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Monday Night Combat Review

Game Review: Monday Night Combat
Release: August 11th, 2010
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Available Platforms: 360
Players: 1 local, co-op 1-2 local, 2-4 players online co-op, 6 player versus multiplayer mode
MSRP: 1200 MSpoints
ESRB Rating: T
Website: http://www.uberent.com/

Monday Night Combat is a class based, third-person shooter developed by Uber Entertainment.  Released as part of the Summer of Arcade 2010, this game has gotten a fair bit of hype and attention thanks to the marketing drive from Microsoft.  Monday Night Combat is set in a future where violent and deadly combat is played for sport.  The combatants hope to gain fame, money and endorsements from companies sponsoring the sport.  Combining various genre, Monday Night Combat pushes the entertainment value packaged up in this high energy shooter.

Monday Night Combat is the lethal sport of the future attracting the eye of various corporate sponsors.  Your goal, as a combatant, is to gain money, fame, and sponsors as you make your way towards the top of the leaderboard.  While the game is fairly easy to pick up and understand, it does provide a tutorial that does a good job of explaining the game using one of the six available classes.  The game chooses the Assault class to show you the basics of the game.  You will need to read the How To Play section for specific details on the remaining classes.  The classes available in the game are assault, tank, sniper, support, gunner, and assassin.  Each class has its own primary and secondary weapon as well as four skills that can increase an attribute of the character.  During the game play, these weapons and skills can be upgraded using cash earned during the match.  As you play and earn money, you will also earn endorsements that can be applied to your character to increase the attributes of that character.  Endorsements come in  three levels; gold, silver, and bronze.  Gold endorsements will increase an attribute the most while a bronze endorsement will increase the attribute slightly. You can only employ one endorsement per level; i.e. one gold, one silver, and one bronze.  The game tracks your lifetime earnings that you can use to purchase one of six custom class slots.  These custom class slots allow you to customize a character by selecting a role and applying endorsements to change their attributes.  The custom class slots do not allow you to change the actual role of the character such as weapons and skills.

Monday Night Combat has two modes of game play: Blitz and Crossfire.  In Blitz mode, you can play solo, split screen co-op or online co-op with three other players.  Players work together against wave after wave of bots seeking to destroy the Moneyball.  There are two types of robots in the game. Breach bots follow a set path from where they spawn to attack the Moneyball.  Eliminator bots pick an enemy player and attack that player until they die. Once the player is eliminated, the bot will attack turrets and then the Moneyball to reduce its shield trying to ultimately destroy it.  There are eight total bot types in the game that make up each wave of attacking bots.   As you destroy the attacking bots you will earn money that you can use to upgrade your skills, build turrets, or unlock various parts of the maps to use a special action such as a jump pad.  In Crossfire mode, you play with a team of six players trying to destroy the opposing teams Moneyball while you defend your own.  Each team has the ability to send the various bots against their enemy to aid  them in their goal of destroying their opponents Moneyball.  This chaotic mode adds a new complexity to the game in that you must defend your Moneyball while attacking the opposing teams.  Bots that you send will, if they make it successfully, tear down the shielding of the enemy’s Moneyball allowing the human players to destroy it and claim victory.  However simple this task sounds, you will have to employ a defensive strategy to ensure that your own Moneyball is not attacked.  Your team will find itself needing to split its options between using offensive and defensive strategies.  Unless you can overwhelm the enemy with your bots and humans to quickly destroy their Moneyball, you are going to need to ensure that you have the defensive capabilities to survive any attacks that are sent your way.  Added to this complexity is the fact that Crossfire mode contains four maps that offer their own defensive and offensive advantages and disadvantages. Blitz mode has only a single map that makes use of increasingly difficult waves of bots to challenge the player during each match.

I think that the best thing about the game is that it is just fun.  Whether you want to play on your own or partner up with friends, Monday Night Combat will auto adjust the waves of robots based on how many players are present.  That is what makes the game great because in those instances that you can’t or don’t want to play with friends, you can fire up the game and work on increasing your stats and cash stockpile.  The game reminds me of Shadowrun in its implementation of the way that the players can play cooperatively against the bots or versus another team of humans.  The presentation of the game as a future sports league makes me think of the Running Man movie due in part to the announcer calling the action during each match.  Overall, I was very impressed by the simplicity of the game play and the complexity of the  various upgrade options and turret placement strategies.

Even with high praises, I can certainly see how Monday Night Combat might not be for everyone.  If you are the type of person that does not like Tower Defense games, the inclusion of that aspect might be a turn-off.  Each match consists of the players not only shooting the bots or opposing team, in Crossfire, but the necessary placement of turrets to help defend the Moneyball.  Turrets can be destroyed or damaged requiring you to either replace or repair them so that they continue to assist you dispatching the waves of bots.  Added to that, is the ability to upgrade the turret so that it is more powerful.  You can certainly play the game without worrying about the turrets, however there will be a point where not utilizing that option will come back to haunt you. In addition, depending on how you view these types of games, it can be a bit repetitive as each match will be the same thing over and over again.  Each game type is essentially defend your Moneyball against the waves of bots or defend and attack  against a team of other humans.  With only two game types, your choices are limited with regard to variety.

Paul’s final say: For me, this game is definitely worth the price of admission.  The ability to play four person co-op against the bots in the Blitz game type or 6 player versus in the Crossfire game type gives Monday Night Combat infinite replay value.  The over-the-top shooting action as wave after wave of bots assault your team in Blitz is intensely satisfying as you destroy them racking up the dollars.  The ability to build turrets you lets you concentrate on defending the Moneyball.  In addition, you can upgrade your turrets to deliver more devastating damage to those pesky bots.  The Crossfire mode adds in another layer of complexity to the game by featuring two teams of six players not only trying to defend their Moneyball but seeking to destroy that of the opposing team.  If you like shooters and Tower Defense type games, this is definitely a game that you will want to pick up.  Even if you are not a fan of Tower Defense games, I would at least recommend checking out the demo since the game focuses more on its shooter aspects.  All in all, this is a great game that should not be missed.

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