mjhealy's Monday Night Combat (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

The TF2 Clone That Isn't a TF2 Clone

One look at Monday Night Combat and one thing jumps to your mind, "It's a Team Fortress 2 clone!". This really isn't the case, however. Monday Night Combat is a fast-pace addicting little mulitplayer game that just shares TF2's basic art style and general class system. If anything, it shares more of it's concepts with Defence of the Ancients as opposed to TF2.

 The always difficult choice.
The primary game mode in Monday Night Combat, Crossfire, involves you defending your base, known as the"Moneyball", against the opposing team. Instead of you and your five other team mates destroying the Moneyball, the teams have a series of bots that are controlled by AI. They will battle it out with one another and you must help them toward the enemies' Moneyball. This is where we see the influence from DotA. Only your bots (or "creeps" as they are known in other games) can take down the shield on the Moneyball.
Taunting, a flawless tactic.
Combat in Monday Night Combat is divided between the six different classes (or Pros as they are known in the game), Support, Tank, Assault, Gunner, Sniper and Assassin. Each one has their own four unique abilities you can level up (using money you earn) to be used to defeat the enemy across the game's four maps. These abilities are what bring the unique feels to each one of the classes. The abilities bring a fun twist to the preceedings and keep you wanting to come back for some more. Using the skills makes up for the OK shooting mechanic in the game, which, gets the job done but it can still leave you wanting for a bit more. Custom classes can also be purchased to mix up some of the characteristics of each class, providing a bit more depth to the gameplay.  
Visually, Monday Night Combat isn't the most technically impressive game. The artstyle may be very derivative of TF2 but it just doesn't look as good. The colours look a bit washed-out on each of the characters models and it just doesn't look too great. It does the job required but it lacks some visual flair and texture clarity as well as being an un-original artstyle.
Support is both a Medic and an Engineer.
The most important thing about the combat, apart from the class and abilities, is that it is just some damn silly fun. Grappling someone to see them fly off screen to the words of "RING OUT" is incredibly satisfying. The combat is very, very frantic. Everything is constantly moving, and when the shit hits the fan, the game can have some real crazy moments. Icing someone in the back as an Assassin feels great, getting a "pancake" by squashing someone as a gunner is just oh-so-satisfying.

There is a second game mode in Monday Night Combat called Blitz. It is a " survival" mode. Essentially, you and three other
 Man vs. Machine.
players have to protect a moneyball from a series of waves of bots. Although this just sounds like your "commoner gardener" survival mode, it is actually a whole lot of fun. The different number of turrents that can be built and the abilities your class can use brings a fresh look at the now overused survival mode. Deciding on where to spend you hard earned cash and trying to keep your turrets alive is really fun and exciting, especially in the game's manic Scramble Blitz. Blitz is a nice change of pace from Crossfire and it's a great addition to the package. 
There still chinks in Monday Night Combat's armour, however. A couple of flaws in the game holds MNC back from being a five star game. Firstly, the announcer is atrocious. Some may find his dumb lines funny but there is way too much repetiton to be amusing, the same stupid lines are heard over and over again. The game's performance isn't great either. When playing Crossfire, the frame rate will start to dip better hard when some action starts. In Blitz, the problem is a lot worse. When things start to get real serious, the frame rate will fall very far, which is a shame as you need to ready for all of the onslaught in Blitz. There is also a strange texture problem where just about many textures during gameplay (and weirdly in the menus too) have texture pop-in, which can really bring down some of the visuals.
All in all, Monday Night Combat is some good, multiplayer fun. Considering it is only $15, there is a lot of replayability in there. Some things drag it down, OK shooting controls, some graphical weirdness, but Monday Night Combat still backs a nice punch for a TF2 clone that in many ways, doesn't play like TF2 in the slightest.
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