A bargain bin blu-ray disc. A combo meal at Wendy's. PSN's new first person shooter, Modern Combat: Domination. All things you can buy if you have $8 burning a hole in your pocket.
Developer Gameloft has put together this low budget offering for those gamers who may be burned out by the Killzone's and C.O.D.'s of the world. It's also targeting kids who don't have 60 bucks for a full retail shooter. The question is," Does it hold up?"
Modern Combat: Domination (I'll refer to it as MCD from here on out) is getting a lot of Counter Strike references. After playing the game for about four hours, that comparison is accurate. MCD's style is slower paced when compared to recent offerings like Black Ops. There are a number of online game types, including deathmatch, team deathmatch, and objective based "assault and defend" games.
Of course, there's a leveling system, allowing you to unlock new perks and weapon attributes. Kill a dude and you get cash to purchase new gear. Unlike other FPS games, you have to purchase your equipment all over again each time you die. It's a system which can be frustrating early on, as you'll often find yourself without enough money to purchase everything you need. If you want a sub machine gun, you may have to go without a frag grenade or body armor. Opt for body armor instead, you may be left with only a pistol in your arsenal.
It's important to note that MCD is Move enabled. Obviously, Sony wants to crank out as many motion control games as possible to jack up peripheral sales. While playing through the game, I couldn't help but get the feeling that MCD's five maps were built with Move in mind. Gameloft officials say MCD is all about finding cover and picking "the right time " to strike your enemy. I've found the exact opposite is true. At least a couple of the maps include a number of long, narrow stretches with limited cover. It almost feels like a shooting gallery, perfect for rudimentary motion controls, but horrible for hardcare shooting fans. That said, MCD's dualshock controls emulate C.O.D. controls exactly, so there's really no learning curve. That's a plus.
There are a number of maps to run around in and the locales are interesting enough. There's a neat office building level, a "middle eastern market," an inner city level, etc. However, they aren't as detailed as you might like. You can't interact with your environment. That is, you can jump on a crate, but you can't press "x" to climb onto something and find new ground. You can crouch and shoot but rarely are there spots on the map where you can crouch behind cover and find an interesting line of sight.
Then, there are the guns. There are enough unlockables in MCD to keep you busy, but don't expect the realism you get in other games. Kickback? What kickback? No matter what gun I was using, I found they all fired about the same. Ironic, seeing that one of the gun "perks" you can purchase in MCD is a grip attachment to reduce gun kickback. Totally unnecessary, in my opinion.
I picked up MCD for one reason, and one reason only. Lag. That is, I've been bummed out recently about how laggy and quirky Black Ops matches can become. I wanted to try something different. Something simple. Something that was rudimentary enough to allow for lag free games, but provide enough depth to keep me interested. Unfortunately, each MCD match I've played thus far has suffered from some sort of lag. Granted, it's not as bad as some C.O.D. lobbies, but the lag is there. Disappointing, because that's where MCD could really shine.
I also made a surprising discovery after a few hours of playing the game. It made me worse (way worse) at Black Ops. I like playing shooters with a high look sensitivity, so I bumped by MCD's controls to about the max. After playing the game for a while, I popped in C.O.D. and got into a few matches. The look speed in Black Ops is much more responsive, and much faster. The difference between the two games is stunning. I laughed out loud. I almost felt dizzy transitioning from MCD's slow looks to C.O.D.'s blazing fast, neck breaking movement.
Here's the deal. MCD is great if you've never played a shooter before, or if you're just starting to get into the genre. For old school players, the slower feel may bring back those fond memories of Counter Strike. Move owners may enjoy the game simply because it's another reason to use motion controls. But for hardcore players looking for a new title, I'd suggest you pass this baby up. The price is right, but I can't justify spending too much time on a streamlined title, when my third or fourth prestige is waiting.
I'm sort of hungry. I may head to wendy's for a meal deal. You know, something to munch on while I play Black Ops.