Games for the weekend: Modern Combat 3

Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome enough to keep you busy until Monday, at least.

I’m starting to think there’s a union rule: In every shooter, the helicopter, plane, train, or automobile you use to arrive will be destroyed. Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation ($6.99, Universal) for iOS(s aapl) is no exception. Combined forces of Very Bad People doing Very Bad Things have taken over some cities in America. Even though the American Armed Forces number over a million soldiers, apparently it’s up to just you to solve this problem.

Well, not just you alone. As in most of the Modern Combat series, there are various NPCs that accompany you through the 13-mission campaign that spans Los Angeles to Pakistan. I’d say they help you, but most of their support so far seems to involve yelling encouraging things and laying down random covering fire.

Games like Modern Combat 3 are starting to make me question my decision to pass on the iPad 2. Not so much for the increased graphics performance — when I did a test restore of a friend’s iPad 2 a while back to check it out, I didn’t notice a huge difference in games — but for the AirPlay Mirroring. I’m rapidly coming around to the idea of sitting on my couch playing a shooter on my iPad and TV. MC3‘s graphics are quite good. I’m starting to get as much value from a $7 iPad app as I am from $60 Xbox (s msft) games.

The only problem I had with this game was with controls. When I wrote about Shadowgun, I raved about how customizable the controls were. In MC3, I didn’t have that flexibility. As a result, I’d end up shooting when I wanted to look around. With Shadowgun, I could move individual controls around; in MC3 I could only choose between three presets I was never fully happy with.

Even so, with 13 single player missions and 6 multiplayer maps for the low cost of seven bucks, Modern Combat 3 is this week’s Game for the Weekend.