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S&S Mobile Review: N.O.V.A 3


Title: N.O.V.A 3
Format: iPhone/iPad
Release Date: 3rd May 2012
Publisher: Gameloft
Developer: Gameloft
Price: £4.99 ($6.99)
Size: 1.57GB

As the landscape of mobile gaming continues to become legitimised by big brand gaming like Grand Theft Auto 3, Max Payne, Batman: Arkham City Lego Harry Potter how does N.O.V.A 3 a game that has only appeared on mobile devices fit it in amongst the big boys of popular gaming?




Presentation and Story:
In my recent review of Mirror's Edge for the iPhone I said that it was as good as anything on the app store. I was so wrong. N.O.V.A 3 looks incredible and not just for a mobile game. This looks good when compared to fully blow console games. I have played this on both the iPhone and the iPad and on both it is clearly the very best graphics I have ever seen on a mobile game.Even when played on the iPads bigger screen it doesn't fall over and perhaps looks even better as you can see much more clearly the detail that has gone into the environments and character models. When you first load this game up it takes a while to actually believe you are playing this beautiful piece of gaming on a phone!
And it doesn't just look good. The sound is very well produced. It has great sounding guns and explosions happen with a punch. The sci fi sounds are really good and help add to the overall immersion of the game. The iPhone/Pad speakers handle the noise well but I recommend plugging in your head phones or hooking up to some big speakers to get the full effect the sound can provide.
The story is your usual space shooter affair and it's very easy to see how much this game was influenced by the likes of the Halo series and Crysis especially during the levels set in the city at the beginning of the game. It's what you'd expect of a game of this genre. Some aliens or monsters want to destroy the world or take over it and it's your job to save everyone. It isn't going to win any innovation awards in story telling but if you're looking for a game with a moving narrative you might want to look elsewhere.


Gameplay:
Now, I have always had big problems with shooters on mobile devices. Because you only have the use of your thumbs it can often feel like you don't have enough control of what you want to do. You have to stop moving to change weapon or throw a grenade. N.O.V.A 3 handles this problem very well and it never feel like you're stretched or unsure of how to perform a particular command. As you would expect your left thumb controls your movement in the exact same way as the left analogue stick does on a control pad. You also have the sprint command on the far left of the screen which feels like a natural place for it. Your right thumb controls everything else. Looking around is achieved by moving your thumb around the right side of the screen, you can also shoot and look at the same time by pressing the shoot button and sliding your thumb around. You reload and swap weapons by touching or sliding your thumbs on the icon of your ammo remaining. Jump, aim and your powers are all surrounding the big shoot button so everything feels natural and easy to press. It can feel a little more uncomfortable on the iPad, due to the size of the screen the iPhone feels just a bit more natural in my hands.
The levels have been made using the idiots guide to what you should put in a FPS. You have normal mid-range gun battles, sniper sections, areas that require the use of a rocket launcher and some vehicle sections to. Again not very original but very fun none-the-less.


Final Thoughts:
If this game came out on PS3 or Xbox 360 then it would probably not have impressed me so much and in fact there is a good chance I wouldn't even have played it. But the fact that this game is even possible on something as small as the iPhone makes it worth buying. You just have to see it to believe it, and once you get passed the unoriginality of many of the aspects in N.O.V.A 3 you will find an extremely fun easy to pick up and play, very solid FPS here.

Final Rating: 8/10
email: rubberduck1988@gmail.com
twitter: rubberduck1986


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