Modern Combat: Sandstorm was not only Gameloft's first FPS for the iPhone, but it was one of the most anticipated games to come out on the App Store at the time of it's release. The game boasts very impressive graphics for that generation of devices, and found a way to make the touch controls "work" for an FPS game, which hadn't been done before. There's no denying the similarities between Modern Combat and Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare series of games. Gameloft has never shied away from taking popular ideas and major console releases and making "inspired" mobile versions of them, and so far no has complained about it.
Modern Combat makes use of the now popular "virtual joystick" concept to recreate a dual joystick
control sceme using just the touch screen, with no tactile feedback. This is done by using the joystick on the bottom left of the screen to control movement, while letting the player swipe anywhere on the screen to aim or look around. You can either tap the screen to shoot, or tap a fire button at the bottom right. If you tap and hold the fire button, you can still move your finger to aim at a moving target. These controls were implemented very well, which helped lead to the success of the game, and has been emulated on many first-person
titles from many other developers.
Similar to other games in the genre, Modern Combat takes place in a non-specific middle eastern country, and has you fighting against insurgents throughout. There are a couple places where you can fire a mounted weapon, but otherwise the game takes place on foot with standard weapons for the FPS genre.
While not released at launch, Gameloft eventually added multiplayer to Modern Combat at no extra charge. This was done as an update to the game, and featured online matchmaking for up to 4 players, and a variety of maps to play on. This the first time an FPS game on the iPhone featured a fully automated online matchmaking system for deathmatch
Unfortunately, the multiplayer launch was plagued with errors relating to network and router configurations, and was never stable until a couple months after the release of the multiplayer update.
While critics hailed Modern Combat for it's graphical achievements and intuitive control, the game itself drew criticism for a few things. The biggest was the generic storyline and bad voice acting, which is something that Gameloft has gained a reputation for in the mobile gaming press. The second was the almost complete lack of AI
in the game. It was quoted as being an " on-rails
shooter without the rails", in that enemies would spawn
and follow the exact same paths and actions in every confrontation that was repeated.
Gameloft critically redeemed themselves with their next shooting game, N.O.V.A
, which featured sandbox
-styled enemy AI, richer visuals, and a more in-depth storyline.