Gameloft this week released the next installment in its Call of Duty-like Modern Combat series for mobile devices. That's no surprise, of course. But there's some good news for Windows users, in particular. Modern Combat 5: Blackout is available for both Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8/8.1, and was made so simultaneously with the release on other platforms, which is a first. And better still, you only have to buy it once: If you get the game on Windows, you own it on Phone too, and vice versa.

A couple of notes about what should be a fairly obvious development. Some good, some bad.

Modern Combat 5 is the first game in this series to ship on both Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x. Modern Combat 4 was made available on Windows Phone 8+ only. The series originated on iOS, as a way to bring a Call of Duty-type shooter to that touch-based mobile platform. I find the game controls on touch-based shooters to be difficult to use, but they're obviously popular.

The game costs $6.99, just like its predecessor. That's a lot of money, but if you do use both Windows 8.x (including the ARM-based Windows RT 8.1) and Windows Phone 8.x, you only have to pay once, as Modern Combat 5: Blackout is cross-licensed across both Windows platforms. (It's not a "real" universal app. But if buy it once you own it on both platforms.) Further justifying the cost, Modern Combat 5: Blackout is a pretty serious game, with different player classes, online multiplayer matches, story and spec-ops missions and a high-end user experience. This isn't a sad little endlessly scrolling mobile game. It's a big production.

The game-maker says that Modern Combat 5: Blackout "requires" an Internet connection. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but when you launch the game it notes that it downloads data as you play.

Modern Combat 5: Blackout also says it requires a "touch input device." I assume that means there's no way to control it on a traditional PC—i.e. with keyboard and mouse—which seems like an odd limitation in a modern game. But I had received some questions about whether this title supported an Xbox controller on Windows. That would be amazing, and I do hope it happens, but I don't see any evidence of that yet. (You can play Halo: Spartan Assault with a controller, for example, not to mention keyboard and mouse.) UPDATE: This game does work with the keyboard or an Xbox game controller. The choices are well-hidden under Settings, Controls. --Paul


Gameplay footage on Surface Pro 3


Same scene, Lumia 1520

The game does support subtitles, which is appreciated. They're even on by default.

Unlike Modern Combat 4, Modern Combat 5 is not an Xbox title. So there are no achievements on either platform. It's a big game (around 800 MB on both platforms) and doesn't appear to run on 512 MB devices on Windows Phone (i.e. requires 1 GB of RAM).

I haven't gotten too far into this yet, but I did get it installed on both a Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia 1520, so I'll try to get some time in over the weekend. In the meantime, let me know if you know more about the Internet connection and controller issues. I'm curious.

You can download Modern Combat 5: Blackout for Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store.

You can download Modern Combat 5: Blackout for Windows Phone 8/8.1 from the Windows Phone Store.