Review XBLA: Monday Night Combat

Monday Night Combat is the plucky new contender to hit the Summer of Arcade scene, bringing with it a definite enjoyable shooting experience from many angles and with very suitable Tower Defence developments alongside. This is by no means, a mindless Team Fortress 2 clone.

For a genre somewhat planted in its terms of creativity and diversity Monday Night Combat came as an initially unbelievable delight as it’s visually ideal and engaging with its Team Fortress 2 inspired impression and design. One of MNC’s simple and ample innovations to the genre’s structure is that you don’t particularly concentrate on building strategic defences from above, you’re given attack options on the ground due to your players 3rd person view point and upgradable attacks. This instantly turns an otherwise flat predictable game into an exciting and speedy one, opening up an exciting new array of different directions for the developers to utilise. Along with these new developments the nicely familiar visuals create a widely approachable and conventional feel.

The character you control has three special moves and two weapons at their disposal; these vary depending on which of the six different character classes you have choosen from and can be upgraded to produce more umpf with the cash you collect from fallen adversaries. The ‘Assault’ class is the most equally balanced class with offensive, defensive and speciality bars all levelled off and makes the ‘Assault’ class the best place to start. You have a remotely detonated bomb you can attach to enemy players, turrets and bots using X, you can hover using the Y button before or after a jump and you can charge towards the enemy sending them soaring out the battle field with the B button. The two weapons and these actions together create an amazing amount of combat diversity alongside the other points of interest in the level, which overall adds up to a near perfect formula for upgradable and strategic 3rd person shooter game-play.

Turret points can be found carefully placed around the map, normally around the point you have to protect called the ‘Moneyball’ along with some small ability pads. These all cost cash to activate and upgrade so at the beginning of the game you will have to decide with the limited cash you have at the start of the game to either upgrade yourself or the A.I. To upgrade or build a turret you just walk up to the small round bases and press down on the D-pad, this will bring up four turrets to choose from. The ‘Lazer Blazer’ turret is the cheapest and easiest to deploy but is defensively the weakest, you will find strengths and weakness with these turrets just like the character classes meaning you have more combat options when the right situation arises. There’s also the ‘Rockit’ turret named after its obvious use, ‘Shaveice’ turret which is used strategically to slow down enemies and the ‘Long Shot’ turret which is capable of hitting foes from a distance. They’re all upgradeable to level 3 and steadily cost more eachtime and your core abilities also work this way, just by pressing up on the D-pad you can upgrade these too.

Monday Night Combat gives you the chance to be the strategist and the soldier without any great hassle and it’s all put together onto carefully designed multi-path maps. MNC’s sudden immersive quality’s are prominent from the very beginning as all movements are smooth and easy to control, alongside beautiful visuals means you can pretty much start kick-ass straight away and simply enjoy the modes and staggered difficulties MNC has to offer without any drag.

Blitz mode, one of the two core modes that you have available, consists basically round one point you must protect, your ‘Moneyball’ and then your turrets are placed around this point to protect it. Blitz mode has five challenges to choose from, all five waves have escalating difficulties and the very last challenge is the infinite one, ‘Sudden Death Blitz’. Single player plays perfectly well and is just sheer fun but you can go Co-op if you wish, which pits you and three other players against these challenges. Blitz mode gets a big boost from its multiplayer feature and raises the difficulty bar depending on how many players are in the match, this creates more interesting attack and defence options especially when you have those six different classes to choose from.

Crossfire mode is built on the same principles as Blitz mode but the difference is two teams of four have to counter and match the opposing sides contrasting attacks to win. This mode will shake up your previously gained knowledge of the game as the less effective skills and classes you dropped before now become just as beneficial as the ones you’re already accustomed to. Crossfire mode brings most of the games aspects together and then gives you the task of accompanying your bots to the enemies side and defending your own space at the same time amongst a melee of other human players. This adds alot of quality and speed to Crossfire mode and gives it a push in a compatible direction for the type of characters and equipment you’re given, seriously opening the game up for some brutal multiplayer action.

They’re some extras to be had in the ‘Locker Room’ section of the game like, creating custom classes in the ‘Custom Class’ tier, ‘Highlights’ which are Modern Warefare type emblems that you can acquire and equip and there’s a place to look at your overall career stats.

Monday Night Combat not only gives you a solid fun experience offline but can offer the same and more in its online modes as both Blitz and Crossfire work very well in conjunction with each other, this leads to a lot of of lively gaming in amusing mini-bites. For a Tower Defence game it rules above most with bundles of creative thinking that manages to break those already indented, dull and lifeless patterns in the genre, and with its charismatic and active game-play should reel in a wide variety of gamers to its door as it’s a top quality arcade title within its own right – never mind the fact it could delight fans of the Shooter genre delightfully too.

Score: 9/10

Publisher: Uber Entertainment, Inc.

Developer: Uber Entertainment, Inc.

Genre: Shooter


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