Two days ago, I was making my rounds through Apple’s App Store. I was just checking things out, seeing what was new, noteworthy, or could otherwise strip me of some more funds. It didn’t take me long to find Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour. For anyone who’s played these games on a mobile device, then you know that it’s worth the money you have to put down to make it your own. (Currently, MC4: ZH is going for $6.99). For a series entirely focused on mobile, the Modern Combat franchise has earned its place at the top when compared to other first person shooters (FPS) on the platform.
With that being said, I was a little thrown off when I saw the marketing telling me, the potential buyer, that Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour features “console-like graphics.” Now, our very own Taylor Martin has stated in the past that he believes mobile games are quickly “closing in” on console-like quality, and I can see where he’s coming from (even if I don't agree with him). Yes, games are getting more detailed, and if you’ve got the right accessory, you can even play on something like the iPad with your iPhone acting as the external controller. You can do the same with an Xbox 360 controller, and Sony’s SIXAXIS controller, too. But, just pairing a controller with another device is a small part of console-like gaming.
Maybe in 2014. We’ll see. (Only if there aren’t any consoles, because obviously consoles are just going to get better, too.)
Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour is a fun game, and the graphics in the title really are great. I will admit that there are moments where Madfinger Games’s Dead Trigger stands out a bit more, but there’s no denying that MC4: ZH is an outstanding, and visually appealing game. For a mobile title. And that’s the kicker here, folks. Yes, the newest addition to the Modern Combat franchise is a great looking game, but it does not compare to what you get in titles like, just to parallel the modern military aspect, DICE’s Battlefield 3. And, it doesn’t look anywhere near as detailed as 343 Industries’ Halo 4.
These games are truly beautiful to look at when they are on your TV, and not just because they are on a bigger screen. No, it’s because of the level of detail therein. It’s the lighting. The shading. The small particles floating around, displacing light as they pass through walls of incandescence. It’s the detail in the characters you look at. All of these things are just “more” because the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and your gaming PC are just more powerful when it comes to gaming.
Mobile games are getting close to “console-like” graphics, but they aren’t there yet. And, to be fair, the marketing doesn't say which console they're comparing it to. But, without specifics, I think we're left to assume that we're looking at current-gen consoles. Or they're comparing it to an original PlayStation. There are a ton of options, after all.
Which is why, two days ago, I was completely thrown off when a friend of mine told me that he’s completely given up console gaming in favor of playing on his mobile devices. He didn’t say it directly, but I have a feeling that Gameloft’s Modern Combat series had something to do with that shift in priorities, too. (He plays quite a few games, and they probably had something to do with it, too. But, I’m sure Modern Combat played a big role.)
I’m a gamer, and that’s why I’ll play games on my phone, or tablet (when I have one), or my console. Yes, I prefer console gaming, because that’s what I grew up on. But I do love to pick up a game on my phone, play it, and then have the option to just put it down and go do something else whenever I want. And, games like Dead Trigger, Infinity Blade II, and Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour make playing those games worth looking at, too, thanks to their fantastic graphics. But they’re fantastic for mobile, and we shouldn’t (yet) be comparing them to a console.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a mobile gaming having super-amazing graphics for a mobile game. I don’t understand why we have to try and compare them to console games. Are developers trying to steal gamers from, say, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2? Is that even kind of working? No, it isn’t. Why? In part, because gamers are going to find ways to play games, and they’ll more than likely love to do it on both their mobile device and their console. So, are you trying to steal the casual gamer? The one that doesn’t play console games? Then they have nothing to compare it to, so just throwing out “console-like graphics” won’t count for much.
Sell your game based on its own merits. And, for the record, there are a ton of those to go around. You don’t have to try and steal the attention from console games, at least not yet. Maybe in 2014. But not yet. Instead, try to steal the attention from other mobile games in your genre. Because that’s your real competition.
So tell me, Dear Reader. Have you give up playing games on your console in favor of playing a similar title on your mobile device? Are you like my friend, and would just prefer to play a game on your phone or tablet, and leave the console for streaming movies? Or, are you like me, and just love playing games on any device you can play a game on? Does pricing play a role? Let me know!