|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: n-Space||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Also, the difficulty needed more fine-tuning. On the console games' Medium setting, an intermediate player can pass most checkpoints on the first try, but occasionally hits snags. This is a great way to pace the game; there's enough challenge to keep the game interesting, but it's not too frustrating. Here, in part because of the horrendous friendly A.I., you'll find yourself dying at least once on most of the checkpoints. This isn't a huge problem, and some players might even like the increased challenge, but it does make the game feel a bit like a slog at points. Thankfully, there are only two outright frustrating sections, and one is the game's final mission.
Another contributor to the difficulty is the control scheme. The D-pad moves forward and strafes, while the stylus aims and the L button shoots. This basic setup is great, but it can't compare to the mouse or dual-joystick setups. It's hard to turn quickly, and there are some minor quirks in the hit detection (we found it helps to aim a little low when going for headshots, and to make sure your shots aren't hitting a piece of cover, which happens sometimes even when your sight is clearly on an enemy, not the wall). Also, you have to hold the DS in a way that cramps your hands and can make dark items on the screen hard to see; bending the screen past the point where it "clicks," so that it rests flat, helps. Slightly more complicated maneuvers, including running, crouching, aiming through your gun's sight, and switching to grenades, are handled by double-tapping D-pad directions or hitting icons on the touch screen. There's no better way to do this, but a lot of these movements feel a little awkward and don't always work, especially during hectic fights.
In part because you die so much, the campaign here is of a typical length for Call of Duty, perhaps six hours. The narrative, a companion to the story in Modern Warfare 2, has you playing as U.S. and British soldiers. You chase a nuclear bomb through war-torn regions, hoping to disarm it before terrorists set it off.
Once you finish the campaign, you can try again on a harder difficulty or opt for the various other modes, which include mini-games, challenges, and arcade play. The game also offers local and online multiplayer for up to six players with a good variety of well-designed maps. The multiplayer runs nice and smooth for the most part, but it takes forever to get started and the inability to turn quickly is more irritating than it is in the campaign. Depending on when you try, there aren't always people to fight online yet, but hopefully that situation will improve once everyone opens their Christmas presents.
Again, don't expect Modern Warfare Mobilized to do the impossible. There's simply no way to faithfully replicate the full Call of Duty experience on the Nintendo DS. It is possible, however, to recreate the franchise's basic style, and to turn the result into a very playable and enjoyable first-person shooter. That's exactly what n-Space did here, and for DS-owning FPS fans, this game is a must-buy.
CCC Freelance Writer