If you've played any of the Counter-Strikes then you know exactly what to expect from Critical Ops, a new mobile FPS currently being developed by Critical Force Entertainment.
That's the same developer who created Critical Strike Portable, a massive hit on Android and which performed respectably on iOS.
Critical Ops is a much slicker and well-polished experience than the original game and that's good, because Critical Force want to use it to push the esports experience onto mobile.
Critical Ops takes its cues from Modern Combat 5 and is entirely controlled by virtual controls.
There's a joystick, and buttons for jumping, firing, and looking down a sniper rifle's scope should you choose to use one.
There's also an innovative swipe-based wheel at the bottom of the screen which allows you to quickly switch between weapons in the middle of battle.
The controls are surprisingly slick. You can rearrange and resize the buttons to find a comfortable set-up but, in general, everything is responsive and intuitive - particularly the weapon wheel which can be a lifesaver in tight situations.
There's an aim-assist feature is also godsend. It helps you align shots a little faster without feeling unfair or cheap.
However, it's disappointing to see that there's no option to enable auto-firing. Removing all unnecessary buttons feels like the way to go on mobile right now and it's a feature that would draw in more casual players who're intimidated by shooters.
Mode of play
There's only one game mode right now which Counter-Strike veterans will feel instantly familiar with.
You choose a team between terrorist and counter-terrorist, then pick the weapon you'd like to play with.
Terrorists have to work together to plant a bomb in one of two locations (A and B), while counter-terrorists have to try and bring them all down or defuse the bomb.
It's a fun game mode but you'd hope that a few more traditional shooter modes like capture the flag, domination, or even team deathmatch are added soon to keep things interesting.
Critical Force plans to support the game by providing a multitude of tournaments that players can compete in.
That's exactly what an esports game needs but only time will tell if players take to Critical Ops.
There's cross-platform play between Facebook and Android currently in development and an iOS version will follow shortly after launch.
Mouse and keyboard versus touch controls hardly smacks of a fair battle so you'd hope that tournaments are limited to platform.
However, Critical Ops in its current form is pretty polished. The visuals are nice, the controls have potential, and the plan to support with tournaments is exciting.
With more game modes, control options, and polish, Critical Ops just might succeed in its mission of bringing the esports experience to mobile.
At the very least, it's shaping up to be a solid iOS and Android shooter.
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