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

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Let's get ready to rumble!

Music can be argued hasn't really been completely innovative for awhile. With Pro Tools, keyboards and synthesizers and samples, the days of old where the Beatles and Queen had to experiment and somehow cram all their tracks is kind of gone. Likewise the days of movies and their relationship with digital effects when the days of Jurassic Park, Terminator 2 and Star Wars which generated "holy ****, how'd they do this?" to "oh it was digital". Granted, that doesn't lessen the quality of a band's music or a movie's visual effects but it's hard to be completely new until some big game changer comes in to make people go "okay now THIS is new." Which is why Monday Night Combat's comparison to past games at times is marked as a negative even though I can legitimately say this game is one of the biggest surprises of the Summer of Arcade. It looked cool enough, I needed a new multiplayer so figured "why not?" Well, everyone else should take the plunge as well because this is one of the first multiplayers I've played in awhile where the negatives just seemed so picky and the positives are strong enough to hope the game thrives for a good while.
Here's the totally-never-heard-before comparison that Monday Night Combat is like Team Fortress 2. Sure Battlefield, Killzone 2 and the recent Singularity game, hell it's in Transformers too, is the idea of class based combat. Unlike Halo 3 or Gears of War which had weapon spawns inside the maps or Call of Duty where you brought your own weaponry into the match, class-based games tend to have players providing specific roles and MNC does this really well. You have your Assault (run-and-gunner who can hover), Tank  (heated laser), Gunner (mini-gun user), Support (turret and teammate healer), the backstabbing Assassin and the Sniper. The classes and their balances tend to work really well and even though as of this writing, the Support is a bit too overpowered but one can become really proficient as one class and not feel there is that one "God class". One thing I wish this game carried from TF2 was personalities and I feel this game just doesn't quite have it. While you might hear the occasional quip, the only real personality in the game comes from the surprisingly non-grating (though still cheesy) announcer and the weirdness that is Bullseye the mascot. But the game does sell its quirkiness quite well and though slightly generic in design, it's certainly charming in looks.
During the primary game mode, Crossfire, the game isn't quite 6 versus 6 as players can spawn bots to fight for your side and though they're strictly cannon fodder, they can provide nice distractions or sending a well-protected wave to the other team's base and just watch them scramble trying to clear the base of opposition so you don't destroy their money ball. Though you can upgrade your characters abilities to provide bonuses such as damage upgrades, you can also set up turrets such as lasers,  rocket launchers, ice turrets which slow the enemy down and the long shot, which basically acts like a mortar and they can all be upgraded so it becomes a nice strategic decision: upgrade my character to easily repel the enemy waves or upgrade the base defenses to keep them out. Though by the time the match is nearing its end, nearly everybody has already upgraded their skills and their defenses so it simply becomes "spawn bot" and see who wins.
The other mode featured is Blitz mode so whereas Crossfire was "TF2 meets Defense of the Ancients", Blitz mode is "TF2 meets <insert any tower defense game here>".  We can pick Pixeljunk Monsters because it's awesome or South Park because, well it's South Park but that's the entire premise behind Blitz: waves of enemies, set up defenses and keep them from destroying your money ball. It's a solid mode but the map is generic as can be and with a team of mainly the heavy hitters, you can pretty much clear the 30 wave mode pretty easily. The cool thing about this gametype though is that there's no penalty for dying, at least not as noticeable as Horde mode or similar gametypes where you were usually inactive until the next wave. The only thing lost is the time away from shooting the incoming bots but at least the nice thing is that the higher variations and waves get tougher so it becomes a bit intense.
As far as gripes, one I would say is the small amount of Crossfire maps (4) while Blitz only has the one but Uber Entertainment, the developer, did say they would be supporting the game post-launch so they're most likely not going to throw this one onto the Arcade and move on without DLC like the Blacklight guys are doing. Even if they didn't, Monday Night Combat is easily worth the 15$ asking price and with as much game as you get for this and just the Fun-with-a-capital-F you get with it, it's got all the accessibility for new players who don't want to get dominated by other online games while still providing the strategy needed to make it, hopefully, a long-lasting game.

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