It looks to be a fully-fledged Call of Duty experience.
Activision has given us a nice big data dump about its upcoming mobile game. Based on the smash hit franchise Call of Duty (CoD), this new game is supposed to be the multiplayer game we all know and love with the added benefit of mobile play.
In case you haven’t played video games in the last two decades, Call of Duty is a first-person shooter with a heavy team-based component. Call of Duty has had several huge successes — games like Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops are classics — and they are hoping to bring that success to a mobile platform. The mobile game will feature many of the same game modes, maps, and weapons from all across the franchise, while also being a far friendlier mobile experience than previous iterations.
What will the control system be like?
Playing a multiplayer FPS on mobile is a challenge. Having enough real estate to see all the controls needed to play, and the actual combat is a balancing act that some games just don’t get right. To combat that, Call of Duty: Mobile will have two different control modes: simple mode, and advanced mode.
Simple mode is the big departure from the way you would normally play CoD on a console. Instead of having a dedicated firing button, your gun fires when your target reticule is pointed at the enemy. This might sound like a huge advantage but it really isn’t. The firing accuracy goes out of the window in this mode, and you rush through ammo at top speed.
The advantage is you can move and look around much more quickly without having to worry about tapping the screen to get your gun to fire. After all, there are no shoulder buttons on a smartphone so you really only have your thumbs to work with. They have also included a setting to limit the distance this happens when firing from the hip. You really don’t want to be wasting shotgun shells when the enemy is too far away.
Advanced mode offers a more console feeling experience. Activision has thought about the need for your controls to be movable, which is great. Almost every part of your heads up display (HUD) is movable to allow you to get the most important buttons directly under your thumbs. This mode also has an actual fire button, which is pretty important, and the game offers a huge amount of control over the sensitivity of your character.
Fine tuning these details will likely be your life’s work while you are playing Call of Duty: Mobile. The difference between a win and a loss could be how quickly you can Aim Down Sights.
Of course, all of this would be solved if Activision let us use Bluetooth controllers right? Well maybe, but there is no sign of controller support right now. That’s not to say it won’t come at a later date, but for right now you are stuck with on-screen controls.
What kind of maps are there?
If you have ever played Call of Duty, you will know at least some of the maps Activision is offering for CoD Mobile. One of my personal favorites, all the way back from Modern Warfare: Black Ops, is called Nuketown. It’s a tiny little map with only a few long lines of sight. Everything about this map is fast-paced and messy, just the way I like it.
All together, Activision has announced eight maps, all spanning different games from the franchise, and all restructured to work well in this mobile environment. I am hoping that we will see some maps made especially for CoD Mobile, but right now nostalgia is Activision’s friend. I know I’m willing to try it out just for the chance to play in Nuketown again, and I’m sure there are plenty of people in the same position. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the great game… we hope.
Among the maps that they have announced are classics such as Nuketown, Hijack, Crash and Firing Range. Each of these maps is extremely popular with the CoD community and should help draw people who may not normally play mobile games.
What about custom loadouts?
Being able to customize your character’s inventory has been a staple of the game for many years. Being able to save up to five different combinations of weapons, perks, grenades, and even scorestreaks is an important part of the overall CoD experience. Let’s talk about the different things you customize.
Normally you unlock new customizations for your loadout by leveling up or purchasing it using in-game currency, but Activision may use this as a way to monetize the free, mobile version. I really hope not, because pay-to-win is the worst, but they might.
This one seems fairly obvious. Throughout the game, you can choose between several different guns, one in the primary position and one in the secondary. These guns also have modifications slots as well to add better scopes and the like. In the standard Call of Duty, there is a huge amount of variation in the type of guns and their modifications, and I’m hoping the Mobile version will offer up the same. There is also a section specifically for grenades. Some will be damage dealing, others suppression and you will be able to choose them as you go.
Perks are character abilities that make you better at things. They are almost always passive, buffing you behind the scenes, and they increase some sat or the other. One of the examples they give, called Ghost, hides you from an enemies UAV — one of the scorestreaks you can get — which is extremely helpful if you like to sneak up on people and get all shotgun-y.
You get three different perks to use in one loadout and they can significantly change your play style. If, for example, you like using the shotgun mentioned above, then mixing Ghost and Fast Recover — your health regenerates faster — is going to make you a machine in close combat. You can get in, kill, then heal as you run to the next victim.
You get one of this per loadout and it comes in the form of a powerful weapon that activates on a timer. You may want to unpack a huge minigun to lay down cover fire, or get up close and personal with a flame thrower. Either of these and more are available for you to choose from. You are only likely to be able to use it once or twice a match though, so use them sparingly.
Scorestreaks — formally Killstreaks — are awesome bonuses you get for doing well. On the loadout screen, you get to choose what happens when you reach certain scores and what abilities you can activate when that happens.
The most common, and usually one of the easiest to earn, is the UAV. This scorestreak allows you and all your teammates to see where every enemy is on the minimap. Combined with other, higher powered, scorestreaks the UAV can be devasting. By using the UAV to pinpoint enemy clusters, other players can use airstrikes to cause massive damage.
The last thing to choose in your loadout is what you look like as you run around the map. While Call of Duty: Mobile doesn’t have a massive range of customization for this — you won’t be changing the shape of your eyebrows or the pointedness of your chin — it does allow you to play as some of the most iconic soldiers in Call of Duty history.
Characters like John “Soap” MacTavish, and David “Section” Mason, were the main characters back in the day when story modes actually mattered in multiplayer games. It’s great to see these characters coming to life again, and I hope they bring even more into the mobile game as it becomes more popular. This would also be another great way to monetize without giving anybody an edge.
Is it just Team Deathmatch?
No! The CoD: Mobile team are clearly trying to push the envelope when it comes to choice in this game. There aren’t one or two game modes in Call of Duty: Mobile, there are going to be at least five at launch so there will be something for everyone.
My favorite game mode, Domination will be available, along with the Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Frontline, and Hardpoint. All these game modes will let you play with a maximum of 8 or 10 players, depending on the game mode, and all of them are available as private matches, or as ranked matches. Ranked matches will let you level up using XP but private matches won’t, just so you know.
Where and when can you play?
Call of Duty: Mobile is coming to iOS and Android in the coming months but you can sign up right now for a chance to play the beta when it comes to your region. Activision has said that the Beta is currently in India, moving to Australia soon, but it’s likely going to be a long time before we see it here in the U.S.
What to do until then
Until the beta is available in your country here are some other ways to scratch that itch.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
$35 at Amazon
Get the full Call of Duty experience with the latest game in the franchise. Black Ops 4 even includes a Battle Royale mode called Blackout. It is well worth a try.
Call of Duty playing cards
$9 at Amazon
Play some poker with your friends while you wait for the beta to drop. The CoD themed cards look awesome and you can imagine ghost hanging out playing with them.
Nuketown coffee mug
$12 at Amazon
Get fueled up before every session with this mug, emblazoned with the logo of my favorite map, Nuketown. I am so ready to play it again!