Review: Monday Night Combat
The presentation definitely didn't seem like it would be something to get me. I don't like the whole "Monday Night Football" thing; I'm not a sports fanatic. However, everything comes together just right for me. It has the feel of formal competition without anything serious about it. It really feels like everyone's just out there to have a good time, complete with a decent level of trash talk (the taunts are rather interesting). It's very colorful and clear; there's absolutely no confusion about anything with this game (except maybe whether there's glass or not). The characters are all unique, even in their ethnicities. The announcer is just a little annoying, but I feel the whole thing would be much worse without him. Finally, the music and sound effects all come together for an exciting experience of fun competition. The only gripe I have is that there's just no reason for women want to play this. It is masculinity all the way, made for the same personalities that would otherwise be interested in Monday Night Football. This is not to say it should work out for both genders, just that we still don't have much that could bring both genders together in competition. It's a tricky thing that I want to happen sometime.
The basic idea of the game is simple. You have a "moneyball" that you have to guard. It's got some shields that can regenerate, but once it's down, any damage the moneyball takes is permanent. There is no way to repair the moneyball, either. In the single-player and co-op games, you are defending it against the waves of bots that will come out at all angles to attack it. They've all got some good stuff about them, but some are certainly more irritating than others. To defend the moneyball, you have two preset weapons (you cannot change them outside of purchasing upgrades in that game), a grapple for anything about your size, and 3 abilities unique to your character. You can plunk down some cash to upgrade your abilities, set up automatic turrets, jump pads can be activated for more maneuverability, and some preset traps are available to activate. You can also purchase "juice," which is essentially equivalent to adrenaline or steroids. You can purchase "juice," which is essentially a temporary boost of adrenaline/steroids, or simply allow it to develop naturally by collecting it from defeated bots. Once in a while, the mascot will come out and dance around so you can shoot it. This provides a break from the real action and gets you a money boost to prepare yourself for the hell you'll soon encounter. The single/co-op game, known as the Blitz, has something for everybody and can provide plenty of challenge for you.
The competitive mode, Crossfire, incorporates everything I've just mentioned. Now the goal is to escort your bots to attack the opposing team's moneyball (you cannot hit it yourself until they bring down the shields). Both teams have bots automatically spawning for them, but most of the more advanced ones have to be purchased. Different characters will spawn different bots that way, but pretty much anything new against the opponent is welcome. Although you can totally go for the opposing players, the bigger focus of the game is going to be getting an overall team advantage, because the bots are the ones that will end up acting on your ultimate goal of the opposing moneyball. You have to take every advantage you can to make it all work out.
|I couldn't get a good image of the Assassin, so here's her taking out that self-righteous Sniper.|
Fortunately, that same image is perfect for the next character, the Sniper. His abilities are mostly just so that he has abilities, since all he really should be doing is sniping headshots from extremely safe positions. I'm not good enough with him in this game, so I'm afraid I can't really be too informative. His X ability makes Frak grenades to damage within a certain radius and be a very distracting lightshow (it'll be hard for the opponent to see with it going). B is a grapple, which really he should never use unless things are going really wrong. Y is actually useful, creating traps that will freeze any enemies that get in proximity. That makes the headshots way simpler.
This game is really a lot of fun, and I hope its popularity spreads enough to be a high-level game. I'd be perfectly entertained watching high-level players go at it in Crossfire. Make a 4-screen splitscreen with 3 players (change them every couple of minutes), and the 4th screen for the overall map. I know it'll never happen, but that'd be very amusing to watch. Smash TV just grew up! Here's an example game for my parting gift.