Early last month Activision surprised everyone with the release of Call of Duty: Strike Team ($6.99), but perhaps more surprising than unleashing a new entry in one of the biggest video game franchises in the world without any prior warning was how brilliantly Strike Team was crafted for the touchscreen. At any given time, you could switch between the normal first-person view and a top-down view, the latter letting your control your team of soldiers via line-drawing and tap gestures. First-person shooter virtual controls have always been finicky for some folks, so an option to play the game from the alternate perspective was a welcome one. Plus, it added to the strategy of each mission in a way that not even the console Call of Duty games could do. We really enjoyed Strike Team in our review for these reasons and more.
Today, Call of Duty: Strike Team received its first update. Sadly, it doesn’t contain any sort of multiplayer functionality, a hallmark of the series and something fans have been clamoring for, nor does it contain any new single-player missions. The most significant change in this update is that all the Survival maps, which previously had to be unlocked through play, are now unlocked for everybody right off the bat. This is a nice feature as, given the lack of multiplayer, the Survival maps are the game’s main source of replayability.
The rest of the update consists of optimizations. Strike Team has been optimized for the beefed up hardware of the iPhone 5s, though similar to Infinity Blade III and the Sky Gamblers games it’s really hard to pick out exactly what looks improved visually. It was a pretty stellar looking game to begin with, you know? They’ve also improved performance on older devices, specifically the iPad 2 and iPad mini, the iPhone 4s, and the 5th generation iPod touch. Finally, the overall app size has been decreased, which is really nice as Strike Team is one of the larger apps in the App Store and device space is always at a premium.
While this first update to Strike Team doesn’t have any mind-blowing new features, I’m at least glad Activision sees fit to update the game at all, unlike some of their other games (cough Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 cough). Hopefully in future updates we’ll see more levels and maybe even some multiplayer functionality, but as it is now if you somehow missed out on Strike Team before then it’s definitely one you want to check out.