Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus Review

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus (v3.3.8) (Android/iOS)
Players: 1-10
Genre: FPS
Developer: Gameloft
Marketplace/Apple Store Price: $6.99 ($4.99 through Gameloft’s website)
Release Date: October 7, 2010

Game played on HTC Thunderbolt running Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread)

Parent Talk: Modern Combat 2 could be considered ‘Call of Duty Mobile‘. Many of Gameloft’s wireless games are eerily similar to experiences available on the console market. Violence and blood can be found here.

Review Basis: Finished campaign on Normal; participated in a handful of online (wi-fi) matches

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus doesn’t attempt in the slightest to differentiate from the Call of Duty experience. A direct sequel to wireless FPS Modern Combat: Sandstorm, your goal as the Americans is to track down associates of Abu Bahaa (Sandstorm antagonist) across different Asia and Europe locations so as to dismantle his network.

The Great:

A well-paced, enjoyable campaign. How the Black Pegasus plot plays out is pretty neat in terms of the segmented timeline. You start off as a prisoner of war in an unknown, Spanish-speaking territory trying to [violently] break out, to being on the front lines of pursuing other criminals of the Abu Bahaa organization. There’s just enough variety to maintain interest, so even though it’s not a mind-blowing experience…fun is what matters, and that it is.

The Good:

+ Audio. You won’t mistake Modern Combat 2 for a game blaring through your entertainment center, but Black Pegasus has a lot to like in the sound department. The characters overall sound like actual humans, and the weapon effects are pretty good. The AK-47 makes the biggest impression. Oh, and don’t forget your earbuds!

+ Customizable interface. No doubt because of the touch screen exclusivity, it’s nice to be able to choose where on your device the game’s controls appear. The virtual stick, weapon fire, explosives, etc; each can be placed wherever it pleases your gaming heart.

+ Visuals. The quality difference between Sandstorm and Black Pegasus is substantial. Everything received a wonderful extra touch of detail, texturing and all-around polish…the weapons, character models, environments, etc. Modern Combat 2 of course doesn’t resemble an Xbox 360 or PS3 game, but this shooter looks very good and plays smoothly for the most part.

+ Aim Assist/Auto-Grenade. If the game didn’t sport its aim assist function, I wouldn’t have continued playing. I suppose it’s possible to practice enough to not need it, but I’ll gladly accept every insult thrown at me before I cease having my reticule snap to the enemy. The same goes for the auto-grenade. The game tries to determine the best landing area for your explosive, and it’s mighty helpful when you’re ambushed.

The So-So:

+- Online multiplayer. The Call of Duty-like perk system is cool in that you gain experience by falling your human opponents, which subsequently over time unlocks new guns, equipment, and ranks for your Gameloft Live profile. I also like how users can host matches in which they determine the map, battle type, and whether or not aim assist or health regeneration is active. However, you can’t set up pre-determined load-outs. The maps also in general are closet-sized, discouraging strategic battle.

+- Controls. I don’t think I’ll ever be proficient controlling a first-person shooter exclusively on a touch screen. You miss a traditional controller when you must use a finger both to change the looking angle, and shoot. It’s sort of possible to look and fire simultaneously, but not without eventually developing a hand cramp. To be fair, it’s not overly difficult to control a FPS without sticks or triggers, but it’s not ideal in my mind.

+- AI. The enemies and your comrades bring a humorous mix of intelligence and total absent-mindedness. Foes both make wise use of cover and flanking, and foolishly run right at…or even past you in battle. Squad mates, when they’re actually around to help, exhibit similar behavior. Sometimes they help eliminate hostile forces, and other instances have them ignore your opponents altogether. Interesting, eh?

The Bad:

–  Repetitive. After the halfway point, mission objectives start to repeat. You storm some enemy stronghold, kill waves of enemies in corridor-to-corridor fashion, and eventually reach the person of interest. Circumstances become a little more interesting again during the last couple missions, but overall the game is predictable.

– Strange glitches. In one mission later on in the campaign, I was receiving enemy fire and didn’t have a clue as to the source. Little did I know that it was a hostile soldier further ahead, and I realized the punk was shooting me through the floor that separated us! I’ve also experienced abrupt changes in my gun’s aiming, basically a mysterious 180 turn in the heat of battle. That’s not helpful.

– Run-on dialogue. Your squad mates often engage in tactical conversation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not so good when there’s little to no pause between various statements. That damages the illusion of fictional characters interacting.

The Ugly:

Spawn deaths. In a competitive multiplayer match, it’s never fun to watch a death animation as soon as you reappear, and several at that. It really hurts multiplayer.

The Lowdown:

I don’t regret that Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus introduced me to first-person shooters on a wireless platform. It’s impressive that an experience such as this is even capable of running on hardware like my HTC Thunderbolt. I’m new to the mobile gaming scene anyway, so perhaps I’m not educated about this stuff. MC2:BP isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a great game and well-put-together, despite my criticisms. I simply warn you not to make it your go-to for online competitive fixes.

Average Score Scale: 8 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 8/10 (Neutral)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: Wireless platforms are your primary gaming means. You’re addicted to the online competitive multiplayer.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: The game is too similar to Call of Duty for your liking.

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