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Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour Review
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Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, the latest edition of Gameloft’s Call of Duty-style FPS, is now available from the app store. Featuring graphics, sound, and gameplay that continue to push the envelope for mobile gaming, Modern Combat 4 is an engaging and immersive juggernaut that absolutely blows us away.

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour Pros:

  • Amazing graphics, terrific animations, and action, action, action
  • Soundtrack is immersive and powerful
  • Controls are familiar, responsive, and customizable
  • Upgradeable weaponry via credits earned in-game
  • Fantastic Multiplayer mode with 12-player matches, 8 game modes, exciting environments, and lag-free play

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour Cons:

  • Swiping actions don’t register properly, leading to cheap deaths

Modern Combat 4 provides both a single-player Campaign mode as well as an online Multiplayer experience that is second to none. We decided to check in with the Campaign first to get a flavor for the sights and sounds of this go-round before diving headlong into head-shotting global gamers. After choosing Easy mode (figured we’d leave the other 3 difficulty modes for later), we were dumped onto a beach for a wicked Saving Private Ryan-type eye-opener. The flurry of action hit us like a Mack truck, freezing us in our tracks as bullets and artillery shells rained down across the sky. We didn’t know where to begin, who was shooting at us, or where to go initially. After a few moments of mild panic, we regained our composure, reassured ourselves that it was only a game, and got down to the task of blasting baddies. The first couple levels serve as a lengthy tutorial, giving us hands-on time with basics like looking, moving, sprinting, shooting, crouching, aiming down the sights, tossing grenades, calling in airstrikes, firing RPGs, hacking computers, shooting helicopters from an erratically-driven vehicle, and remote-controlling a drone in order to take out a dozen enemies. Pretty much everything that you do affords you the opportunity to earn credits, which can be traded in for various permanent upgrades, temporary boosts, and weapon attachments, all of which can have a drastic effect on how you play the game. Tricking out your weapons is a major component of the game that offers huge customization potential.

The storyline revolves around a crazy bastard hellbent on seeing America burn while kidnapping our President. Your job, of course, is to ensure that he does not succeed. Oddly enough, you go back and forth between controlling the good guys and playing as the terrorists, which we found somewhat unsettling. Regardless, the action is fast and furious, with the storyline changing things up frequently to prevent you from feeling like you are doing the same thing over and over again. Level length is on par with what we’ve found in previous iterations, with levels taking between 20-30 minutes on average to complete. There are plenty of checkpoints so that, even when you do die, you won’t have to backtrack too far to get a second chance. Most of our deaths actually occurred when we encountered a situation where we were suddenly required to swipe the screen in a specific direction to attack an enemy. Failure to swipe in a timely manner or failure to register our swipe properly led to a handful of cheap deaths. We could have done without these bits.

The graphical prowess of this latest release cannot be overstated: it looks amazing. The ragdoll physics are especially noteworthy, providing satisfying explosions and death animations. Character movements don’t exhibit the stiffness of previous versions. Everything runs smoothly and AI behaviors are realistic, albeit still a bit confusing. It’s not unheard of to happen upon a terrorist and put a gun to his temple while he continues to train his gaze upon a far off doorway, presumably waiting for your arrival. Unobtrusive arrows lead you along the story’s linear path, even offering helpful advice such as follow or move to indicate the action you should take. A mini-map in the screen’s upper left corner alerts you to threats in the area. Weapons are swapped and reloaded by swiping or tapping on the weapon indicator in the upper right corner. Tiny buttons for crouching, sprinting, using iron sights, and tossing grenades adorn the screen’s bottom and right side. Three different control schemes are available for use, though we stuck with the left side movement pad, right side viewpoint swiping, and dedicated right side fire button. We did have a tendency to hit the fire button accidentally, though you can customize the layout to place buttons in positions that work for you.  One cool feature is the auto-melee ability that allows you to take out an enemy in close proximity with your knife by tapping the fire button when you are right next to them. The audio quality is terrific, creating a soundscape that effectively puts you in the middle of the action. It’s an impressive package, to say the least.

Replay value is outstanding. While the Campaign is engaging enough to warrant replays, the Multiplayer mode is where it’s at in the Modern Combat series. Despite our tendency to get fragged more than we’d care to admit, it’s ridiculously fun. Matches can support up to a dozen players at once, and there are plenty of game modes to keep things interesting, including the usual deathmatches, capture the flags, and the like. Multiple maps give you the opportunity to duke it out in interesting settings full of vantage points, hiding spots, and other environmental variables. Ranked matches allow you to earn credits and increase your player level via XP. Alternatively, you can play custom matches or take on friends via local wi-fi in battles that don’t affect you ranking positively or negatively. Gameloft Live! is utilized for setting up online matches. A universal app for the typical premium price tag of $6.99, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour is a must-have 5-Dimple stud.

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-12-14T01:51:13+00:00 rating 5.0 out of 5

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