It’s after midnight now on this, the morning after PAX East; and I’m beat. I should be in bed, but I really wanted to talk about Monday Night Combat. If you listen to this weeks podcast, you’ll hear me going on and on about this game (and Baconnaise, but that’s another story).
Monday Night Combat is being developed by the fine folks at Uber Entertainment. It’s a class-based shooter, with the much of the feeling of Team Fortress 2 combined with the best aspects of the absurd showmanship of American Gladiators. The graphics have very much the cartoon feel of TF2, but the animations have a realistic feeling to them. This is likely due to the fact that animator is a wanna-be stuntman.
For those that raise their nose at the obvious similarities to other popular games CEO Bob Berry absolutely owned up to the influences. During our conversation he said it was completely natural that things the team liked about gaming were part of their work. In my opinion, similarities are fine, as long as they are well done. So far this game points to being very well done.
While those similarities exist, Monday Night Combat has a very unique feeling due to the approach they’ve taken to the arena format. From the in-game taunting to the MoneyBall to the fake advertisements in game (A cooler that keeps bacon hot and ammo cool is my favorite example), this game has a style all it’s own. A combat system might be great, but without style, it's not going to get played very much. This game has both aspects covered.
If the graphical style reminds you of one game and the assassins close combat reminds you of another, you’ll barely have time to notice because of the pace of the game. The point of the mode I played was to enter your enemy’s base and destroy their Moneyball. On top of facing your human opponents, the enemy can also build turrets and more uniquely send out drones to do their dirty work. The drones add the real depth to the combat, because while you’re giving a beating to your opponents, you’ll need to keep an eye on the drones headed for your base.
There are 6 aptly named classes that allow you to choose a style of play that suits you. Each class differs enough in ability that you almost feel like you’re playing a different game. Plus you can purchase upgrades with the money earned from kills. I played all my games as the Assassin. The class is not very strong in ranged or open combat, but up close, it’s lethal. This is especially true against the most powerful drones, which the Assassin is distinctly qualified to battle.
I’d love to tell you a lot more about Monday Night Combat; unfortunately they haven’t released pricing or date other than it’s coming to XBL in 2010. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this one again sooner rather than later