Call of Duty: Mobile May Be the Series’ Best Foray into Mobile Yet
After getting my hands on Call of Duty: Mobile at E3 2019, I'm optimistic about the future of this title and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it.
Ever since their inception, mobile games have had a bad reputation. They mainly appeal to the casual market, they don’t always look fantastic, and their controls are generally poorly received by many hardcore gamers. That being said, mobile games are generally incredibly successful and, because of this success, major publishers and developers want to get in on the craze. Call of Duty has tried multiple times to get into the mobile space, to varying degrees of success. That being said, their next title, simply titled Call of Duty: Mobile, might just be one of the more well-received mobile games if the developers can deliver on everything they promise.
For those that don’t know, Call of Duty: Mobile brings together elements from both the Black Ops and Modern Warfare sub-series of games to an all-inclusive, free-to-play experience. This means players can play use RC-XDs from Black Ops 1 on Crossfire from Modern Warfare 1 while playing as David Mason from Black Ops 2. This “best-of” style of game allows for fans from every series to come together in a way not seen before and it definitely feels that way. Seeing this type of Call of Duty crossover, which has really never been done before, was cool to see.
When the game launches, it’ll come with multiplayer, battle royale, and zombies modes. For my demo, however, I was only able to get hands-on time with the multiplayer. It acts exactly like a Call of Duty match should. Five people jump into a map, the one I played on was the Black Ops 1 version of Nuketown, and duke it out for the most kills. Like any other Call of Duty match, players can use primary weapons, secondary weapons, grenades, melee kills, and everything else you would expect in order to accomplish your goal. Players also have specialist weapons at their disposal, but they aren’t tied to one specific character. This means, for example, you can still play as Ghost from Modern Warfare 2 while using Battery’s War Machine grenade launcher from Black Ops 3 and 4.
In Call of Duty: Mobile, players have two control schemes they can use: simple and advanced. As previously revealed, simple controls fire your weapon from the hip every time somebody comes in front of your crosshairs, while advanced controls allow you to have more precise aiming with automatic ADS whenever you hit the fire button. All in all, I thought I was going to enjoy the simple mechanics more than the advanced ones, as I’m not a huge mobile gamer and hate the way most mobile games control. However, I surprisingly like the advanced controls just as much as the normal controls for the limited time I was given to use them.
I also don’t think one gives a specific advantage over the other, which was a pleasant surprise. When these control schemes were announced, I was worried that everyone would gravitate towards the simple scheme because it’s easy. That being said, it seemed like everybody in my demo, including myself, was keeping with the advanced controls. I definitely think it’ll take some practice to get completely used to the control scheme; however, it shouldn’t take too much effort.
While I didn’t get a chance to go hands-on with the mode, I did get a chance to see a tiny bit of the game’s Battle Royale mode on a separate screen. During the small snippet, the player jumped from a helicopter similar to the ones used in Blackout and landed in an area inspired by Launch from Black Ops 1. Activision made it very apparent, however, that this mode was not Blackout from Black Ops 4. While the game was being displayed on a TV, I was sitting right next to the person playing it, so I was able to watch the game on the phone itself. While the version that was displayed on the TV had some lag, the game on the phone itself was considerably more stable and the Activision employees ensured me that the lag was just a small side effect of the phone being cast to the TV. I’m not confident in saying that the Battle Royale mode was running at 60 FPS; however, it was smooth enough that you wouldn’t have a problem getting into firefights.
While I love lots of things about the game, one thing I’d really like to see is controller support. Given that WWDC was just a few weeks before E3, I asked Matt Lewis of Activision during my demo if they plan to support PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers when iOS 13 launches. While he wouldn’t confirm for sure if it was going to happen, he did say that the team “was evaluating [controller support] for sure,” which is great to hear. I think it would help players transition over to the mobile platform even more than the new control schemes.
Even though I did not get hands on time with the Battle Royale or Zombies mode, I can say that Call of Duty: Mobile’s multiplayer seems like a ton of fun. The controls really standout as something creative done by the Tencent team in order to help console players transition to a touchscreen. While I’d like to see controller support for the game, the advanced and simple controls are a great help and the crossover between the Modern Warfare and Black Ops series seems like it’s going to make for some memorable moments.
Call of Duty: Mobile is set to launch on iOS and Android devices sometime later this year. While an exact date has not been announced, the game’s currently in beta in select countries.