Monday Night Combat - Xbox Live review

Monday Night Combat was an Xbox Live game I picked up with Limbo and the latest Lara Croft game some months ago. I played through Limbo a couple of times and posted a review on that, and still have to put some meaningful time into the Lara Croft game, but now that I’ve played some Monday Night Combat, let’s talk a bit more about it.

I thought I would try and preface my reviews a bit more talking about the modes and the overall game, and then break down into the actual scores at the end and see how I like the slight modification to format. Monday Night Combat is an over the top shooter where the objective in the protection of or taking out of a Moneyball, a target that is a glorified piñata with tons of cash in it. This is no Call of Duty or Halo, and you have a simplified objective that is more important than rattling off some headshots.

The Blitz mode is a cooperative mode where you (and some friends if you want them to hop in) fight off wave after wave of incoming bots. There’s defense guns you can set up and improve upon as well as your own powers you can upgrade, giving the game a sort of tower defense and 3rd person shooter feel at the same time. The better you do, the more money you earn. The more money you earn, the more turrets and upgrades you can afford.

Crossfire is an online versus mode that is a blast, but loaded with chaos too. Once again you have turrets and you can upgrade yourself as you attempt to take out the other team’s moneyball. Both games require that you be fast with your upgrade decisions while being a quick, accurate aim too. There’s a fair amount to do between matches too. You can make customized classes that have various ‘sponsorships’ or perks that give you some small bonuses while playing. The better you do, the more between-match cash you accrue. There’s also a ‘leveling’ system as well, which is kind of a fun addition.

Graphics – 8:

There’s a graphical style here that’s wonderfully cartoony. This game was not meant to compete with Modern Warfare or Battlefield, and the graphics help to give it a unique feeling that really works for the game. If they tried to be ultra realistic it might have come across as a weak, lightweight attempt, but by making things a bit more comically over-the-top it feels fresh. Animations are solid and the overall team color schemes are good, though I did see some slowdown during frantic online activity and the zones themselves do lack some visual variation.

Sound and Music – 6:

I’m going to hit this one a bit. Music’s okay I guess, not memorable but it doesn’t get in the way. The game’s sound effects are okay as well, though I never really noticed it feeling as immersive as those found in higher end shooters that make outstanding use of my surround sound. The announcer’s voice kind of grated on my nerves and he was really repetitive.

Gameplay – 8:
The menus are easy to navigate, and once you know what you want to do with your upgrades, it’s pretty easy to do them quickly. The actual combat mechanics are not as precise as some of the top shelf games, but they don’t quite have to be to function well. The classes all feel unique as well, which helps lend some variety to the action. Some of my online games, as I mentioned in graphics, can slow down a bit when the action really heats up, and that can be rather annoying. It can also take a long time to connect to matches, but I never had issues with having to drop out of a match once one started.

Intangibles – 7:

The leveling system is nice, and I liked the customization options. The different classes add some variety to the game and give you a reason to try different things. The online play helps out a ton, since the single player offline mode is okay, but not nearly as fun as the more chaotic co-op and competitive modes. The lack of maps and additional modes really hurt though, and the lack of variety in sounds and arenas do give a sort of ‘been there, done that’ vibe after awhile.

Overall – 7.5:

I enjoyed the game overall. It was fun, and there were goals that kept me coming back for more and tweaking my contestant. I mentally found myself thinking this was Smash TV for the current consoles, or at least a lightweight version of what a fleshed out modern Smash TV could be (I loved that game in the arcade). I came in to this game with modest expectations at the time, having decided to take part of an Xbox promotion at the time to buy 3 games. I picked up Lara Croft and Limbo and then waffled between Monday Night Combat and Castlevania for awhile, but finally opted for Monday Night Combat and definitely did not regret it. It lacks serious depth, but it fits my occasional need for a quick sit down and shoot something fix.


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