Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus

Offers in-app purchases ($1.99 - $1.99) Rating: 17+

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus is a game from Gameloft, originally released 7th October, 2010


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Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus Review

The most impressive Call of Duty game yet has landed on the iPhone, and it’s not even a Call of Duty game– It’s Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus. Topping Modern Combat: Sandstorm in just about every way, this sequel hews closely to the CoD template to offer a robust campaign, plus the best online multiplayer mode we’ve seen from Gameloft yet. In short, our high expectations have been met and exceeded once again.

The single-player campaign is made up of 12 missions that require you to mow down thousands of enemies in environments ranging from lush jungles and barren deserts to office buildings and snow-covered mountains. And unlike in Modern Combat: Sandstorm, the enemies in this game have full A.I. So rather than standing in one spot and firing at you, they’ll react to your behavior, ducking behind cover or coming at you full-on as they see fit.

Smart enemies would be nothing without interesting levels to inhabit, and once again the developers of this game have nailed it. Each level is packed with exciting elements like quicktime events, exploding walls, and unique enemies. The whole campaign feels like a playground that’s cleverly designed to match the weapons at your disposal. You get far-away enemies begging to be sniped, tanks requiring heavy explosives to take out, and groups of bad guys in small rooms that a well timed grenade or flash bang will help you nix.

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya…

The enemies are no slouches, though, so you can rarely run into a room with guns blazing and expect to survive. Success requires strategy as well as accurate shooting. However, you will run into some glitches. Even if carefully approach a room, you’ll find the occasional enemy who can shoot you through a wall, which is annoying. Also, we miss having a cover mechanic, like the one in Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front that lets you hide behind walls and barricades with the tap of a button. But since there isn’t a cover mechanic in Modern Warfare, neither is there one in Modern Combat.

Though the game is fairly challenging, it gives you plenty of assistance if you want it. Like its predecessor (and like nearly all modern first-person shooters), any damage you take heals automatically if you stay out of the line of fire for a few seconds. An aim assistance mechanism that snaps your crosshair to nearby enemies is toggled on by default, but it can be turned off in the options menu. Also, there’s always an arrow onscreen to direct you to your next objective.

As in other Gameloft FPSes, the controls are spot-on. The default set-up worked just fine for us, but you can turn on gyro aiming if you have a fourth-gen device, or you can flip, rearrange, or adjust the controls at your leisure from the options menu.

Going on a snipe hunt.

Unlike the original Modern Combat, the multiplayer mode in this one doesn’t feel like an afterthought. In fact, it’s by far the best online mode we’ve seen in a Gameloft title to date. They’ve upped the ante in a number of ways. First, you get a varied selection of five maps and four modes to to choose from. Second, the online matches now support up to 10 players at a time (up from four in previous games). This makes a world of difference, because you’ll rarely have to hunt long for someone to frag.

But what really makes the multiplayer shine is that you now have a persistent character. Just like in the Call of Duty franchise, you level up as you play, which unlocks new weapons and skills that you can pick and choose from each time you go into a match. The character-tweaking mechanic isn’t as deep as the one in Eliminate Pro, but it’s more inviting to casual players and still feels extremely rewarding.

From the rich single-player campaign to the addictive multiplayer experience, Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus is a terrific action game through and through. It’s loaded with enough content and player progression to keep you coming back for a long time to come. At least until N.O.V.A. 2 comes out, anyway.

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus Hands-On Preview and New Trailer

Recently, a reader commented when we posted screenshots of Modern Combat 2, saying ‘Honestly the closer they get to Call of Duty mechanics and story line, the happier I will be.’ Well, reader, prepare to be very happy indeed.

Modern Combat 2, if you didn’t know it was a separate series, is virtually indistinguishable from Call of Duty. Two giant improvements set this sequel apart from the first Modern Combat: a variety of new locations, and much smarter enemy A.I.

The three types of environments in Modern Combat 2 are Eastern Europe, South America, and once again, the Middle East. We got a chance to play through all three, and were thoroughly impressed by the level of quality in the graphics. There’s no doubt that Gameloft is getting scary-good at squeezing all the power out of the iPhone as they possibly can. And sure enough, the graphics are Retina-ready.

In the first level, an escape from terrorists in a South American jungle, you’ll learn the basics of combat and movement in a more engaging tutorial than the last game’s obstacle course and shooting range. Here, you’re facing bad guys right from the start, after your buddy waves his gun back and forth in front of your face to make sure you know how to move the first-person camera. Before long, you’ll be sneaking up on enemies, stealthily stabbing them, and blowing up barrels to clear a path for your escape.

Speaking of stealth, the snowy European level had a stealthy aspect to it as well. Your machine guns and pistols in this level are equipped with a silencer, encouraging you to avoid open firefights and instead pick off enemies at a distance. The enemies are much smarter this time, so instead of staying in one spot, they’ll try to flank you like in NOVA and Brothers in Arms 2.

Modern Combat 2 has one more trick up its sleeve: four different multiplayer modes. You’ll be able to play Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Defuse the Bomb, and Capture the Flag on five different maps with up to ten players. We didn’t get to try this out, but we’re definitely looking forward to it.

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus looks like a big step forward for the series, especially in terms of the graphics, varied environments, and artificial intelligence. It should also be a bit longer, with a more complete online mode. MC2: Black Pegasus lands in the App Store next month.