Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: Defiance
Activision's big budget franchise makes another stop (we hope the last) on Nintendo's DS.
Call of Duty mania has once again swept the civilized world, and chances are good you snagged the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or PC version this week.
That said, Activision (as usual) quietly released a DS version, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: Defiance, and once again, it's a decent, albeit limited first person shooter that pushes Nintendo's aging system to its limits.
The game loosely follows the story from the console versions of Russia running amok. You'll battle the red menace through 14 levels, either as U.S. or British Forces.
Many of the typical Call of Duty conventions are alive and well, letting you silently kill fools with the knife, pick up a variety of weapons on the ground (scoped AK-47 is a personal favorite) and decimate soldiers from afar with a high caliber sniper rifle.
Just don't expect much in the way of innovation. The game's developer, n-Space (currently working on Heroes of Ruin for 3DS) stuck to the same old formula of moving from location to location, waiting for bad guys to appear and then slaughtering them all, either using button or d-pad/touch screen controls; the latter works best.
As such, you can aim down the sight of your weapon, switch to the handgun and refill bullets at ammo drops. Much of this takes place on foot, but you will get to command vehicles later on, specifically a tank.
The artificial intelligence, sadly, is quite mindless. Soldiers within range of each other ignore gunfire and continue their patrols, while others stand out in the open waiting to die.
Live opponents, on the other hand, are a bit trickier to kill. Yes, the game has local and online multiplayer for up to six through Nintendo's Wi-Fi connection. Much to our surprise, there are people playing this very second.
Jumping into a match is easy enough, and n-Space retained a bit of the console effort by letting you create a load out, selecting primary and secondary weapons, along with perks to give your virtual soldier an edge in combat.
That notwithstanding, the action pales in comparison to the console versions, and we found it difficult lining up targets and scoring murder death kills. Even when we did drop someone, another player was right behind us, hoping to capitalize on the spoils of war. In other words, it's Call of Duty.
To enjoy this game, however, you'll definitely need to get over the graphics. Although we respect the work n-Space has done, the pixilated and at times muddy visuals serve as a constant reminder that the DS is done, at least when it comes to 3D. Just trying to line up head shots from a hundred feet away takes considerable skill, since the characters often blend into the messy background.
That aside, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: Defiance is a solid portable shooter crippled by rapidly aging hardware. It's tough going from even an iPad shooter like Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation to this. Of course, if all you own is a DS, it's one of the better first person titles for the system, but that's not saying much.
What's Hot: Six-person multiplayer, a bunch of different weapons, surprising amount of dialogue, intense theme music.
What's Not: Messy graphics, predictable gameplay, brain dead enemies.