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Review: Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Part clone and (lesser) part original, it’s not uncommon to mistake the mobile Modern Combat series for a handheld Call of Duty experience. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that publisher Gameloft depended on that.

Nowadays, Modern Combat can hold its own. I honestly don’t think I’ve played a prettier mobile game than Modern Combat 5: Blackout. That is, when I can see the game’s visuals past my gorilla hands.

Seriously, Blackout looks like it’s being streamed from my PS4 to my PS Vita, remote play-style. It’s a crisp, detailed world you find yourself in… basically, wasted as you bro-up and shoot things in the face. It could also be true that the game is super gorgeous cause it’s being viewed on my teeny-tiny iPhone 5 screen. Either way, the novelty of Blackout‘s graphical prowess wears thin after only a few levels.


As far as how the game plays, it’s competent. Blackout doesn’t innovate in any way, matching console offerings as best it can in terms of strafing, shooting and all of the staples you’d come to expect from a first-person shooter. Like Call of Duty, Modern Combat 5: Blackout has an inane, Hollywood-inspired mess of a plot with a main character that seems like he could be Chris Redfield’s brother. Not the cool Chris, mind you, I mean the lame-o Resident Evil 6 bro-Chris.

In the end, my big ol’ thumbs made controlling my character, Phoenix (can you feel his power through such a bitchin’ name?, difficult. When I wasn’t too busy trying to look past my digits to see enemies on-screen, I was trying to make them have my character appear like he had any sense of coordination or grace.

Movement is via your left thumb on a set area on the screen, and looking around the map with your right. You know, as if you had twin sticks on a proper controller. The problem is, the controls for shooting your weapon and tossing grenades are also on the same area on your mobile device’s screen, meaning you’re going to be lobbing grenades at your feet constantly when you really just want to look to the left or right. It’s frustrating to say the least.


The game offers multiplayer, but I found pre-release connections to be few and far between. In the games I did play, I felt as if I was playing Call of Duty online, but with horrible controls.

All up, Blackout is a mobile game that’s better suited on an iPad or larger WP8 mobile device. It’s a standard first-person shooter on a platform that’s not idea for the mechanics of one. I’ll take a controller, or heaven forbid, a keyboard and mouse combination to shoot at people with any day.


4.5 out of 10

The good

  • Gorgeous looking
  • An FPS on mobile

The bad

  • FPSes aren’t really suited for mobile
  • Poor controls

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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist nearing twenty (TWENTY!?!) years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.