By this point, gamers are starting to get really bored of the Call of Duty franchise, if the pre-orders figures for Call of Duty: Ghosts is anything to go by. But it’s still a cash cow for Activision, and they’ve tried branching out in the past with mobile titles that never really made their mark like their bigger counterparts did. Just before Ghosts’ release, we get this mobile title called Strike Team, and there may be something different about it.
Call of Duty: Strike Team, developed by The Blast Furnace, seeks to bring something new to what has been growing stale. Of course, they have to do the same thing with Ghosts and actually succeed, but they’re already going for a pre-emptive strike with this one. This game is all about switching between first person mode where you personally address problems and the top-down tactical mode that lets you control more of the battlefield in missions. It’s a rather novel idea that does work well enough on the iOS.
This tactical system is in itself both a strength and a weakness. It does look a lot like the Strikeforce Missions in Black Ops II and adds a new dimension to the usual COD gameplay. However, controlling the squads in here is rather difficult. As a real time strategy experience on the iOS, it does do most of what it sets out to do. You get to suppress and flank enemies quite easily, and the controls are easy enough to understand in this mode. It makes this game feel different from what has been accustomed to with the Call of Duty franchise.
However, the act of switching between this and the FPS mode is what perhaps kills it. It’s cool on paper, but clumsy in practice with the below-average FPS controls and the inconsistent AI that doesn’t really seem to know what to do most of the time. If you can get a hang of switching between modes and the clunky controls in FPS mode, then perhaps you can learn to like this game. There are also tons of unlockables to keep things interesting. Of course, you need a newer iOS device to play this, preferably at least with an A5 processor.
As for the in-game story, it’s like that of other Call of Duty games, wherein everything is muddled up and most people can barely follow whatever is going on. There’s a lot of “this is the target, go take it out” and that’s mostly the gist of it. That’s the usual problem with modern military and counter-terrorism games in that the plot tends to be more complicated than Chinese algebra. Having that in a mobile title makes the story hardly something worth considering though since most players would be playing on-the-go.
It’s nice that the developers are willing to reach beyond the usual stuff in this game, and the risk does pay off a bit. It’s not a bad mobile game at all, so long as you can adapt and improvise with the controls. While not as seamless as hoped, the tactical mode is still a pretty good way to mix things up in a Call of Duty game. In this case, the thought put into Call of Duty: Strike Force does count.
Tested in iOS. Final Score: 7/10