Right now, it's safe to say that most Call of Duty fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which promises to take the series back to its roots with a shock-filled campaign, more realistic multiplayer, and the return of the fan-favorite Spec Ops mode. But while fans wait to get their hands on the next main series entry, they may want to seriously consider passing the time with the recently released Call of Duty Mobile, which is one of the better mobile first-person shooter experiences available on Android or iOS devices.
Whether one loves or hates the Call of Duty franchise, there's no denying the level of polish and wealth of content that the series consistently delivers. Call of Duty Mobile brings that design philosophy to the mobile space, giving Call of Duty fans plenty of content wrapped in a package that works well with minimal hoop-jumping or other irritations that tend to plague mobile games. Call of Duty Mobile recreates the Call of Duty console experience flawlessly, making it simple to jump into a party with friends and communicate with voice chat. Moments after downloading the game, Call of Duty Mobile players can be playing matches on Nuketown with friends, with no technical issues or matchmaking problems to speak of.
Call of Duty Mobile makes playing with friends simple and painless, and that's something it applies to other areas of the game as well. For example, players have the choice between a simple or advanced control scheme. The simple control scheme removes the need to press an extra button to shoot, so it shoots automatically when players are aiming at an enemy. While this may seem like sacrilege to hardcore Call of Duty fans or may make the game less fun, it's actually a great way to get around the limitations of phones and touchscreen controls. Typically when players are aiming at an enemy, they're going to be shooting anyway, so removing that extra button press doesn't have a negative impact on the experience at all. Both control styles are fine, but we definitely recommend the simple control scheme.
While the simple control scheme does make gunplay infinitely easier, there are still some issues that the developers need to work out in regards to Call of Duty Mobile's controls. We found throwing grenades accurately to be a struggle, especially in the heat of the action. Switching quickly to other weapons is also cumbersome, and the screen in general is busy with different buttons that players need to tap.
Something that could have let the developers free up the HUD would have been controller support. Unfortunately, Call of Duty Mobile toyed with controller support, but it has since been removed from the game (or may not have ever been truly implemented at all; there are conflicting reports and by the time we played the game, it definitely wasn't available). Call of Duty Mobile mouse and keyboard support is also technically possible, but we didn't try it. While some may feel that these extra controller options would give some players an unfair advantage, it seems unlikely, especially if one uses the simple control scheme. Ultimately, it just means less options for players, and so it's a little disappointing to see controller support removed.
Call of Duty Mobile controller support isn't the only thing that's missing from the game. Call of Duty Mobile advertises three game modes on the home screen, but players can only access two, those being standard multiplayer and the battle royale mode. The third mode is something Zombies-related, but there's been no indication as to when fans can expect it to be added to the game. Call of Duty Mobile still has more high quality content than one would usually expect from a mobile game, but it is a little disappointing that the full experience isn't available at launch.
As far as the battle royale mode goes, Call of Duty Mobile's battle royale experience is arguably superior to that of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale. One of the main reasons is that the map features accurate recreations of famous Call of Duty multiplayer maps, which was something that Black Ops 4's Blackout battle royale mode promised to do but didn't really deliver on. One example is Nuketown, which looks mostly the same in Call of Duty Mobile's battle royale mode, but was changed almost beyond recognition in Blackout.
Call of Duty Mobile's battle royale mode has a surprising amount of features at launch as well, including numerous vehicles for players to use, zombies that spawn at certain areas of the map, plenty of weapons and gear, and even supernatural bosses that drop loot. The map is a little too big and going long stretches without seeing anyone isn't uncommon, but overall Call of Duty Mobile delivers a high quality mobile battle royale experience, perhaps second only to PUBG Mobile.
While the huge map is definitely one reason why Call of Duty Mobile's battle royale matches sometimes go on too long, another is the game's use of bots. Call of Duty Mobile features bots that populate matches for players at lower skill levels. This isn't a terrible idea on paper, but the bots are not nearly as aggressive or smart as real players. It's not uncommon to find bots in Call of Duty Mobile just standing on cliffsides in the battle royale mode, doing nothing but waiting to get discovered and killed. The developers are also sneaky about implementing the bots, giving them names that look like real player names, instead of properly labeling them. This can make it difficult to determine if a victory was really earned or just came about because the enemy team was populated by bots.
Bots or not, it's still awesome to be able to play Call of Duty's best maps on the go. Call of Duty Mobile features the greatest hits of Call of Duty maps from throughout the franchise's history, including iconic maps like Nuketown, Hijacked, Crash, Firing Range, and more. Better yet, players can choose exactly what map they want to play on each time, which is a great feature that ensures players are never playing maps they don't like. There's also a decent selection of multiplayer modes at launch as well, with standard Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and Domination available. Hopefully future updates will add even more modes, like Gun Game and Kill Confirmed, but what's there at launch will keep Call of Duty multiplayer fans plenty busy.
Whether Call of Duty Mobile players are playing Team Deathmatch or battle royale, they are constantly earning experience for their character, individual weapons, and the Battle Pass. There are ways to level up fast in Call of Duty Mobile, but we have been leveling up so quickly that it's not necessary. And the game showers players with rewards, so we haven't felt like we've been really missing out from not buying microtransactions either. If one does decide to spend money on the game, they could purchase the battle pass and then win enough in-game currency to get the next battle pass for free like in Fortnite, which would also net them a ton of extra cosmetics, but as we said, the game offers plenty regardless.
Call of Duty Mobile has satisfying progression, a nice selection of fan favorite maps, and it looks great on phones and tablets. The game's liberal use of bots hampers the experience a bit, and the battle royale mode could stand to have a slightly smaller map or something to make firefights happen more often. Future updates will likely make the game even better, though there's also a chance that the in-game economy will be re-balanced to try to get players to buy into the microtransactions. In its current state, though, Call of Duty Mobile is a pretty great mobile FPS that will no doubt please fans of the franchise.
Call of Duty Mobile is out now for iOS and Android mobile devices. Game Rant played the game on an iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy S8, and an iPad.