Review: Super Monday Night Combat
First, some background is necessary for readers who are unfamiliar with the previous Monday Night Combat. Fans of Smash TV are very likely to appreciate the design of this game. It's a third-person shooter with a Monday Night Football kind of atmosphere. Tons of pros, announcers, endorsements and commercials for the 23rd century's most popular bloodsport. Escort your bots to the opposing team's ball of money and destroy it before they do the same to yours. Games take about 20 minutes to play with the intensity of combat increasing as the game goes on.
I absolutely applaud what Uber has done for new players! It appears I got in just as they introduced Training Camp, an entire map set up specifically to allow players to learn all the different elements of the game and try out how things interact. They've got speakers made by every little area, letting Mickey Cantor tell people about the things they're seeing nearby. All the bots are available, all the pros march dumbly forward, the mascots are freely available, the hazards are (now mostly) there to try, and they even let you customize just how advanced your character is! It is probably the best sandbox training feature I've ever seen. Then they also let you do a practice game against a team of 0 players, letting you explore the maps and see how things generally work within a real game without having to worry about getting pubstomped. You die there, it's because you did something stupid, which is actually ok. The point is to learn, and I've seen plenty of new players learn just how deadly this game is by itself, not even counting what other players would do to you!
On to the game proper. The original MNC gave you 6 classes to use. They worked out pretty well, each very diverse and filling specific holes really well. Good luck figuring out which of the 15 freaking classes you want to use now! Now they've got 5 general positions they fill (appropriate for the strict new 5 players per team), and they're not evenly spread among those positions. Enforcers like the Gunner are the most numerous, and there are only 2 sharpshooters: Sniper & Gunslinger. I haven't actually tried all of them yet, but I've played enough games to know they all have good reasons to use them. It'll be interesting to learn just how they work out in the metagame. Just make sure that you have at least one defender (healer), or things can easily fall behind for you.
This is clearly not the MNC we already knew, though. Everything has a crapton more health, making them all that much harder to kill. In MNC, it was quite annoying to have continuous waves of bouncers on Spunky near the end of the match; imagine if they were like 5x harder to kill! Juice is no longer the superhero boost it once was. No buying & upgrading turrets; what you see is what you get (as of this writing, you can upgrade certain turrets, it doesn't seem intentional and will probably be patched). This game is much more campaign-oriented. The most you'll usually get for team deathmatch is when EVERYBODY piles onto the Annihilator, because when bots are a lot harder to kill the normal way, this easy way becomes much more important. It also takes about 5 seconds to activate, so it's not just like the highest ping gets it and your activation can be broken by just about anything (barring simply getting shot).
Super Monday Night Combat was actually released by accident. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I guess one update in the beta just opened up way too much for people, and Uber just went "&(#% it, go nuts!" One consequence of this is that there are only 4 maps, and one of them was just released this past week. As you can see, they've gone with the FTP model. I can generally get behind it, actually. Most of what uses actual money is cosmetic, and they even give you $15 to start. There are 6 pros freely available, exactly which ones they are being somewhat randomly determined every week. You earn credits as you play, which can be boosted by real cash, and you can use either currency to permanently unlock pros. Harder ones are more costly, easier ones cheaper.
|3 characters not shown in this early screenshot.|