Call of Duty: Strike Team, a slick combat shooter from Activision, is now available from the app store. Noteworthy for its cool mechanic that instantly swaps first-person and top-down viewpoints whenever the mood hits, Strike Team has our full attention.
Call of Duty: Strike Team Pros:
- Terrific graphics and engaging viewpoint mechanic that swaps first-person and third-person on-the-fly
- Survival maps and challenges add replay value
- Customizable loadouts for each squad member with nice variety of guns, equipment, and perks
- UI provides plenty of buttons without cluttering the screen
- Controls are easy to get a handle on; snap-to-enemy option makes headshots easy and aiming simple
- GameCenter integration for plenty of achievements
Call of Duty: Strike Team Cons:
- Occasional input responsiveness lag
- No co-op multiplayer
Call of Duty: Strike Team packs a fairly generic storyline involving a global threat that requires you and your team to infiltrate various locales, collecting items of interest while eliminating threats. In addition to the campaign levels, there are also survival maps and challenges that task you with getting 20 kills as quickly as possible, scoring as many headshots as you can in 30 minutes, and the like. Campaign levels can be played in multiple difficulties, and you are additionally able to earn medals for completing missions, finishing within a time limit, high accuracy, etc. Your team consists of up to 4 members, each capable of being equipped with a variety of weapons and perks. As you earn XP during the course of play, you unlock even better weapons and perks (holding your breath for better sniper shots, increased grenade blast radius, etc.). You can also snag grenades, claymores, and medpacks to take into battle. Much of this requires the use of a special T currency, which is earned at a rather slow rate, though you can also spend real money to acquire large amounts.
As much fun as it is to sneak around in FPS mode and blast baddies, explore nooks, and interact with objects, switching to top-down mode adds a whole new level of fun and complexity to the game. It effectively places you within a tactical map, allowing you to control multiple teammates at once, target specific enemies, and utilize path-finding for stealthier efforts. You can also spot enemies easier and plan your attack, rather than react to the appearance of baddies in FPS mode. It almost feels like a whole new game, with a whole new set of controls. You can choose to shoot enemies or kill them stealthily via pop-up buttons. We were even able to hop into a storage bin for a makeshift hiding spot to surprise enemies, which seemed like a cool option. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles as far as setting waypoints and that sort of thing, and the lack of turn-based gameplay doesn’t give you the option to go at your own pace, since the enemies are moving around in real-time and will happen upon you while you are deciding what to do or where to go.
Graphically, Strike Team looks great, and the animations and transitions from first-person to third-person are surprisingly smooth. Button and text size are a little smaller than preferred on the iPod/iPhone, though likely a nice fit for the iPad. Enemy locations are indicated by red arrows, mission objectives are highlighted by yellow dots, and interactive objects are distinguished by blue buttons that appear when you are in close proximity. The UI provides plenty of buttons to direct your current team member as well as your squadmates. You can aim down sights, crouch, call your crew to your location, swap viewpoints, swap weapons, and reload easily with on-screen buttons. An invisible joypad controls movement in first-person, while taps and double-taps direct players as you watch from above. Dragging from a player to a location will also allow you to set pathways, with blue lines indicating a stealth route and red lines indicating your ability to be spotted. Aiming is accomplished by dragging around the right side of the screen in first-person. Buttons at either side of the screen will snap to enemies for assisted aiming, allowing for quick headshots. In top-down, you can also tap on enemies to target, allowing your players to take out the baddies once they have a clear shot or sneaking over for a stealth kill. Pinching and twisting offer zoom and viewpoint rotation, as well. There appeared to be occasional issues with input responsiveness when moving/aiming, though nothing that we’d consider game-breaking. The audio is also decent, though not spectacular.
Replay value is very good, as campaign missions offer difficulty levels, medals to earn, and items to collect. You can also attempt to play the same level strictly in one perspective or the other, or challenge yourself to complete the mission faster than your previous time. The Survival maps are a lot of fun, too, though you are locked into FPS mode without the option for a tactical top-down view. Completing waves in Survival is also a great way to earn the secondary currency. Though there are no GameCenter leaderboards, there are dozens of achievements to earn. A universal app for $6.99, Call of Duty: Strike Team is an awesome 4.5-Dimple offering.
Call of Duty: Strike Team Review,