Review

Call Of Duty Mobile Review - Boots On The Go

  • First Released Sep 30, 2019
    released
  • AND
  • IOS

A faithful and robust port with a surprisingly great control scheme.

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Translating the speed and precision of Call of Duty's multiplayer to a touch screen sounds like a no-brainer. You want the same high-octane action on the go, and now that most phones support Bluetooth controllers, the issue of virtual buttons and joysticks bogging down the experience is a moot point. It's both curious and surprising then that Call of Duty Mobile not only doesn't make use of more traditional controllers, but that it also doesn't feel like it needs to. Its smart control scheme is core to why this scaled-down version of one of the most popular shooters in the world doesn't make drastic compromises to get there.

Call of Duty Mobile is like a greatest hits tour of the best aspects of the series' console multiplayer. It features the most popular game modes and some of the best maps from Modern Warfare and the first two instalments of Black Ops, faithfully recreated to give you the same sight lines and choke points you're familiar with. It looks great, too. Playing on an iPhone 11, I was surprised at how much detail is packed into each map while the game sticks to a silky-smooth frame rate, only briefly dipping with large amounts of action on the screen or out in the more graphically challenging open environments of the included Battle Royale mode. Weapons feature their signature punchy animations and sound effects, killstreaks retain their destructive glamor, and a variety of cosmetic options keep things from drowning in boring military styles. There's no mistaking it: This is Call of Duty.

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It does, however, leave out controller support, despite Android and iOS supporting it widely. Instead you have to use on-screen touch controls, with a handful of buttons and two virtual joysticks controlling the action. First-person games with this type of control scheme have been attempted numerous times, and they've hardly stuck. The inability to continue firing while both moving and adjusting your aim is the issue, typically requiring you to sacrifice one or the other to use a finger to hit the trigger. This is how both Fortnite and PUBG work on mobile, but Call of Duty Mobile gives you numerous options to tweak it for the better.

The default mode removes manual shooting altogether. Instead of tapping a button to fire, it's triggered automatically when you keep your reticle fixed on an enemy for a short amount of time, which is drastically reduced if you're also aiming down the sights. This lets you focus on keeping aim on an opponent at all times without having to temporarily stand still to hit fire, allowing the action in Call of Duty Mobile to remain fast and fluid. Additional options allow you to make minute changes to the controls, too. You can choose which type of weapons use automatic or manual firing (snipers, for example, benefit from more precise firing) and finely adjust how closely you need to be aiming at an enemy to trigger a shot. Its flexibility lets you experiment with what setup suits your playstyle best while keeping everyone using the same input method for balance, and it works really well.

A well-placed action bar at the bottom of the screen and contextual buttons for equipment, like grenades and killstreaks, keeps all your actions within reach, letting you tap them quickly enough to not seriously affect your ability to continue moving and shooting. Battle Royale also includes the same automatic pickup systems featured in Black Ops 4's Blackout, and feels far more suited for this constricted control scheme. Attachments and weapons that outrank those you currently have will automatically be picked up and equipped as you hover over them, while additional ammunition and healing items will be added in the same breath. There are instances where you'll have to dive into your item menu and make quick, small changes to suit your preferences, and navigating this on such a small screen is cumbersome. But for all the potential areas where Call of Duty Mobile might have had a problem with its interface, it approaches the majority of them with smart solutions that let you just focus on the action without worry.

Being free-to-play, Call of Duty Mobile does come with a recognizable suite of microtransactions and blind loot boxes for you to purchase, the majority of which only contain cosmetic items such as weapons and equipment skins. It's typical for the game to bombard you with messages when launched about new in-game currency offers, Battle Pass exclusives, seasonal events, and more, which is frustrating if you're just trying to log in for a quick game. Whenever you earn a loot box through natural progression, you'll be reminded of how much better its contained loot would be had you splurged on the Battle Pass, offering yet another pop-up to route you towards its purchase. Call of Duty Mobile is unrelenting in the way it tries to steer you towards options that require your credit card, but thankfully it has a miniscule impact on gameplay.

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Traditional progression governs when you unlock new weapons and equipment, and there's no way to pay money to speed this process up. As you rank up, you'll unlock new custom class slots, tactical equipment, weapons across all classes, and special weapons that you can use in a similar fashion to the hero abilities in Black Ops 4. Where it deviates is with weapon attachments. Each weapon you use has an associated level. The more you use a weapon, the more attachments you unlock for it. Although you can't outright purchase new weapons, you can purchase weapon XP vouchers that can drastically speed up the process of unlocking attachments for them. With just a few you can take a brand-new weapon to its maximum level in a few seconds, circumventing the grinding you'd have to put in otherwise.

This can give you an advantage, as spending money could allow you to more quickly unlock a precise red dot sight to improve your aim or a foregrip to steady your shots. It is easy enough to earn these vouchers through regular play, which mitigates the gap between paying and non-paying players to an extent, but if you're not looking to spend anything you'll have to play a couple of games with a slight disadvantage once you've settled on a new weapon. But once you've reached the maximum level for your preferred weapon, the playing field is entirely even again.

Beyond its messy microtransaction menus and the slight time-saving purchases, there's not much else in Call of Duty Mobile that detracts from its faithful recreation of the exhilarating and fast-paced multiplayer action of the core series. It's flexible and easy-to-use control scheme mitigates the lack of controller support, and its celebration of the best modes and maps the Black Ops and Modern Warfare series have produced makes it a pleasure to line up game after game.

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The Good
A greatest hits compilation of the best maps and modes from two beloved Call of Duty series
Flexible control scheme allows you to tune touch controls to suit your style of play with precise results
Looks great on mobile and runs exceptionally well
The Bad
Weapon XP vouchers can reduce some grinding for a fee
Overly busy main menus which bombard you with advertisements for in-game purchases
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Alessandro kept his boots on the ground while blasting through familiar maps and modes across 12 hours with Call of Duty Mobile. Nuketown is the Baby Park of Call of Duty and yes it's still the best. Review was conducted on an iPhone 11.
33 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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georgirobot

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Edited By georgirobot

Finally tried it today, honestly didn't expect the controls to work as well as they do. Sure, they take some time getting used to but overall the gameplay is pretty solid. Not only that, but the game runs great on a mid tier Android; there's only some occasional sound glitches.

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Lionheart199020

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Everyone all riled up about the microtransaction shit, I'm concerned about the fact that they fill games with bots, rendering the point of even playing the game totally meaningless. And this still got an 8.

2 • 
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KyleADOlson

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Is there a Microtransaction I can pay for which gives Gamespot some integrity? Just laughing off the scummy structure of this game, particularly considering what's been learned about the lootboxes, does a disservice to the players. This is the exact kind of FTP mobile game we should be fighting against, not accepting as "recognizable".

3 • 
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nintendians

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i say it good as it's pc/console counterpart.

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esqueejy

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Edited By esqueejy

Deserves a ZERO for its microtransaction scamming. GS failed on this review...very very hard.

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dmblum1799

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If you're a professional, commuting on a train with other professionals who might know you, you actually might not want to be seen playing a game on a phone with a controller. It's cool the screen thing works.

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sladakrobot

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Edited By sladakrobot

No words about rigged microtransaction chances?

5 different players bought tickets for real money and used those to try their luck on getting seldom gear/weapons.

Tickes are more expensive each time you bought them again.

Every of the above mentioned players got the unique gear/weapons exactly at the the time they spent over 250$ on tickets(i believe it was the 10th ticket they spent money on and got the unique stuff)!

2 • 
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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

Gamespots focus has changed completely with the move to "entertainment" and expansion to entertainment reviews etc probably payed for or to generate higher traffic makes sense, i get it.

However so many games are not being reviewed. looked at in favour of other sources taking its place, including this review.

I find it strange that this is being reviewed, maybe payed for i dunno.

I see the gaming relevance and to be fair its a pretty good game, but so are others on this platform, just seems odd.

Like many others i have moved to other media sources for games reviews that just are not covered by GS anymore, its sad as i used to visit this site sometimes 3 times a day, i do still visit occasionally, hence why im here.

This is no way a dig at GS or the staff, its a shout out to put more gaming content back into the source i loved for years.

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uninspiredcup

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@itchyflop: Yea, this raised an eye-brow, I actually thought it was a sponsored review.

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Litchie

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An 8/10, by crappy phone game standards, written by Alessandro Barbosa? Guess it's about a 5/10 game then.

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VFighter

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This is some sort of joke right...right?

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DEVILTAZ35

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is this a freemium game or what?

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KamikazeKae

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Played it any game mode that's not "ladder/competitive" it's 8 bots and 2 real people.

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Sound_Demon

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WHY. WHY GAMESPOT. WHY ALESSANDRO. How bad is gaming journalism that you're taking this many bribes when people do it for free on youtube and far better?

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@Sound_Demon: It's a popular game, tied to a very popular franchise. Why is it difficult to believe that this site would review CoD mobile?

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Sound_Demon

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@mogan: "It's a popular game tied to a popular franchise" Had all I need to read to know this argument isn't going to be constructive.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@Sound_Demon: It’s not an argument. I’m telling you why there’s a CoD Mobile review.

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BabeNewelll

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It's a Scam

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sharkboy917

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Lol did you just score the mobile cash grab better than the "global phenomenon" reboot/redo?? Simply stunning.

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Gamerforlife96

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@sharkboy917: lol and its actually sad

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Cloudzeen

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we just gonna skip the fact that they robbing and scamming people with the halloween event? preying on young to get more CoD points to roll for skins? these major devs are getting more and more greedy and have no shame.

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gotrekfabian

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Modern Warfare reboot: 7/10

CoD Mobile: 8/10

GameSpot, please...

6 • 
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Gamerforlife96

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@gotrekfabian: one that is a full blown reboot and one cash grab

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lionheartssj1

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Yea, but can I play it on my N-Gage?

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itchyflop

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@lionheartssj1: quality comment!!

Man i had one too!!!

LMAo

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sakaiXx

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Its actually a pretty solid mobile game

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Dalinar

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"Overly busy main menus which bombard you with advertisements for in-game purchases" is enough for me to take this game's rating from an 8 to a 0. I get that it's F2P and that is how they make their money but I can't stand over bearing micro transactions.

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Gamerforlife96

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@dalinar: yeah dude the moment you log in you are bombard with 5 ads every single time it gets annoying to the point I stopped playing it

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phili878

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Lmao

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Gamerforlife96

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@phili878: and its sad if you think about it

2 • 

Call of Duty Mobile More Info

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  • First Released Sep 30, 2019
    released
    • Android
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    5.2
    Average Rating4 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Call of Duty Mobile
    Developed by:
    TiMi - J3 Studio
    Published by:
    Activision
    Genre(s):
    First-Person, Shooter, Tactical, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen