I was a big fan of n-Space’s 2007 Call of Duty 4 effort on the DS. Impressively, they had managed to pack almost everything that made the HD console version so fun into a tiny little DS game card. Now that a DS version of Modern Warfare 2 has hit store shelves, I was excited to see if lightning could strike twice. Sadly, it cannot, and Modern Warfare: Mobilized limps behind its impressive predecessor at a considerable distance.
The game’s most playable sections are the first-person shooting missions, which thankfully make up the bulk of the game. It plays similarly to every other FPS on the system—you aim with the stylus, move with the face buttons, and shoot with the L/R buttons. By and large, it feels a lot like the 2007 game. However, there are a couple of minor differences that become major problems fairly quickly.
In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, you needed only to double-tap the touch screen to enter "ironsight" mode, wherein you would look down the sight of your gun—a necessary tactic for shooting with any accuracy. Here, double-tapping has been replaced by a distinct icon on the touch screen, which I always had to look down at to tap correctly. And you have to tap it again to leave "ironsight" mode, so you end up looking at the touch screen as much as the top screen during firefights. It takes you out of the game and becomes tiresome.
Picking up guns or interacting with computer terminals is also more finicky this time around; you have to be in the exact right spot for the "hand" icon to appear. I found myself sticking with my default guns for entire missions, bothering to pick up enemy firearms only when I had run out of bullets. It’s also not always clear where, exactly, your checkpoint is. Looking at the touch screen, which does NOT display a map (only a radar) is no help at all, as it doesn’t take verticality into account. There were many times where I wandered right past a checkpoint because I wasn’t on the right floor.
Alternate missions break up the action, but they are generally boring and/or aggravating. You have not experienced frustration until you try to drive a tank in first-person. Switching between the cannon and machine gun is incredibly disorienting, and the tank itself gets stuck on the environment constantly; meanwhile, enemies are slamming you with RPGs. In one FPS mission, you are asked to guide an unmanned droid around an enemy base to find a nuclear device. The droid moves at the speed of a glacier and cannot defend itself; if it’s seen by enemies it is immediately shot, and you have to restart (there are no checkpoints for the droid). This is incredibly boring and frustrating. Another mission has you piloting a UAV, shooting missiles at hostiles and scanning buildings; it’s okay, but it lasts much too long. The one fun alternate mission is a repeat from the first game—blowing stuff up from on high while protecting your ground troops. The game’s "puzzles" have you sliding objects around on the touch screen, and there are also simplistic codebreaker guessing games.. These are often painfully simple and feel wedged-in.
The game features online multiplayer, but have fun sitting through the search process. You will generally sit and watch a progress bar for five minutes, only to have it say that there’s nobody online. Local multiplayer is more dependable, but it requires a separate game card for each DS. If you’re starved for some FPS love on your DS, you might want to give this game a shot. However, even its predecessor provides a more engaging experience, not to mention a few other notable DS titles, specifically Moon.