Disclaimer: This is not (yet) a playtest review, but will be as soon as I can convince my players to jump to a Modern campaign.
Format: This is a 37 page PDF, which includes two pages of covers (front and back), a title page, and the OGl, so there are 33 pages of content.
Layout is very good, with a nominal, half-grayed-out circuit-boardey themed border alternating between left and right, as though this were meant to be printed and bound in a standard book-style format. There are occasional gaps of white space, at the ends of chapters, which is fine for a print product but was a bit disconcerting on my computer screen.
Unlike their earlier products, this one has the copy/paste setting turned to 'ON', which, in my mind at least, increases their usability greatly.
Writing, by Stan!, is of a style that is clear and un-ambiguous, and has a familiar tone to it. Without talking down to the reader, he makes it very easy to grasp the concepts. Stan! seems like an old friend and gaming buddy just explaining the new material. It also includes a number of sidebars that add extra detail and reasoning behind some of the design decisions. This is one of the best parts of the product.
Art is pretty good, and fits into the "Modern" style
A review, chapter by chapter:
Chapter One: Characters
There are two sections to this chapter, New Occupations and Class Combinations. New occupations are exactly what they sound like, more background occupations that you may select from when your character is first level. These are pretty good, although I don't see a lot of PC's coming from a Domestic (butler/maid/chauffer) background - great for NPC's, though.
Class Combinations is an inspired idea. Instead of writing an advanced class for every profession on earth, this section breaks out a ten-level progression for a number professions based solely on the core six classes. This section is both useful and truly showcases the versatility of the basic system. I would like to see more of this, both from TGM and from other Third Parties.
Chapter Two: Advanced Classes
A number of new Advanced classes, some of which are pretty good, some of which are a little problematic. I especially like the Adept and the Gentle Warrior. Adept is basically a Modern Sorcerer, while Gentle Warrior is a practicioner of the 'soft' martial arts (such as Aikido). Both fill what I saw as gaps in the spectrum of available classes.
The Criminologist and Profiler (both investigative types) seem to require a lot of input and foresight on the part of the GM, but that said, are very well written. If the GM can handle that sort of planning (or improvise well on the fly) then they would be very useful and interesting classes to take.
At least one of them seems a little redundant with a core class (Opinion Maker), and might be more suited for an NPC than a PC - although some of the class abilities are pretty cool.
Chapter Three: Feats
Of course, every new d20 product has feats. Most of these are pretty good. Some of them are a bit worrisome. Some of them are reprints from Ultramodern Firearms d20 by TGM's new partner, Green Ronin. (Personally, I am not a big fan of reprints of feats between sourcebooks - particularly from a sourcebook that is as popular and likely to be widely owned as UMF).
I very much like Back Off, Sidestep and the advanced Dodge feats, which all of which allow for some amount of increased mobility, or advance AC. Very much in concert with the Gentle Warrior Advanced class noted above.
However, there are two feats, Cross-training and Self-Improvement, which allow you to manipulate your attributes. Although the possible (positive) change to be gained by taking these feats is only +2 (by taking them both and applying them to one of the same attributes), and cross-training has a cost, I am worried about them, mostly on principal. As noted by the original game designers, giving a +1 bonus or penalty to anything makes it very easy to hide a penalty or boost a bonus - essentially gaining a +2 to the attribute for half the cost.
Chapter Four: Equipment
The first section of this chapter is pretty mundane - some interesting new survival equipment, and new luggage, but that is about all that is of interest here.
The second section is another really inspired idea - equipment packages. There are four packages listed out, Adventurer, Law Enforcement, Criminal, and Technician. Each has a list of common equipment, at four different price ranges, for characters and NPCs of those types. Most include weapons and a vehicle, and all the basics for that character type. The higher Priced packages contain all the stuff in the lower ranges, plus extras. (The adventurer, for example, has all the items that are written on every adventure's character sheet, right back to Bigby and Mordenkainen themselves - converted for modern times, of course).
The only criticisms I have of this section are:
a) an unclear sentance regarding the purchasing of the packages (which has been cleared up by Stan! on their message boards, and will be included in their errata.
b) Only Four?!? (particularly when this is one of the chapters that ends in a big white space!)
In addition to all of that, Stan! has compiled a list of the feats from this product, combined with UMF and the Core SRD feats, and made it available for download. It notably didn't include the feats from their Martial Arts Mayhem Preview, but I believe this will be fixed soon (if not already).
Overall, I give this product 5 out of five stars! - Great content, Great writing, a little unclear in places, but I really think it was $5 very well spent.