The juggernaut Call of Duty franchise has endured mixed results when branching out from consoles and PC. The zombie iterations had much success on iOS, but a re-hash of Black Ops failed miserably on PS Vita. iOS seems to be the lucky platform for CoD because Strike Team is a welcomed and refreshing entry that rivals the stagnant console versions in certain ways. Call of Duty: Strike Team provides an excellent first-person shooting experience while integrating an all new top-down tactical mode that steals the show.
It is great to see that the team behind Strike Team were able to take some risks on iOS and not deliver another watered down mode from a console version. Strike Team raises the bar by letting you to switch on the fly between first person action and a birds-eye view mode that allows you to issue commands in real time. The top-down mode gives you a variety of new ways to achieve objectives and dispatch enemies. While issuing commands and getting more battlefield awareness through this view you also open up a number of stealth options.
Remaining stealthy and silent is a slow trod through the levels but can be more tense and challenging than just shooting dudes in the face. This mode often feels like playing Metal Gear Solid, due to fact that you need to hide the bodies of your fallen foes to remain hidden. In MGS fashion, you can stash corpses in lockers and dumpsters to cover your tracks. Adding the to complexity of stealth-based options, you must also deactivate alarms and be aware of enemies posting up near them. I was able to replay levels with vastly different experiences and outcomes with this new tactical mode.
Strike Team features a customizable squad of tough guys you can outfit with new gear and abilities from the perk system. This adds another layer of depth to how you choose to play, as you can gear up for stealth or pack serious heat for firefights. The choice is yours. The dynamic gameplay style and customization options promote replayability so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
There is a linear story and it unfolds through the various stages, but it isn’t anything special. If you’ve played Call of Duty before you’ll find the same bro-driven tale with Michael Bay-style exploding set pieces that the series is known for. In addition to the story levels, you can also play a timed survival mode when you feel like a challenge.
The visuals in Strike Team are top notch and looks great running on an iPhone 5, which was used for this review. The Call of Duty series is also known for excellent sound design and Strike Team delivers in that area as well– I recommend popping in some decent headphone while dropping shells.
Call of Duty: Strike Team is worthy of your time and money. It is a pleasant surprise in sea of CoD clones clogging the App Store.