I had a chance to demo Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation's online multiplayer at Gameloft's San Francisco headquarters today, and I'm going to be blunt: it looks and feels almost exactly like Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how much you like Activision's military shooter.
The demo featured 3v3 multiplayer played over WiFi, and impressively included one Gameloft team member in South America. Gameloft stated that the final game will feature 12-player simultaneous matches, and cross-platform competition between Android and iOS gamers. The majority of my time withModern Combat 3 was smooth and lag-free, although some latency did pop up in the final match, with players rubber-banding around the stage.
MC3's interface will be familiar to any Call of Duty player. Players can walk, sprint, or crouch as the situation requires. Firing from the hip is speedy but inaccurate, while aiming down the iron sights provides much more control, at the expense of your field of vision. Combat is fast-paced – a few well-placed bullets and you're dead. But respawns are equally quick, and it's never more than a few seconds before you're back into the fray.
In addition to standard Team Deathmatch, I also demoed a "capture and control" mode that required each team to capture and attempt to hold three separate points. A standard bomb retrieval & bomb arming mode was also demoed.
Players are given constant positive feedback for nearly everything they do in a Modern Combat multiplayer match. +100 XP for an enemy kill. +50 XP for avenging a teammate. +50XP for downing a bomb carrier, etc. As I earned enough XP to breeze through the game's first few levels I unlocked more equipment options, including C4. Individual weapon tweaks can also be unlocked, including red dot sights and silencers.
In fact, I can't think of any notable way that Modern Combat 3's multiplayer diverged from the Call of Duty mold in the demo I experienced. Besides the fact that I was playing on an iPad, of course.
This is definitely impressive from a technical standpoint, and exciting from a handheld gamer's perspective. An ambitious, high-fidelity mobile multiplayer FPS for under $10? Awesome. But we can't help but wish Gameloft would take some of its obvious technical prowess and marry it with an actual desire to movebeyond the console games it apes, rather than merely being content with creating iOS and Android proxies. Hopefully Modern Combat 4 experiments with killstreak rewards or multiplayer modes that didn't first appear on consoles.
Modern Combat 3 is slated for release on October 27.