Activision has given us an excellent mobile game based upon the hit franchise Call of Duty.

In case you haven't played video games in the last two decades, Call of Duty is a first-person shooter with a substantial team-based component. Call of Duty has had several huge successes — games like Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops are classics — and they are hoping to bring that success to a mobile platform. The mobile game will feature many of the same game modes, maps, and weapons from all across the franchise, while also being a far friendlier mobile experience than previous iterations.

Lock and load

Call of Duty: Mobile

Take the fight anywhere

CoD: Mobile is an excellent addition to the Call of Duty family, and the Battle Royale is going to be extremely popular. We all just need to hope that controller support is coming.

What's the control system like?

Playing a multiplayer FPS on mobile is a challenge. Having enough real estate to see all the controls needed to play, and the actual combat is a balancing act that some games don't get right. To combat that, Call of Duty: Mobile has two different control modes: simple mode, and advanced mode.

Simple mode

Simple mode is the significant departure from the way you would typically play CoD on a console. Instead of having a dedicated firing button, your gun fires when you point the target reticule at the enemy. This might sound like a huge advantage, but it isn't. The firing accuracy goes out of the window in this mode, and you rush through ammo at top speed.

The advantage is you can move and look around much more quickly without having to worry about tapping the screen to get your gun to fire. After all, there are no shoulder buttons on a smartphone, so you only have your thumbs to work with. They have also included a setting to limit the distance the auto-aim happens when firing from the hip. You don't want to be wasting shotgun shells when the enemy is too far away.

Advanced Mode

Advanced mode offers a more console feeling experience. Activision has thought about the need for your controls to be movable, which is great. Almost every part of your heads up display (HUD) is movable to allow you to get the most important buttons directly under your thumbs. This mode also has an actual fire button, which is pretty important, and the game offers a tremendous amount of control over the sensitivity of your character.

Fine-tuning these details will likely be your life's work while you are playing Call of Duty: Mobile. The difference between a win and a loss could be how quickly you can Aim Down Sights.

Of course, all of this would be solved if Activision let us use Bluetooth controllers right? Well, maybe, but there is no sign of controller support right now. That's not to say it won't come at a later date, but for right now, you are stuck with on-screen controls.

Battle Royale mode

Battle Royale (BR) modes are all the rage right now and give you an opportunity for online combat on a massive scale. Call of Duty: Mobile has a Battle Royale mode, of course, and it's fantastic. Taking cues from, but not wholly apeing, Black Ops 4's BR mode, Blackout, this new take has several exciting additional changes to make it unique to CoD: Mobile.

The map "...features a wide variety of new territory to explore, as well over a dozen settings from previous Call of Duty titles..." including Crash, Nuketown, and Hijack. So while you are out on the Battle Royale map, you will be walking between these separate areas, or driving, or boating. That's right; there are four vehicles for you to choose from as well as a broad range of weapons out in the world.

One nice touch that I like is the available classes. You will be able to choose from different roles out in the battle, each one with a unique power and a perk. These different roles, when used in the two or four-player co-op modes, should complement each other nicely, making your team a machine of destruction.

One last fantastic thing in the Battle Royale mode is the boss fights. Dotted around the map are flares that call in an air supply drop, but boss monsters guard them, and there are actual monsters. I may or may not have been murdered by Cerberus while trying to get an airdrop on my own. You really will need your team — you are a team of four — if you hope to succeed against these bosses.

Call of Duty: Mobile Battle Royale is the best BR game on mobile right now

What kind of maps are there?

If you have ever played Call of Duty, you will know at least some of the maps Activision is offering for CoD Mobile. One of my personal favorites, all the way back from Modern Warfare: Black Ops, is called Nuketown. It's a tiny little map with only a few long lines of sight. Everything about this map is fast-paced and messy, just the way I like it.

All together, Activision has announced eight maps for launch, all spanning different games from the franchise, and all restructured to work well in this mobile environment. I am hoping that we will see some maps made especially for CoD Mobile, but right now, nostalgia is Activision's friend. I was willing to try it out just for the chance to play in Nuketown again, and I'm sure there are plenty of people in the same position. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the great game.

Among the maps that they have announced are classics such as Nuketown, Hijack, Crash and Firing Range. Each of these maps is extremely popular with the CoD community and should help draw people who may not typically play mobile games.

Call of Duty: Mobile for Android hands-on — Capturing that console magic

What about custom loadouts?

Being able to customize your character's inventory has been a staple of the game for many years. Being able to save up to five different combinations of weapons, perks, grenades, and even scorestreaks is an integral part of the overall CoD experience. Let's talk about the different things you can customize.

Normally you unlock new customizations for your loadout by leveling up or purchasing it using in-game currency, but Activision has used this as a way of making you spend real money. You do unlock equipment as you play, and you can buy stuff with in-game currency as well as purchase loot boxes. Thankfully the things you buy with real money are purely cosmetic, they are skins for equipment in-game, not the actual guns.

Weapons

This one seems fairly obvious. Throughout the game, you can choose between several different guns, one in the primary position and one in the secondary. These guns also have modifications slots as well to add better scopes and the like. In the standard Call of Duty, there is a considerable amount of variation in the type of guns and their modifications, and I'm hoping the Mobile version will offer up the same. There is also a section specifically for grenades. Some will be damage dealing, others suppression and you will be able to choose them as you go.

Weapons level up as you use them, allowing you to add up to five different attachments — laser sights, extended mags, and foregrips are common — making your guns more accurate, or faster to aim. This can gain you a significant advantage on the battlefield if used correctly.

Perks

Perks are character abilities that make you better at things. They are almost always passive, buffing you behind the scenes, and they increase some stat or the other. One example, called Ghost, hides you from an enemy UAV — one of the scorestreaks you can get — which is extremely helpful if you like to sneak up on people and get all shotgun-y.

You get three different perks to use in one loadout, and they can significantly change your play style. If you like using the shotgun mentioned above, then mixing Ghost and Fast Recover — your health regenerates faster — is going to make you a machine in close combat. You can get in, kill, then heal as you run to the next victim.

Weapon Skill

You get one of this per loadout, and it comes in the form of a powerful weapon that activates on a timer. You may want to unpack a colossal minigun to lay down cover fire, or get up close and personal with a flame thrower. Either of these and more is available for you to choose. You are only able to use it once or twice a match though, so use them sparingly. The flamethrower is brutal by the way; I've been using it a lot on hijack, and in close quarters it's devastating.

Scorestreaks

Scorestreaks — formally Killstreaks — are awesome bonuses you get for doing well. On the loadout screen, you get to choose what happens when you reach certain scores and what abilities you can activate when that happens.

The most common, and usually one of the easiest to earn, is the UAV. This scorestreak allows you and all your teammates to see where every enemy is on the minimap. Combined with other, higher-powered, scorestreaks the UAV can be incredibly effective. By using the UAV to pinpoint enemy clusters, other players can use airstrikes to cause massive damage.

Characters

The last thing to choose in your loadout is what you look like as you run around the map. While Call of Duty: Mobile doesn't have a massive range of customization for this — you won't be changing the shape of your eyebrows or the pointedness of your chin — it does allow you to play as some of the most iconic soldiers in Call of Duty history.

Characters like John "Soap" MacTavish, and David "Section" Mason, were the main characters back in the day when story modes actually mattered in multiplayer games. It's great to see these characters coming to life again, and I hope they bring even more into the mobile game as it becomes more popular. This is another way Activision has monetized the game, as you can get these characters in the loot boxes.

Is it just Team Deathmatch?

No! The CoD: Mobile team is trying to push the envelope when it comes to choice in this game. There aren't one or two game modes in Call of Duty: Mobile, there are at least five at launch so there will be something for everyone.

My favorite game mode, Domination will be available, along with the Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Frontline, and Hardpoint. All these game modes will let you play with a maximum of 8 or 10 players, depending on the game mode, and all of them are available as private matches, or as ranked matches. Ranked matches will let you level up using XP but private matches won't, just so you know.

Call of Duty: Mobile is a multiplayer masterpiece

What about inn app purchases?

If you want to support Activision and spend some real money in Call of Duty: Mobile you can. There is a currency called CP that allows you to buy loot boxes, as well as levels in the premium pass. The premium pass gives you cosmetic variations of the different equipment, as well as one-off new items like the Ghost perk. The more money you spend on the premium pass the more loot boxes you get.

Belgium is one of the few countries that Call of Duty: Mobile is unavailable precisely because of the loot box system Activision uses. Hopefully, we will see more countries follow Belgium in banning them so Activision can come up with a better way.

For now though, if you want to spend money on the game, we would recommend using a gift card to load money onto your account. The advantage of that, especially for the younger generation, is the finite limit in a gift card. It removes the temptation of spending vast sums of cash a month.

Safety first

Google Play Gift Card

Know your limits

Getting a play gift card is the safest way to give your child, or yourself, money on a phone. When it's gone, it's gone.

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