Previews

Hands-on with Modern Combat 3 multiplayer for iPhone and iPad

Shoot to win

Hands-on with Modern Combat 3 multiplayer for iPhone and iPad

We’ve already taken a brief look at Modern Combat 3’s single-player campaign back at Gamescom this year, but it's fair to say that most of the people who download the game when it comes out next week will do so for the multiplayer.

That’s because the Modern Combat series - much like a similar game starting with the letter ‘c’ on consoles - has managed to carve itself out a reputation as being the best multiplayer iOS first-person shooter out there.

It was one of the first to introduce persistent ranks and unlocks, along with a level of detail that other games would be wise to emulate.

Modern Combat 3 isn’t going to upset the apple cart, but it’s shaping up to be a solid improvement on its forebears assaults in every possible way.

Tango down!

Take the multiplayer progression system, for instance, which now throws even more unlockable additions to weapons, equipment, and call signs (and death messages for your victims).

There are now 100 levels to progress through, each and every one unlocking something new for you to spend your hard-earned in-game cash on. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to breeze through this one.

I went head-to-head against Callum Rowley from Gameloft for this multiplayer test across two of the game’s six maps - the first set in a dusty industrial complex, the second in and around a government facility - taken from the first level of the campaign.

Enemy spotted!

Of the two, the second was easily the most impressive, both in terms of level design and in looks.

From sneaky hiding places outside that favour the long reach of a sniper rifle to the intricate broken down ledges around the sides of the building, I was still finding new areas to lead Callum into traps (ho ho) right up until the dramatic orchestral swell that marked the end of a round.

The controls are still fully customisable and finely tuned, giving you complete freedom to determine where the on-screen buttons appear and how big they are.

It’s a world away from the sort of confused bumbling that characterised Warm Gun (or, indeed, 9mm’s multiplayer).

Headshot!

If MC2 was the moment where Gameloft managed to finally nail online multiplayer on mobiles, MC3 is looking like the game that refines and smooths over any cracks. It’s fast, deep, and - most importantly - fun.

We’re looking forward to seeing the other six game modes and beating up Callum alongside another ten players when the title launches next Thursday.