Games like this are probably the hardest to get right, especially on a touch screen device. An action packed, third person shooter that has enemies coming from all levels and angles, 9mm is a stylish and full-blooded romp around a gangster and drug dominated city and the developer Gameloft has just about made it all hang together.
Playing a lot like Max Payne crossed with The Matrix with a little bit of John Woo thrown in, 9mm follows the story of John ‘Loose’ Cannon as he strives to clean the streets, and there are some great features that action fans will love to bits, such as slow motion dives, where you can actually see the individual bullets flying past you, giving you the edge on your opponents, and plenty of decent set pieces. The part where you are standing on top of a truck as it motors along the highway and have to dodge signs while shooting at a fleeing car is an early highlight.
Most of the time you will be running and gunning, but there are some fisticuffs and interrogation sequences to break up the action. The quick time style events littered around the game really are a bit of a chore, however, as they are of the ‘miss pressing a button and have to do the entire last action sequence all over’ variety. The swiping command doesn’t always register properly, adding to the annoyance.
The interrogation sections are pretty good, as they combine quick time events with having to choose the right answers you need to proceed the story.
The story itself is ok, and the voice acting fairly decent, aside from the main characters voice, which sounds like someone is playing it tongue in cheek, but as the rest of the story and characters dont reflect this the main voice comes across as woefully out of place.
The graphics are excellent, with the main character extremely highly detailed, and great environmental effects such as bullet holes and dust particles. The lighting effects are also really good, and present a step up over other Gameloft titles. There can be a little slowdown at busy times, and some of the incidental characters and objects can still look a little angular and blocky. Check out our first screenshot to see this: the character is rendered nicely but take a look at the tree.
There is a great soundtrack playing throughout, and it helps to add to the fast paced atmosphere. There are plenty of guns to use during the game, such as pistols, shotguns and machine guns, and you can spend money you earn in the game on more weapons and armour, and you can also buy more using an in app purchase.
The gameplay is actually pretty good, although it can be a little erratic. Running around and gunning foes that are in front of you is fine, but tracking fast moving enemies is haphazard, and the controls can be a little bit of a struggle when you are getting flanked. I think some kind of a cover system would have helped. I know you can duck, but that doesn’t really help too much and it would have been nice to combine all those flashy moves with the ability to take cover behind objects.
The flashy moves really are good though, and taking down a room of gangsters while jumping in slow motion through the air with dual pistols never gets old.
One part of those moves that I wished hadn’t been included is the way the game sometimes zooms in on an enemy just as you kill him. It happens way too often and can really put you off your rythm, and I felt this could have been better used as a way of indicating that you had killed the last guy in the room instead of seemingly at random.
The single player is just half the game, as there is a full multiplayer component to talk about, and it is really very good. Deathmatches and Team Deathmatches are offered and they are a real blast, with up to sixteen players fighting across four maps.
I didnt find any lag to speak of, and have had some great matches, but I wish there were more than just four arenas to play in. Hopefully more are on the way.
Overall, this is a decent action title with a whole load of style and some great looks. The shooting is good, and the slow motion is great, although there are a few frustrations to be found, such as the irritating zoom effect and not quite perfect controls. The online part is great, although the lack of maps does hold it back. The fact that this is a universal app for both iPad and iPhone is a welcome bonus.
If you are looking for a stylish shooter, then this is probably the best of its kind on the App Store at the moment, and has parts that are really console quality.