Monday Night Combat was quite a surprise to me. I downloaded a demo for the XBox 360 and discovered a game that was more than just a simple third person shooter, it was a tribute to games of the past like Smash TV and the Grid. Humor in games is hard to do, but Monday Night Combat’s announcer Mickey Cantor was hilarious and the gameplay was a fantastic mix of speed driven death match games like Unreal Tournment smashed together with RTS/DOTA elements. I was sold on the whole thing from the minute I saw it and when I heard a new game was coming down I was super excited.
Super Monday Night Combat doesn’t lose anything in its new free to play iteration. It gains new characters, new maps, and even new announcers. I’m happy to report that the style of the first game is alive and well in the next (even if Mickey Cantor may or may not be). However, it is VERY different in gameplay and that may throw off some fans of the original. This version of MNC is slower, more DOTA-like and a little more methodical. There is no more turret building or base maintenance, bots are a much bigger part of the match, and the annihilator, as a result, becomes absolutely key to winning. This departure from a focus on simply killing opponents and maybe getting a few bots to the other side is a great move in my opinion because I’ve never been a fan of the straight up deathmatch. I do miss some aspects though, I really enjoyed upgrading and defending bases. I can’t help but think that Uber Entertainment decided to clip both ends of the FPS/RTS spectrum in an attempt to solidify Super MNC’s unique hybrid character. While I don’t agree with every choice they’ve made I think SMNC is a much better game as a result.
The free to play element works well too. Each week pros are rotated, and you can unlock pros, endorsements, and products with real money or in game gold. I think this is great because it doesn’t mean you have to dump a ton of money in to win, just play often and earn gold and you get that nice shiny new Bot Buster product for your gunner. The new characters are fantastic and each gives you many more options for the team roles. Combat Girl is a great support character, her firebase is actually several kitten turrets, smaller but able to be placed on any surface. Captain Spark is a madman able to teleport around the map and murder just about any player with his speed. The Veteran is a heavy player killer with a focus on grappling, a new and important aspect of gameplay in SMNC, and his multiple throws can be devestating when paired with his grapple claw. There’s quite a few more characters new to the game with different roles to play so get in there and start messing around because you’ll find a lot of the abilities fun to experiment with.
The new maps are excellent and the best part about SMNC is that the game is constantly being updated with new things. In fact, recently they updated the game with a mode called Turbocross that actually feels a lot more like the original MNC and plays quite a bit faster with some constructable turrets. As they say, the rules have changed and continue to do so on a pretty constant basis. I think this is great because it keeps the game fresh and challenging. Another recent addition was the in game economy. Similar to TF2 items, you are now able to trade products and endorsements to each other. Uber Entertainment really has a lot of great ideas here, I believe SMNC is going to be a force to be reckoned with in competitve gaming. I can’t recommend this game highly enough to anyone who enjoys multiplayer gaming of any kind.