I?ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Gameloft. On the one hand, they specialize in mobile games that barely make any effort to hide the better-known console games they?re ripping off. On the other hand, their rip-offs are usually fairly well-made. What?s more, I first played some of their games — stuff like God of War clone Hero of Sparta, generic racer Asphalt, and GTA/Saints Row-imitator Gangstar — during a time when I wasn?t really playing any console games, and they got me interested in checking out the source material they were ripping off.
In a way, Modern Combat Blackout continues this tradition of putting out a polished clone on a platform that doesn?t have the original. After all, while the Switch seems to get a few dozen new games every week, when it comes to first-person shooters, there?s not a lot. Sure, it has Doom and Wolfenstein, but if you?re looking for Call of Duty or Battlefield, you won?t find either on Nintendo?s handheld. So, in that respect, it?s kind of neat to see something that isn?t that far off from those games.
On top of that, given its mobile roots Modern Combat Blackout kind of makes sense on the Switch in a way that CoD or Battlefield wouldn?t. It?s got a campaign, but the campaign is made up of a series of short, bite-sized missions. Some can be beaten in under a minute, while others may take a little bit (but not too much) longer. While none of the levels are anywhere close to being great, in limited quantities, spaced out and played here and there, they work. You don?t need to remember any complex controls or story, and you can drop in and out without thinking too much.
Admittedly, that?s also the game?s big flaw. There?s not a lot of depth here in any respect. The controls are basic. The story is barely coherent. The characters are stereotypes. I know that no one has ever suggested Call of Duty games are known for their Shakespearean qualities, but compared to Modern Combat Blackout, Infinite Warfare is practically Hamlet.
It?s also worth noting that Modern Combat Blackout is pretty ugly when you?re actually playing it. The cutscenes look fine, but the moment things switch over to gameplay, the distance between what you see here and what you would?ve seen years ago on a much less powerful system isn?t all that great. Gameloft games stand out so much on mobile devices because their budgets are seemingly much higher than what you?d get from the competition. When the competition, however, is stuff like Call of Duty, or Battlefield, or Doom, or Wolfenstein, then suddenly Modern Combat Blackout suffers by comparison.
None of that is to say that this is a bad game — just that it?s important not to go in expecting too much. If you want COD on the Switch, this definitely isn?t that. If, however, you want something that?s fun in short bursts and allows you to blast away at bad guys, then Modern Combat Blackout will scratch that itch.
Gameloft provided us with a Modern Combat Blackout Switch code for review purposes.