Impressions: Modern Combat: Domination

Downloadable titles are indeed a mixed bag. On one hand, you have some truly spectacular offerings that are a great value for the money and exemplary of what the console is capable of. Some, on the other hand, aren’t worth the time they take to download. No matter the case, it’s always impressive to see what improvements are constantly being made. Mobile dev Gameloft has taken advantage of console downloadable constraints to bring the latest installment of their popular smartphone nod to Modern Warfare and the Call of Duty series, Modern Combat: Domination. Complete with Move support, this is an interesting port that brings some intriguing ideas to the table, but ultimately strikes out as just another cookie-cutter “modern” shooter with little to offer.

When going down the checklist for generic combat shooters, first you must evaluate the maps. Modern Combat: Domination does offer a laundry list of samey, bland locations that we’ve seen time and time again – jungles, blank deserts, etc. Thankfully these maps are quite large and don’t really allow for much sniping or camping – two pet peeves of mine and the bane of my online existence. Shipyards and tunnels allow players to run and gun as much as they please, letting FPS newbies and pros alike rack up the kills without worrying too much about the dangers closed-in maps pose. I did appreciate this aspect, as well as certain game types built especially for the included maps. It’s obvious that maps as seen in similar games are built leaning toward specific modes of play, but you rarely see maps created for a specific purpose.

When you get right down to it, Modern Combat: Domination is very much the same FPS you’ve played before, several times over. It’s fluid, however, and I did enjoy the fact that you never need to set foot online to play with rude, rule-abandoning strangers with modded controllers. Domination actually offers something not usually seen in games too often these days: bots. You can play with as many other players as you like, and still earn levels as well as trophies. I applaud Gameloft for thinking of the gamers (myself included) who don’t always feel like mingling with the online riffraff. This is something I wish I could see happening with other games in the future.

In addition, I found the money system quite refreshing. Rather than being given equipment via leveling and cashing in experience, players must purchase it by themselves. This directly correlates to your skill and ability in battle, and if they’re not up to snuff, you’ll quickly find yourself with a meager arsenal. You can’t pilfer your opponents’ weapons, so that your skill is connected to closely to perks being unlocked in-game is a very interesting dynamic. It’s much fairer for those who have far less time to invest, for them to have a fair shot at obtaining better equipment as long as they continue to perform well in battle.

Still, even with these interesting augments, blasé maps and lackluster combat keep me from being able to wholeheartedly recommend Modern Combat: Domination as a viable replacement for weeknight brawls over the ‘net. Its Move support makes it a delectable option for those who purchased the peripheral though my experience with the game was via the standard DualShock 3 controller. Gameloft has served up a bevy of forward-thinking ideas here with their gutsy move, bringing a mobile series to a console, but uninspired, bland gameplay is a disappointment in contrast. Still, the price is right, but I’d like to see these ideas made to work in different games or a different genre – not just a copycat of the ones we’ve already played. Are you listening, Gameloft?

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