You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Review: Modern Combat: Sandstorm

September 18, 2009



The long anticipated Modern Combat: Sandstorm update was released. I can easily say it didn't live up to the hype, and didn't really add to the game at all. It was touted to compete with Eliminate, and if so Gameloft needs to try a lot harder. Combat_locations There is local multiplayer over wifi or bluetooth, but the maps may be too expansive for only at most four people. The online multiplayer is the main thing, and is lackluster from the first sight that you can only play online if you have a wifi connection. So you can't play over 3G, and even over wifi it takes awhile to connect. Once you get connected it's a nice experience, but nothing ground breaking. I don't see multiple replays online as gameloft live is just terrible in comparison to Plus+ for any type of rankings or scores. Three maps are included which are much more expansive than Eliminate, but that makes it harder to find opponents, and there is less action. The update doesn't change the original rating as it's still a should buy. The single player first person shooter gameplay is good, but the multiplayer is not.



Modern Combat: Sandstorm is a first person shooter created by Gameloft. The game is set at present day in the middle east, and you play as an American Chief warrant officer. After a long absence from injuries you’re put back into the firing range. The entire game is like playing the Iraq war against “terrorists”. Play your way through multiple missions with an overarching storyline with higher and higher stakes. Can you handle Modern Combat: Sandstorm? ModernComabt_briefing


The game has 10 deluxe missions to play through. Once you beat a mission you can go back and play individual missions. Each mission has multiple checkpoints which are desperately needed because certain stretches will take multiple tries. There are four difficulties you can play, but you need to complete hard to unlock extreme. Three control methods are included for you to find out which one fits you best. The default control uses a virtual control stick on the left, and firing button on the right. You drag on the right hand side to move the camera angle and aim. In playing the default controls worked the best. The next control mode uses the left side of the screen to move, and the right side to aim and fire. Finally the last control mode provides dual sticks, again movement on the left, and aiming/firing on the right. In all three modes there is duck in the bottom right and zoom in the bottom left. Also action buttons appear on screen when necessary. During the entire game there is a green arrow on the screen that points you in the right direction. In the options is the you can turn off aim assist or auto grenade launch. ModernComabt_good

The Good

The first person shooter gameplay is very nicely done for the iPhone. Unlike other developers attempts, Gameloft has created controls for movement, aiming, and firing that are very intuitive and easy to use. With the controls out of the way you can dive into the gameplay. Progress through the streets of your typical middle east town, firing on varying turban wearing enemies. As you progress there will be more enemies in harder to reach locations, and fewer objects to cover behind. You will need more weapons including a sniper rifle and RPG. Gameloft provides everything that you would think of regarding FPS. As you’re getting shot the screen becomes redder, but if you can avoid getting hit for a bit, your health will restore. The enemies will be in varying locations, and you will have to find them, and fire on them, all with a first person perspective. ModernComabt_red The visuals are really well done, and are right on par with the new standard of iPhone gaming. The surroundings look authentic, and move seamlessly along. It looks great as you’re moving along with you’re gun out in front of you, and the enemies all around. There is music in the background during the entire game which is very action packed, but mixed slightly with a middle eastern tone. The sounds effects are mostly great from the firing mechanisms to the sayings of your squad mates, and mission control. Getting through all 10 missions will take quite awhile, and it will definitely feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Hopefully Gameloft provides the online multiplayer update like they have promised. ModernComabt_zoom

The Bad

This game does a lot of good things, but has one serious problem. As you’re playing through, if you ever get interrupted for any reason you’re progress isn’t saved. When you come back into the game it restores at the recent mission, but not your recent checkpoint. The missions are quite long, with multiple checkpoints. This become really frustrating since a lot of effort and time will be lost. While you’re playing, if you die you restart at the nearest checkpoint, but not when you exit? What’s up with that? The one problem with the visuals is the blood splatter is mediocre at best, and the enemies just disappear turning into ammo packs. It’s great to see the piling body count in an FPS, but I guess not yet on the iPhone. The sounds of the enemies are embarrassing at best. There are two different arabic sayings, that just sound so prototypical, and repetitve. ModernComabt_machine gun The enemies have two main problems that work in opposite directions. When you play through a checkpoint multiple times, the enemies will be in the same exact locations, and do the same exact things which makes it easy. There is never an alteration no matter what you do. Then what makes it tough is that the enemies are spot on with their shooting, so if you get in their line of fire you will be hit, even if you’re partially covered.

The Verdict

Modern Combat: Sandstorm is easily the best first person shooter for the iPhone. Gameloft has set the new standard of what FPS should be. The entire theme, and play of the game is nicely done, and similar to major FPS on other portable platforms. If you like FPS this is great, but if not, this game doesn't exactly bring new-comers in. It also just feels so real compared to the other titles of blasting away aliens. The visuals, sounds, and gameplay make this game worth the $6.99 price of admission. The save system though really puts a damper on things, and leaves this game as a should buy. [gallery link="file" columns="4"]

Related articles