Game Title: Modern Combat Blackout
Company: Gameloft
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Cloud Save Support: No
Download: 3.8 GB

First Person Shooters are a bit of a scarce thing on the NIntendo Switch, but the same can be said for handhelds, as a whole. The PS Vita didn’t have many, nor did the 3DS. You won’t see every new Call of Duty game coming out on the go, nor are you seeing constant Battlefield games on them either.

To help fill the gap that Doom and Wolfenstein have started to fill, a mobile FPS franchise has made its way to the Switch, ditching a lot of the more mobile-heavy features and optimizing the game for a console and proper handheld experience.

So, here is my review of Modern Combat: Blackout for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

modern 2 - story

Blackout centers around Cayden Phoenix, a freelance military contractor as he informs his supervisor of a terrorist attack on Venice and the big cover-up behind it. The story follows the two as they uncover the truth and make a move to try and prevent another World War from taking place.

The story is shown in a very cinematic and interesting way, but the overall story isn’t terribly exciting. The more I played the game, the less I was interested in the story over the actual gameplay. It’s not bad and has some pretty nice voice work, but is nothing to write home about.

Gameplay

modern 4 - gameplay

Modern Combat: Blackout is a first-person shooter with some light RPG and customization elements thrown into the mix. Across the game, you’ll be navigating 3D areas and shooting down enemy units both in single player and multiplayer matches.

First of all, this is a Switch port of Modern Combat 5 from Mobile Platforms, and it’s received a lot of early criticism for that. So let’s talk about what’s different between Mobile MC5 and Switch MC5:

– No Energy System: The Missions-per-Time limitation of the iOS version was removed for the Switch release
– Armor is Cosmetic: The Stats attached to Armor that turned Mobile Multiplayer into a heavy “Pay to Win” situation have been removed, hence balancing the game’s online multiplayer.
– No IAPs – The ability to purchase credits via micro-transactions have been removed and Credit gained from mission has been increased for matches, be it Single Player or Multiplayer.

In other words, all of the big restricting and “Mobile” elements of the game have been removed and fixed, making it feel far less like a mobile shooter and more like a console shooter.

modern 5 - modes

In terms of Game Modes, you have a lengthy Story / Single Player Campaign, a host of Multiplayer options (both local and online), and some customization-heavy options with the Credit Shop for Cosmetics and Daily Challenges / Events for you to manage.

Single Player is the biggest mode you’ve got. It’s got 6 chapters, each filled with Story and Side missions, offering standard combat missions and more simplified sniping/defending missions. They also have their own special Multiplayer Maps/Modes outside of the actual Multiplayer Mode.

When you dive into Multiplayer, you have a good number of options as well. You can make custom matches in Local or Online, or can make Squads comprised of you and other players and play together against other squads in various game modes.

There’s also a fair amount of customization and growth in all of these game modes. You get Credits for the Cosmetic Shop and experience for leveling up both your rank and your weapons when you finish missions. The latter is interesting, as leveling up weapons you use will unlock upgrades for them, rather than having to spend currency to buy them outright.

modern 6 - customization

In terms of gameplay and combat, it is mostly typical FPS gameplay here. You can’t jump unless you get a prompt, but you wander around 3D environments and use a variety of firearms to take out enemy units, throw grenades, and interact with objects like defusing bombs. This is the same, though there are many different types of missions you do in campaign, from standard exploration/combat to stationary sniping missions with you covering a group of allies.

Although the lack of jumping is strange, it overall feels very solid and fluid from switching weapons to aiming down sights and shooting enemies. It also comes together for a pretty good amount of content and length here. Though the game does cost a good $20, the campaign alone will get you a good 9-10 hours of time from start to finish.

Controls

Controlling the game is one of the really nice things here. The only touch controls you have are for menus, and there are motion controls enabled for aiming down your sights, which are very responsive and work extremely fluidly and well.

You can move around with the Left Analog Stick and the Right Analog Stick moves the sights/camera. The Arrow Buttons / D-Pad can cycle through a lot of things, from grenades to the mini-map. The R trigger is used for throwing grenades while the ZL and ZR triggers are used for looking down the sights and firing your equipped weapon.

With the face buttons, you use A to crouch and B to interact with options. X swaps weapons and Y lets you pick up weapons during missions/matches.

Presentation

modern 3 - presy

Graphically, the game looks pretty nice. There’s a lot of detail and it is very smooth in both docked and undocked modes.

Performance is mostly good, but for a couple little hiccups. There are occasional frame drops during gameplay where the frame-rate will freeze for a second or two. This doesn’t happen often but I did see it at least a few times a day.

The other issue is with crashing. I’ve had a lot of crashes when navigating through the menus or when resuming the game from the Switch’s Home Menu. This has always happened in menus, though, so no need to worry about it happening in the middle of a match.

Battery Life

Given how nice this game looks, I wasn’t expecting a lot of Battery. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 43 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 58 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 03 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 12 minutes

This isn’t bad. Not great, but definitely could be worse.

In conclusion, Modern Combat: Evolved is a fun shooting game that looks and feels fluid and solid. On the downside, the story isn’t that spectacular and there are some minor issues with the game’s performance. But overall, this is a solid shooter with all of the Pay-to-Win and Mobile microtransactions completely removed for this console release.

Final Score: 8/10