Don’t let the uninspired name put you off, this is a game worth the attention of any online FPS fan. The delightful price of £6.29 gets you five maps and six modes to enjoy that puts the likes of Blacklight: Tango Down to shame.
An old-school approach is taken in regards to your health, take damage and it stays. No health packs or regeneration makes for extra tense matches and balances things out nicely, especially if you manage to get a few shots into an opponent before you get taken down. When you do get killed it shows how much health and armour your killer has left. This works to annoy you further when you see they only had 7% left.
The radar shows recent positions of your opponents as a red blip. A red X marks a corpse, but you can be pretty sure there will be someone close by due to the close nature of most of the game’s kills. This isn’t a shooter where you’re wondering around for ages looking for something to shoot.
From the spawn menu you’re presented with a store to purchase your gear for that individual attempt with the chance to choose differently every time you respawn. You’re always provided with at least $2400 which is enough to purchase an MP4/shotgun and a grenade, or a pistol, grenade and armour.
You’re rewarded extra money for kills, headshots, sprees and objectives so that next time you get to the respawn menu you might want to splash the cash on something with better stats such as an AK-47, helmets, armour and flash-bangs. Of course as soon as you do you know you’re going to get shot in the back within seconds of rejoining the fray. On the plus side you can steal weapons from fallen opponents.
Better weapons are unlocked for purchase as you level up, but the high costs of them mean that you won’t be able to afford them with your default budget of $2400 as they’re usually over $3000. So you better get good with that MP5 or Spas shotgun. This set-up does a great job of keeping players balanced, but it runs the risk of alienating players who want regular access to different weapons.
There are a few connection issues when looking for specific match types which can be exasperating, especially when you’re trying to review the bastards. Once you’re in a game though it runs beautifully. I’ve not had a single match crash yet, and there are host migration protocols in place to keep them going when people leave.
If you choose to just jump in and play what you’re given, you’ll usually find yourself in a deathmatch or team deathmatch. Not much of a problem if those are your preferred matches. When you do manage to explore the other modes you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well they play. Boom and Bust is a familiar two-teamed battle of setting explosives and defending them or attempting to stop the other team from doing so. Players are only given one life to play with, with the exception of being able to hop into the boots of any remaining bot team-mates that are in-place to make up the numbers during the less populated matches. Typical matches involve 13 individual rounds that usually each last about as long as the loading screen. Short, but undeniably fun, unless you’re the first one to catch a bullet.
The Escort matches where one player must be protected and allowed to escape at the other side of the map (or just wipe out all the assassin team) are enjoyable too, but suffer from the same short lifespan as Boom and Bust.
Domination (hold various areas for points) is fantastically slick and matches last much longer. Many of them are 15 minutes as standard. What really impressed me here was the AI bot support. One of my sessions was a quiet afternoon on the servers so it was 2vs2 humans with six bots on each side to beef up the numbers to the game’s favoured 8vs8 matches. Usually AI team-mates are awful in objective matches, but these guys move together like a swarm hunting down each post to take-over. Ok, none of them ever stayed to defend but this meant the pace stayed at awesome levels throughout. They’re not a bad shot either and seem to be a little too good at nailing you with an instant headshot.
Modern Combat: Domination also supports play with the PlayStation Move and navigation controller. The good news is that it works, the bad news is that it’s tough and the game doesn’t support dedicated Move-only matches which means the learning curve is almost vertical. Personally I always think pads are going to come out on top with online matches. But hopefully Killzone 3’s single-player campaign will ease us in with less of a beating.
Graphically the game doesn’t really aim to compete with COD or Bad Company but it is top of the class of PSN shooters by miles. The variety of maps is pleasing enough, if not overly generic with middle-eastern mountains, towns, abandoned eastern block factories and offices. Their layouts are well-suited to all match-types though. Seeing how Black Ops has gone down the toilet recently for most PS3 gamers, you could do far worse than this PSN bargain.
- Well-balanced unlocks keep matches balanced and exciting
- Admirable attitude from the AI support bots when online
- Some might get bored with using the same weapons for most matches
- Takes too many body-shots to kill other players
- Some rounds are shorter than the loading times
The Short Version: A great buy for any FPS fan, especially if you get a kick out the little guys starting fights with the big boys. Move support is a big plus if you’ve got the skills (and patience) but you’ll enjoy it most with a pad as you’ll be more comfortable playing it long into the night.
4 thoughts on “Modern Combat: Domination (Review)”
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