MNC for you and me.
Every once in a while, a game comes around that's got enough similarities to previous titles that gamers everywhere will just write it off. Monday Night Combat is one such game, but don't let judge the game prematurely. Though it's easy to say it's just a Team Fortress 2 clone, take a closer look and the specifics will come into focus. For there you will find awesomeness.
[image1]Yes, Monday Night Combat does take class-based multiplayer from TF2, and some of those classes make comparisons easy fodder for naysayers, but there are some subtle nuances that make big differences. Classes include the all-around Assault, heavy-hitting Tank and Gunner, healing Support, long-range Sniper, and deadly Assassin. Each has a specific role in both modes of gameplay, but experienced players will learn how to buck these completely and stretch the boundaries of their given roles.
MNC offers Blitz and Crossfire modes, both with split-screen; specifically, that means online multiplayer Blitz and online Crossfire with support for bringing your friends in through split-screen. The limited modes belie just how deep MNC really is, and it'll take several hours of play to truly grasp each class in each mode.
Blitz pits players against an onslaught of bots, while defending their Moneyball, with a varying amount of rounds depending on the goal. The number of different enemy bot types can make things hectic, forcing you to think fast and adapt even faster. A few rounds at a high level teaches players how to cooperate as a team.
Crossfire is the real meat and potatoes. I played through each Blitz mode once before joining a lobby of 6-vs.- Crossfire, and I haven't looked back since. Crossfire throws Defense of the Ancients in with TF2 and really makes something special. Each team has creeps, continuously spawning bots, that head to the other teams base. They'll face off with evenly matched opposing creeps, so teams have to escort bots through to the enemy's Moneyball. Players can't lower the Moneyball shield, but once the bots take care of that, they can assist in damaging it.
[image2]Maps also contain customizable, upgradable turrets, jump pads to access other parts of the map, and the Annihilator which effectively destroys all of the enemy bots. In addition, every game you play resets your upgrades. As you destroy enemy creeps and enemies, you'll gain money to enhance your class with. This is a deceptively brilliant balancing mechanic where everyone starts on even footing in every match and gets players to entrench and invest themselves in the classes they chose from the start.
Upgradable powers and towers ensure games play out differently every time. It helps that each map is balanced, as are the classes. Players won't feel unfairly dominated, unless a team somehow spawns as all Assassins or all Snipers. At the same time, players will become more comfortable with classes by killing with and being killed by them. Everything you do in MNC is going to help you become a better combatant.
For a $15 downloadable title, Monday Night Combat is exceptionally deep and full-featured. If it weren't for Limbo, MNC would be the best game out of Summer of Arcade, and the community won't be dwindling for a while. Every time I leave it, I want to get back in. Players will feel accomplished whether they're killing enemy players on the frontlines or slaying swaths of bots in defense. There are so many roles players can take on in the heat of battle that nothing stays stale for long. Once you're bored of one specific class, there's another one right around the corner.
That's the best part of MNC; it improves upon Team Fortress 2. Switching between a defensive and offensive Heavy in TF2 takes more more investment than it does in MNC. Obviously, veterans of class-based shooters will adapt to this switch more easily in MNC, but new players will pick it up quickly too.
[image3]While there are a limited number of maps available in Crossfire mode and only one map in Blitz, you won't notice too much repetition because the action shifts often. It also helps that developers Uber Entertainment have pledged support for the game and even finagled their way into on-the-fly game balancing.
Xbox Live Arcade titles are constantly in danger of losing their player bases to future titles. Certainly few have held my attention longer than any disc-based title. Thankfully, Monday Night Combat has the legs and support it'll need to run for a long time. Don't wait for Monday. Play MNC any day of the week!