Monday Night Combat Review

Monday Night Combat (Available only on Xbox Live Arcade)
ESRB Rating: T
Players: 1-12
Genre: Shooter
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Release Date: August 11th, 2010

Parent Talk: Monday Night Combat, or MNC as I’ll refer to it, is a cartoonish shooter that takes the form of a gladiator competition.  It’s not overly violent per se, but you do shoot bots and clones.  Just use your discretion.  Performance-wise, all the typical next-gen features are present.  You can enjoy the action in glorious 1080p HD, and with Dolby Digital 5.1.  Simple.

MNC is unlike anything else out there right now.  Sure it’s a “sports” game at heart, but it’s also a tower defence game, and shooter.  Combine those elements together, slap a cartoonish graphical style on…and presto, you have another solid offering during this year’s Summer of Arcade.

The Great:

The best offense is a good defence.  Nothing could be further from the truth here.  Imagine if you will a “money ball” surrounded by turrets in a wide-open arena.  The idea is to protect this ball with your life, and either solo or with a partner.  Regardless, countless bots eventually make their way to the arena to cause havoc.  I adored creating and enhancing towers at key locations throughout the arenas.  Why?  Because once the next wave of enemies comes along, watch anarchy be unleashed on your unsuspecting foes.  Mwa ha ha.  It’s all good fun; I’ve never experienced anything quite like MNC.

The Good:

+ Appropriate mixture.  I’m talking about the two gameplay modes: Blitz and Crossfire.  Blitz has you and your buddies battling the bots I mentioned above, which try to steal that money ball.  The objective is to destroy the bots and earn money to enhance your skills and the turrets scattered around the arena.  This isn’t tough on the easier difficulties, but the exact opposite on the other end.  Crossfire is Blitz on steroids.  Instead of everyone cooperating to protect the money ball, it’s a six versus six competition.  Crossfire changes gears from defensive to offensive.  Each team protects a money ball, but you have to be mindful of your turrets, the offending bots, and the opposing team.  This mix modes is perfect, and I used Blitz to practice for Crossfire.  No matter though, I’ve had my butt handed to me over and over.  My teams have been complete garbage, and I found unlocking even one achievement all but impossible.  Yes, I truly suck.

+ Versatile character classes.  They make the experience much more enjoyable, and are important.  There are six classes.  I won’t explain every detail, but to offer an example of how varied they are, let’s look at two.  The assault soldier is your perfect weapon.  He packs heat and custom skills that benefit an offensive strategy.  The support soldier however, fixes your turrets with ease, and provides healing for fallen allies.  Each class is equipped with two weapons and a plethora of unique skills that benefit both offensive and defensive strategies.

The Bad:

– Too much at times.  I was overwhelmed at first.  I suggest starting with Blitz to avoid being creamed online with Crossfire.  Even the tutorial did little to prepare me for the deep gameplay.  Turrets can be upgraded multiple times, the skills are more important than you’re led to believe, etc.  A little more explanation and more robust training mode would have been extremely appreciated.  I may have been able to win once online then, but who knows, maybe this just isn’t my game.

The Ugly:

Why in the blue blazes is everyone so cheery?  Most of the class avatars wear “I just won a billion dollars! expressions.  It’s strange given how muscle-headed these guys are.  It’s nothing to really complain about, but certainly stuck out as odd when I started playing.

The Lowdown:

If you want a solid multiplayer shooter, check this out.  It’s worth your money and its roster spot on the Summer of Arcade 2010 line-up.  I may stink, but the rest of you would likely enjoy it more…so long as you’re a shooter fan at least.  I consider Monday Night Combat a decent download, but who knows what your opinion might be?

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