Heeeeeeeyooooooooooo! It’s Monday, Monday, Monday Night Combat! Are you ready for one of the most refreshing XBLA titles you have seen in a long time? Well you had better be because Monday Night Combat (MNC) is here and it’s here to stay. If you like tactical, class-based, gameplay then look no further because Uber Entertainment has put together one hell of a game and they are fully geared to back this game for the long haul. So sit back, relax, and dive into the future of Monday night sports!
MNC has a very simple premise: You are athletes duking it out for bragging rights, cash, sponsors, and the almighty hot wing. MNC delivers pulse-pounding, strategic, gameplay similar to what you would find in Command and Conquer and base defense type games with a fistful of third-person action thrown into the fray. The humor in MNC is similar to what you would find in Borderlands, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. The game knows not to take itself too seriously and leaves you with aching sides while having a killer time.
The sound quality in MNC is what you would expect from a current-gen game. Every gunshot is crisp and realistic. The voices are fantastic and hilarious. Not to mention every time you hear the crowd roar, you will get a hearty sense of purpose… that is, unless you’re getting your ass kicked. In which case you will know they are rooting for the other team.
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Gameplay in MNC is surprisingly deep. You earn cash to upgrade your class skills and set up offensive and defensive emplacements that can turn the tide of battle while, at the same time, you duke it out with the other team. Each team is comprised of a minimum of four players (16 players match maximum) and six different classes. Each class has a variety of skills and weapons at their disposal. Furthermore, there are several ways in which a person can go about using each class. There is no “right way” to play MNC which is one of the things that make it so enjoyable. It will take you quite a while to learn all of the ins and outs of each class but the more you learn about each class, the more fun you will have with them. “Easy to play, hard to master” was obviously pinned on the wall in their studio.
There are four different crossfire maps and two blitz maps. Crossfire is the main multiplayer mode that pits two teams against each other. The objective is to destroy the other teams moneyball. To assist you, bots are produced at your base which you will need to escort safely across the field if you want the extra firepower, and trust me when I say that you are going to need it. Along the way, you need to set up your emplacements effectively to keep the enemy team at bay long enough for your team to get in the base and obliterate their moneyball. Blitz is a mode pits players against waves of bots while protecting their moneyball in either: solo play, two player splitscreen, or four player coop over Xbox Live. You can even drag a guest online via splitscreen so you and the wife can own newbs together.
One of the most amazing things about the game is the amount of polish that was applied. If you were to see a screenshot for the game, you would immediately think it was full retail. While things had to be cut from the meta-game, the visuals did not suffer at all. Attention to detail is immense with the exception of the 8-bit fans in the stands. (Which merely adds a sense of retro charm to the game. Who doesn’t love 8-bit peeps in the stands?!) The game is over-saturated with fantastic contrast and an art style that performs the role of narrator for all of the wacky dialogue.
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The game really feels quite full despite the fact that there are really only two modes. The fact that you can play the same gametype so many different ways is a true testament to what Uber has accomplished. We say that we want more, not because MNC is lacking in what it offers, but because we can’t wait to get our hands on even more crazy gametypes, maps, weapons, and maybe even classes. We played with the Uber devs quite a bit and they are 100% behind this game AND the community. They have expressed an interest in keeping us hooked for a long time. They cannot confirm, nor deny, any future DLC but things look very promising. Just don’t judge the game too harshly because you are not able to be the MVP your first match. There is a lot to stomach and it’s going to take some time. We can definitely promise that this will be one of the most fun XBLA experiences you have ever shared with an online community.
Monday Night Combat is available now on the Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points. Be there and bring the hot wings!
Final Score: 9 out of 10 - Very Good (How do we rate games?)
Written by Kenneth Fulton
XBL: Arte Venture