • DuckyShot

    There are some things here and there that could need fixing but overall I have been having a lot of fun with this game :D.

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  • Der-Kleine

    I'm surprised that the review didn't really mention the lack of maps and modes, the fact that some maps are simply too big (It can sometimes literally take minutes to find an enemy on Canals), spawn points that are horrible a little bit too often (Spawning close to an enemy in an inconvenient way once in a while is ok, but not to the extent that it happens in MC5), completely unbalanced weapons/attachments/classes system (People who have played for longer get guns/attachments/skills that simply make them better than new players, giving them an unfair advantage), Grenade spam and fairly frequent lag issues (I'm pretty sure my <30ms ping 54 mbit connection should be enough for MC5, right?) which constantly lead to frustrating, unfair deaths that simply can't be prevented.

    Yes, it's fun, but it's far from being a good competetive, fair multiplayer FPS.

    • Guest

      That actually was mentioned in the post "In addition, while I loved the maps I really hope that future updates include more choices to its current limited selection."

      • Der-Kleine

        That's why I said "didn't really mention".

      • chuckfinley

        That's is like saying "a little bit pregnant" or "somewhat dead". You are or aren't; they mentioned it or not.

      • Holcman

        Maybe they nonchalantly mentioned one of the many issues he said, but they still didn't say anything about the other issues.

    • AlphaGamer007

      The trailer was overly done and the real graphics of the game sucks. MC4 had better graphics; in MC5 I'm experiencing server disconnections on a Quantum ISP. The interface of the game has been dumbed down and the whole campaign is based on WIFI. You have to have the WIFI enabled to actually go to the next mission -- which is a pain in the ass.

      There aren't enough game modes available; we only have a handful. Where's demolition!?

      The spawn system of MC5 is horrible, I've spawned twice next to an enemy; gun shots and grenade explosions can be heard very closely even if you aren't in range. This pisses me of the most. I actually thought this game was gonna be better, but I'm disappointed -- come on Gameloft you could do better!

      • christian foggy III

        I'm playing on Android and turn my gfx settings to max, MC4 comes nowhere close. And there is HID controller support also for Android which makes it even better.

      • Themostunclean

        GFX were the least of his concerns. In any case, on super HD devices the resolution is noticeably reduced causing a lack of crispness the DOES make it look worse. I put the two side by side on a high-end device and despite some extra polish on MC5, MC4 wins out simply because it's more crisp and clear. Not to mention the animations, particle effects and shadows are all incredibly cheaply implemented, but that's just GLoft's crappy engine in general.

  • Jarvis

    The game is great, but I agree it lacks choices. You might as well pick the last gun in every class or just unlock the Red-34 and 2-3 shot your enemies! I'm dissapointed that Gameloft has decided to kill of a whole community of snipers, while the only reason a good amount of old-generation players stayed was because of them. The lack of choices is sad, but the fact that you are only limited to "team battle" in squad battles is really mind boggling. I think this is the only Modern Combat to NOT have custom matches. I think a pretty well admired game mode is Search & Destroy and out of the 5 Modern Combats, Gameloft STILL LACKS this game mode in their games. Gameloft definitely has ALOT of work to do when it comes to future updates, till then this game is a 6/10 in my book.

    Also forgot to mention how easy it is to spawn trap enemies on CTF and how players have no incentive to play other classes besides assault because of how OP/broken the Red-34 and perks in that class is. Also there is no point of a rating system if people who are 1000~ rating and below level 10 are still getting matched with level 40+ with Red 34's.

    • TheGrimCreeper

      They do have 'Sudden Death' mode, though.

  • Themostunclean

    I bought this mainly to support a premium game from a major publisher but doubt I'll be playing it more than the couple of hours I've already put in to it. Despite all the bells and whistles, probably the most shallow and boring FPS I've ever played. It's still just an awful GL clone at its core and it probably doesn't help that the franchises it's cloning have become awful themselves.

  • AiiR_Package

    Alright, besides canals, this game is FUN. Really fun. I don't care about weapon imbalance, I don't care about ruined spawn logic, I don't care about canals (well, MAYBE just canals), but, as long as a game is fun, as long as I enjoy the game, such as this one, I'm all for it. It's why I play games. To have fun. Well done Gameloft, You've really done it this time. :)

  • videba

    Not worth 4,5 stars, could have been so much better with all the time they got. This is just a worse mc4. "Better map design" show a picture of rooftop(nice creativity with the map names btw) possibly de worst fps map I have ever seen. Skill trees with skills that don't belong in a shooter but in a mmorpg or something. Bad and recycled animations, and very little creativity

  • RamazUltra

    I was gonna write my own review in this comment section but a lot of people have pretty much already said all of my gripes. The Red-34 is way to OP, the map selection sucks in the first hour of playing multiplayer you have already played all maps at least twice, Canals is for some reason like 2 times as big as other maps and is a pain to play small games on. I give this game a 10/10 still though. Because it has gotten me to play 6+ hours and the game is just a blast to play. Everyone should pick up the best FPS on IOS right now.

  • terrence92

    Game is good, just a little note I like to add besides everything else is that it isn't much fun to be starting in a capture the flag match where the other team is already winning... Would like to wait a little bit longer for a round and start from the beginning...

  • taiga97

    I have enjoyed this game a lot, but the review is right it's missing content that it should have. I do think assault class is op, I use sniper class but can hardly beat people using red. I also miss sticky grenades from Mc4. This game needs more maps and modes, it's gonna need more weapons cuz there aren't enough, and I get trapped in walls quite often. Out of ten I'd give it a six or seven.

  • TheGrimCreeper

    The game feels too much like battlefield. The only downfalls are having to wait to deploy back into a match, and the fact that they've killed snipers. The way the game plays, snipers might as well rush too, lol. Also, why ass bolt action snipers if they're not going to have a bolt cycle animation?

  • Jake7905

    Finally, a good reason for Gameloft to require an internet connection: a multiplayer game mode.

  • spokentruths772

    This game has to be the most OVERRATED piece of crap on the ios and google play store and you guys just eat it up

    • Ninja_Blade_Diego

      I agree. They get everyone hyped up with fancy trailers and promotional artwork and the reality is that MC5 was a fail. I do believe tho that the idea was good and the developers intentions were good but they should've spent more time to further refine the game. In my opinion MC4 is by far more superior in gameplay, graphics, quality and overall replay value.... IAP and all lol

  • chief78

    Ok, did everyone miss the fact that GL had a day 1 MP map download? If that doesn't scream money-hungry, I don't know what will.
    And no MFi in 2014 for a FPS is just the most stupid oversight (or laziness in lack of implementation)....

  • Emotive

    All I can see is Call of Duty and nothing else.

    • Emotive

      Why the dislike haha, Call of Duty introduced Squad play and exp with Ghosts and now MC5 has it. Hell, even MC took the Call of Duty Modern Warfare name and changed Warfare to Combat.

  • surirav

    I missing creatie game like in mc3, this was not in mc4.
    But game look good, but Some Modes are missing from mc3.

  • Steve Tysl

    You didn't hear? Gameloft clearly state before the game was released that MC5 only has a few game modes but will add more in future updates its pretty much everyone's fault for being so damn imapatient they kinda had to pull the release to fix the game up then everyone was pissed so they rushed it the game did arrive one-two days before it's original release date

    • Jacob007

      Source? Not trying to be rude, just curious.

      • Steve Tysl

        Check out Gameloft Facebook page

    • Der-Kleine

      Last time I checked it didn't say I was half buying, half preordering a game on the iTunes/Google Play store page...

  • Bradley Groot

    Been pretty much a never ending slaughter fest on the Nvidia Shield, really impressed with the controller support, it feels even more refined than MC4 did on the Moga. Probably Gamelofts best controller support of any of their games.

    But I'm now pretty positive it's putting me in matches with touch screen users, so it's getting a little boring it's just me rolling them endlessly. There normally be one or two other controller users in the game so it becomes a match of who can farm the most kills the fastest.

    Not very impressed with the performance on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 though, I get much lower performance in multiplayer and the game doesn't look nearly as good as on the shield(aliasing resolution issues). The Moga controller support in Mode B is pretty great too, wish my phone had a high performance mode.

    This game is gonna be EPIC on the new Shield tablet, wish I could get one as I'm sure this game will look great at 1080p(whereas the shield portable is only 720p). Search Modern combat 5 controller review on youtube if you want to see video I captured of how it plays!

    • surirav

      Is not your not e3 with high specs is not optimized like ios

  • tommet

    When they add mfi support, I'm in...

  • caomhan

    On it's own, this game is a decent FPS... However, compared to the previous iterations.... It just doesn't compare. It feels a lot less smooth and nuanced then mc4 (which is my personal favorite) and the framerate is not consistent even on my iphone 5. Aside from a few fancy particle effects, the rest of the visuals don't seem as though they need this kind of power, just saying.
    P.S. Single player and multiplayer just don't mix

  • Mekklesack

    Well I know this is the multiplayer review, but after completing the single player campaign (just a moment ago) in this game's defense, the visuals are genuinely spectacular (especially in the final area, which kinda reminds me of the first level of Perfect Dark, and evoking that game is never a bad thing). It definitely has me pumped for what ios8 and Metal can bring to the table. That and the music is heart pumping! I'm still very, very miffed about the blow to the movement speed when carrying a main weapon for most classes, but Gameloft delivered when it came to the graphics just like they promised. And of course multiplayer visuals rarely ever match single player visuals in any FPS, on any platform (not that I was expecting them to). I've come to tolerate these controls for multiplayer especially since (I find) we're all in the same "slooooow" boat. (Still MC5 is nowhere near as tight as MC4 in terms of responsive movement speed and control, seriously). The movement speed is the main thing I desire that they would tweak in the future update, otherwise having spent significant time with the game, I've come around, a bit. I do dig it, a little... But I like me some shoot-y, shoot-y games anyway so... And I like looking at those shiny walls and floors and Tony Stark look a-likes... what..... :P

  • ramireo

    I've already mentioned this, but framerate in multiplayer is AWFUL. I'm playing on an ipad Mini retina, so it shouldn't be this bad.
    First of all, the game never holds in 30fps, not smooth.
    Every time I zoom in to aim it drops like 5 frames, so it's really difficult to hit anything since I need precision.
    The map on Venice is unplayable. In the main area, with the stairs, it drops to 15 or something like that, unplayable.
    In the map of the roofs, the fog seems to come and go for no reason, like a bug, and when it's there, framerate drops too.

    So, unless they fix this, especially framerate while aiming (looking through the iron sights, for instance) I can't play it, wich is a shame, since the maps are well designed. Streets it's awesome!

    Anyone else suffering this?

    • Mekklesack

      The streets ARE awesome. The problem with the Venice level is not that it's too big, it's that the classes are all too slow. What's more annoying is getting a squad request moments after re-spawning in the center of the courtyard between the sniper nests and the stairwell stopping you mid-decision making, while the frame rate "dips" to un-playable speeds (you're "choppier" and "fram-ier" than a grey alien speeding towards you in a dark corridor at night). You can't run because your legs are submerged in tar, at least you think so, but no those are just the legs the developers gave you. So death comes and drops you right back again into the center of the courtyard, just like some unlucky Tom Cruise character in some upcoming summer blockbuster or whatever... :P You're doomed to repeat this nightmare regardless of updates, because "it's not a bug, IT'S A FEATURE!" Buy a controller you stupids! Just forget you never experienced this frustration before in any previous Modern Combat or in any other triple-A FPS on any other platform. $99.99 will make this "all" go away. The new form of F2P is manufactured frustration. It works with meds, let's put it into "everything!"

      • Guest

        Yeah

  • Blamlesshook

    The game is good, it lags a hell of a lot, it's online always and in future updates the will fix it just like they did in mc4

    If anyone bought mc4 when it first came out you know what I mean in future updates this game will be great it's a waiting game (:
    It's a great game with great potential in future updates

  • Thebriefcaseshow

    I've been playing this game since it came out on a galaxy s4 moga pro hdmi to my flat-screen Smh I love this game not better than Mc4 but it's par the graphics is par to mc4 as well my thing how do I change my name? Anyways I believe with the upcoming update will get this game where it need to be.... Your now tuned into Thebriefcaseshow.....

  • sfbayrealtor

    Does this version support iOS AND android multiplayer together online via the internet?

    With MC4 via internet play, ios devices can only play against other ios devices (although on a local wifi network you can mix ios and android devices). I'm on an iPad and would love to battle my android friends remotely ;).

  • AlexMilo

    MC5

    So far I have met 0 hackers, probably because of the game constantly checking through the internet. When it comes to hackers, MC1-4 was a pain in the ***. This is in no way negative and I feel bad for people complaining about it because the game would be horrible without this feature. I play the game on iPad 3 (which has downgraded graphics) and it's still beautiful, so you guys who are saying MC4 was better, then go play that, we dont need you. :)

    Through my experience of the game I have put together a pros and cons list:

    Pros:
    •Higher polygon count than before (models are much less jagged)
    •Very awesome knife animations (makes knifing a lot more satisfying)
    •Nice and simple menu layout
    •Cool and more realistic weapons
    •Crossover between SP and MP works surprisingly well
    •Good soundeffects overall
    •Killstreaks works well
    •Great soundtrack
    •Experience and ranking system works a lot better than before

    Cons:
    •Killed players disappear too fast
    •Too small variation of weapon animations + some are poorly made
    •A lot of unecessary swearing in SP
    •Multiplayer battles should be longer (or adjustable)
    •Killsigns are too simple and boring
    •Field of View should be increased (or adjustable)
    •Allmost all the snipers look the same
    •No ability to pause downloads (causes connection problems and lag)
    •No jumping (feeling of less freedom to explore maps)
    •No LMGs (I'm really hoping they'll add a Support Class)
    •The voice acting in SP is hard to take serious
    •Progress is not saved if you're being disconnected
    •SP is too short and confusing, the ending was basically just a cutscene (but we will probably get more because of that very last part in the ending)

    Sadly theres a bit too many cons compared to pros, but the game is still fresh out of the water, lets see how they will update the game in the future.
    I dont want to mention Game Modes or Maps as a pro or con because they'll definitly add those in the future. Really hoping for Bombing/Rush- and/or a Gun Game Gamemode. Snow and desert maps would be cool.

  • madreviewer

    ,
    Mc5 I remind me of the one that came out on the major console

  • madreviewer

    That only thing good about that game is the knife animation, after that everything fos wrong.
    The animations. And the map design are just primitive.
    The maps are not suited for multiplayer.
    Never before a game is imposing side quest on a player.
    You have to finish some side mission to advance in the story.
    Mc5 have dead trigger written all over it.
    The side mission and even the guns play.
    I can't believe that I had waiting for years to play such a game.
    Mc5 tried to explore places where mc1-4 did not dare to look at.
    That's a great thing, however gameloft failed in making there new idea impelling to their fan. At least me.
    I am a hardcore gamer. That's why I liked gameloft games, however it seems like gameloft is turning away from console quality gaming to a more casual gamer audience. You don't believe me check out their new released games and upcoming ones.
    I can't wait to se what gameloft is working on, maybe a candy crush like. (^0^)

    • AlexMilo

      Sure MC5 has its flaws but I dont agree on all of your examples.
      The sidequest in Singleplayer is what makes MC5 a more unique game and is by far more a 'pro' than a 'con' to me.
      The only thing MC5 and Dead Trigger has in common is that they're both new fps games and the SP layout is basically the same (but that's only because it fits mobile, dont fix what aint broken?).
      You cant really hope for hardcore games on mobile, that doesnt really make sense. You do know that games like Call of Duty arent considered to be hardcore, right? But MC5 is by miles more 'hardcore' than any of the other titles in the series.
      But damn right the knife animations are the best thing ever. What I miss the most in this game though is LMGs, jumping, MC4 controls (for better sniping), unique animations for AR and SMGs and better and longer animations in general.

      I do think that MC5 lacks a soul, but it is one of few Gameloft games that has showed it's worth to return to. I have only felt that with MC3 and Nova3.

      (Just realised this post is a bit harsh, sorry about that.)

  • tentonmushi

    This game baffles me. MC4 and MC3 were pretty good but this is like something glu or an indie studio would put out, it's just a joke to play. the visuals in MC4 were also much better. I'm guessing the dev team changed and this was the best the new team could do.. bad move gameloft!!! no one that plays this is ever going to buy 6!!!

Modern Combat 5: Blackout Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 4.5