Military shooters are a dime a dozen. Or at least they have been in more recent memory. Modern Combat Blackout doesn’t aim to change the formula, but it does scratch that very specific itch for Switch users.
Right from the start, it’s hard to shake off the “mobile gaming stank” that comes with playing Modern Combat Blackout. That’s because this is a port of the title for Android devices. Consider that a fair warning and also a way to temper expectations. This isn’t Call of Duty or Battlefield for Switch nor does it really try to be. Instead, you get a decent enough first-person shooter that can be enjoyed in spurts.
Name of the Game
I won’t lie, the title Modern Combat Blackout made me cringe at first. Yes, it does accurately describe what you can expect from a by-the-numbers military FPS. But the overly SEO-friendly vibe it gives off is deprived of any sort of nuance or creativity. Black Ops 4 fans aren’t exactly going to be dropping their Blackout in favor of this one.
The naming gripes, however, are minor compared to the visuals. This isn’t an ugly game per se, but it definitely feels more like it belongs in 2009 than 2019. Again, this is a port of a mobile game so that’s not terribly surprising. It’s just disappointing to see compared to most other games you can play on the Switch.
One of the highlights in the presentation is definitely the voice work. It’s not on par with anything like Uncharted, but it’s certainly better than most games on the market. That’s not to say the script is all that, but the performers certainly do their damnedest to sell it.
Remember how I said to temper expectations? Well, that comes into play when talking about the mechanics of Modern Combat Blackout. Being a mobile game port, there isn’t too much here to really hang your helmet on. You can sprint, slide, and toss grenades as expected, but that’s pretty much all you’re getting. Since a lot of the weapons need to be unlocked over time via experience points, you won’t get to play with anything outside of assault rifles, shotguns, and pistols until later.
Those mobile game origins can also be seen clearly through the way the campaign is set up. You get some story elements here and there, but essentially you are plopped into a random action set piece with a specific gimmick at play. There are sniper missions, turret sections, and more to help break up the experience. You can also complete objectives if you wish to earn all three stars in a mission. Doing so earns you in-game currency to purchase loot boxes for cosmetic items.
Modern Combat Blackout can feel really easy or annoyingly difficult because of how stilted and janky you and the enemies feel. Even when cranking up aim sensitivity, the act of shooting guns in this game feels slow and dissatisfying. That also makes multiplayer suffer, but at least the campaign has some cheeseball dialogue and story bits to keep you going.
Over and Out
With a $19.99 price tag, there is some leeway to be given for what is obviously a mobile port cash grab on the Switch market. However, there are better FPS titles that you can sink your time into than Modern Combat Blackout. This just has the distinction of being the only military shooter on the platform. If that’s what you’re looking for, this will keep you entertained in short bursts before you peter out. Otherwise, spend time on something like Doom or Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus instead.
For another opinion, be sure to check out Brett Medlock’s video review below.
A review code was provided by the publisher.
David has been involved in games media since 2012 running his own blog, YouTube channel, being a founding member of RETRO Magazine, and now as host/producer of ARGcast – Another Retro Gaming Podcast. He also dabbles in voiceover and is occasionally a stunt double for Jude Law.