Casting off an FPS as being a carbon copy of another game from the same genre is too easy. These days, most developers realize this and try to incorporate at least slightly distinct gameplay mechanics to their shooters. Modern Combat: Domination uses a different approach by taking what it views as being the best features of an FPS game and mixing it together into a budget title that sometimes works. Unfortunately for players, ridiculously long load times and a somewhat shallow presentation make Modern Combat: Domination an easily forgettable experience.
The irony of Modern Combat: Domination, which I will refer to as MC:D for the rest of this review, is that one of the biggest issues is literally the first aspect of the game that you experience. After making it past the mandatory logos and warnings about smacking your friends and furniture with your PS Move, a title screen appears with the words "Loading." Especially from a PC gaming standpoint, I understand that games require some optimization when you first run them. As a Playstation gamer, I realize that I will sometimes have to sit for what seems like hours while a game downloads a patch or simply loads the next chapter (I'm looking at you Metal Gear). I of course gave MC:D the benefit of the doubt when this "Loading" appeared and stayed on the screen for 30 seconds (yes I timed it). After the half minute, the words changed to "Please Press Start". I thought nothing of the first loading section and followed the cue. Can you guess what happens right after you press start? The same text changes back to "Loading" and you're forced to sit through another 30 seconds of wait time.
A minute is really not that big of a wait when you compare it to the lifetime you've spent waiting for the wall you just painted to dry, but when you stop and think about what you've just experienced when you started the game you'll realize that the developers were very much aware of how awful of a taste making the player wait a minute in front of a loading screen would leave in their respective mouths. The first thought I had after this was that the "Press Start" was nothing more than a mask for a long loading time.
Pushing this issue aside, for now, MC:D is a multiplayer only experience with bots included if you're unable to connect to the internet or just antisocial. Included in the game are 5 maps and 4 game modes. The game modes are Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Domination, and a map specific game mode. These map specific game modes are round-based experiences that consist of missions such as planting a bomb, killing a VIP, or defending these objectives. My experience with each of these game modes was frustrating at best. Team Deathmatch is what you would expect, but I never realized how unplayable a game could be when the spawn points are so poorly designated. You don't spawn near your team, you spawn where it is safe. This could mean 5 feet from an enemy apparently. Deathmatch works because of these bad spawn points. Domination, which is included within the title, works well with the close-quarters chaotic gameplay of MC:D. The touted 'meat' of the game is in the map specific game modes. These are fun experiences until you finish your first round and are greeted by what I'm assuming is the longest load time between a round of gameplay ever. It is ridiculous how long the time between each round is, even worse between each map change.
As an FPS, MC:D uses very similar controls to games like Call of Duty. This does make it so that anyone familiar with console FPS games will be able to pick up and play MC:D. What Game Loft incorporated to try and separate their game from the pack was a money system similar to that of Counter-Strike. This system works except in order to buy new weapons you must first level up and unlock them. Once unlocking them, you then have to play well through a game long enough to have enough money to purchase that weapon. If you then die with that weapon, you are forced to try and earn enough money again to purchase it. This turns what seems like a good idea into nothing more than an annoyance.
This annoyance is prevalent in MC:D and seems to be a reoccurring theme. The problem isn't that the game itself is bad, its that there are too many hindrances keeping this game from being a decent title, even a decent budget title. Topping off the issues are the subpar graphics and sound design. Nothing about the presentation of MC:D will excite you. Currently MC:D is available for $7.99, but there are plenty of games on PSN that are cheaper, better, and more fun.
[Modern Combat: Domination]-$7.99 (PS3)