One of the most successful development studios to ever hit the AppStore is, without a doubt, Gameloft. With over 100 iOS titles, and a $164 MILLION revenue, it’s hard to dispute that. Whether you hate or love em, they know what they’re doing, and have created some amazing titles. One of their most well-known and loved series has to be N.O.V.A. (Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance), releasing the 3rd title in the series earlier this year, this ‘Halo-Clone’ is one of the most popular games in the AppStore. The first N.O.V.A. won IGN’s Best Action Game of the Year, won Pocket Gamer’s Gold Award, and was praised by just about every review site known to the iOS gaming community. A year later, N.O.V.A. 2 – The Hero Rises Again, again won Pocket Gamer’s Gold Award, and was praised even more than the first. A year and a half after N.O.V.A. 2 hit, it was again time for Kal Warden to battle it out, this time, on Earth, in N.O.V.A. 3.
Like the previous N.O.V.A. titles, N.O.V.A. 3 has both a single player campaign mode, as well as a multiplayer mode (both online and local wi-fi). The single player story mode contains 10 huge levels with about 6-8 hours of gameplay. Like the previous titles, the difficulty ramps up as you progress through the game at a pretty constant and manageable rate. Unfortunately, there are no separate difficulty settings like the previous 2 titles, though some might prefer this; you either can or can not beat the single player campaign, and beating it gives more a sense of completion, because you’ve gone through the exact same thing as everyone else.
So, you might be asking yourself; ‘That’s nice and all, but is there anything in the way of rewards if I completely kick the games butt?’ Gameloft has thought of that too. N.O.V.A. 3 contains an in-game store, where you’re able to spend currency to procure some pretty unique weapons. At the end of each level, you’re rewarded with this currency depending on how well you preformed throughout the stage. This is a great addition, even though you’re also able to purchase the currency through IAPs, the reward for doing good is there.
Now, what will really suck away most of your time is the online Multiplayer Mode. This time around, you’re able to have up to 12 players, which, for the iOS, is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, there are only 6 maps, but hopefully, like N.O.V.A. 2, more maps will be added in future updates. You are able to choose between 6 different gameplay modes; Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch, Freeze Tag, Capture The Flag, Capture The Point and InstaGib. You’re also able to set time and kill limits as well. Another aspect that makes the Multiplayer Mode great is that, for the first time, multiple players can jump into the same vehicle, allowing for loads of destruction.
Not into Online gameplay? Not to worry. N.O.V.A. 3, carrying on with the N.O.V.A. story, has got to be the best title in the series. The graphics have had a pretty big step up from the last two, and the game plays more like an actual console game. I was very impressed on several occasions while making my way through the game, and was even reminded of F.E.A.R. 3 more than once (maybe this had to do with the slow-motion sections, I’m not sure). It’s definitely one of the very few First-Person-Shooters on the iOS that’s going to be a blast playing through a second, or even third time. The animations are also a huge step up from the last two, with fantastic explosions, smooth movement, and nice death scenes.
Chances are, if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ve already picked this up. But on the off chance that you haven’t, you need to. N.O.V.A. 3 could very well be the best FPS available for the iDevice. Even though there are some issues, a lot of the Multiplayer problems have been fixed via the latest update (Version 1.0.1). There are pretty long loading times, though this is very understandable once you see what the game was loading, and there is some occasional slowdown during hectic gameplay, though nothing game-breaking, it’s worth noting. The online features do have some occasional lag, which results in players jumping around on screen, and some pretty nasty hit detection, but again, this is only occasional, and is not game-breaking. Like most online multiplayer games, there are issues to be worked out, as not every iDevice with every OS can be tested on, and things like how old your device is, how used it is, how much space you have, and your internet connection can all play parts in how a game runs on your device. But even with all of this being said; N.O.V.A. 3 is a blast, will only get better, and is highly recommended. Gameloft has once again provided a very well rounded FPS adventure. One that’s definitely worth experiencing.