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Monday Night Combat (abbreviated MNC) is a downloadable third-person shooter video game exclusive to the Xbox Live Arcade developed by Uber Entertainment and published by Microsoft Games Studios. It was released on August 11, 2010 as part of Microsoft's 2010 Xbox Live Summer of Arcade.

MNC is a class-based third person shooter game in which two teams are pitted against each other in a fictional combat sport similar to tower defense. The competitors on each team are clones, and the goal is to destroy the other team's Moneyball, a stationary objective which houses the team's money, while protecting their own. It is presented to the player as the Monday Night sport of the future.

The game was well received by critics, averaging 80.95% at GameRankings and 81 out of 100 at Metacritic, two video game aggregate websites. Reviewers were generally universal in praising the quality of the game in comparison to the cost. The game's graphics and art style were also praised. Critics noted that the six character classes were well suited to the tower defense style of gameplay.

Gameplay

File:Mondaynightcombat screenshot.png

Monday Night Combat is shooter played from a third person perspective. It combines a class-based character selection system, similar to Team Fortress 2 with team-based objectives in the style of Defense of the Ancients.[4][5] Its background is that of a futuristic replacement for Monday Night Football in which cloned soldiers battle against each other for money.

The game is played in one of two scenarios, each one a variant on the traditional tower defense game type.[6] The first is Crossfire, in which teams of six compete to destroy the other team's Moneyball, a stationary shielded object guarded by its respective team. The first team to destroy their opponent's Moneyball is declared the winner.[6] The second gameplay scenario is known as Blitz. In Blitz four characters work together to protect their team's Moneyball against increasingly difficult waves of robots. Blitz can be played alone, in two-player splitscreen or with up to four players over Xbox Live.[6]

Players can choose between one of six classes, each with their own unique abilities and weapons. The Tank and Gunner classes focus on heavy weaponry. The Support class is similar to Team Fortress 2's engineer and medic, providing support for their team by healing teammates, and repairing robots and turrets. The Assault class plays similarly to the standard soldier class found in other games, and is patterned as a well-rounded class for players. Snipers can be used as long range support, but can also use their secondary weaponry when in close proximity to enemies. Finally Assassins are focused on stealth and can use their abilities to sneak up on enemies and dispatch them.

As players earn points and make kills they are rewarded with cash, which can then in turn be used to buy upgrades.[7] Players can also earn cash by attacking the Monday Night Mascot, which occasionally appears on the field. Additionally bacon is sometimes dropped by the mascot or robots when attacked. Bacon serves as a powerup for the player, giving them boosted abilities until they die or the round ends.[8]

Development

The game was created by a team of sixteen developers, but began with six developers in a two bedroom apartment.[9] For the first year of development the game was known under the code name of Hostile.[10] During a presentation at Williams College, developers Uber Entertainment revealed much of the game's development process.[11] It began with whitebox testing in Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 to lay out basic gameplay, game flow, the game's over-the-shoulder camera, and more.[11] Placeholder models and effects were then added to adjust the shader system and to discover what assets can be shared amongst characters and classes.[11] Arenas were then built with basic shapes to lock down scale and overall level flow.[11] This would then serve as a base for the final level design.[11]

File:MondayNightCombat concept.png

In order to simplify and streamline development time, three base character skeletons were shared amongst the six character classes.[11] Characters were modeled then multiple texture maps were applied. Specular and normal maps were added to the model prior to the main texture map. The texture map was then added with any team-colorized sections painted in greyscale tones.[11] A team color mask is then applied to give the character a team-aligned texture.[11] Robot characters also have multiple texture maps to signify damage received.[11] The music for the game was composed by Cris Velasco of Monarch Audio.[2]

Monday Night Combat features an on the fly update system.[6] Instead of the game being patched to correct issues, most game-wide variables are controlled on the server level, allowing Uber Entertainment to make tweaks to things such as character speed, weapon damage, match length and game difficulty. This allows for fine tuning without the need to download an additional patch for the game. MNCTemplate:'s dynamic update system is hosted on Microsoft's Title Managed Storage. Title Managed Storage is an allocated space on Xbox Live servers for developers to use. Uber Entertainment placed a text document on the server which stores any values they want to be able to adjust dynamically. When a change needs to be made, the value is changed in the text file, and instantly the gameplay is tweaked.[12]

Giant Bomb chose MNC to play on Justin.tv during its weekly Thursday Night Throwdown.[13] After news of this reached the official Uber Entertainment Twitter account,[14] Uber Entertainment creative director John Comes and developers Logan DeMelt and Bob Berry joined the stream.[15] They offered advice to the four players competing in a match of Blitz, gave developer insight to making the game and handed out a few free copies of MNC.[16]

On August 29, 2010 Uber Entertainment revealed via their official blog that a title update for the game was being tested. This update would fix gameplay bugs related to character classes, multiplayer, and general gameplay. They also revealed at that time plans for three downloadable content packages and further stated that the first of the three packages would be free to consumers.[17] The blog post also revealed the figurine statues available for purchase as part of the game's promotions.[17]

Reception

 Monday Night Combat
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 80.95%[18]
Metacritic 81/100[19]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 9/10[6]
Game Informer 7.75/10[20]
GamePro Star fullStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg[21]
Game Revolution A-[22]
IGN 8/10[23]

Monday Night Combat was moderately well received by critics, averaging 81.29% at GameRankings and 81 out of 100 at Metacritic, two video game aggregate websites.[18][19] Both sites report review scores of 70% and higher, with the majority ranking over 75%.[24][25] Most reviewers agreed that the game was well worth the price of 1200 Microsoft Points.[20][21][26] GamePro called the game "equal parts wacky, polished, and just downright fun."[21] Game Revolution agreed, calling Monday Night Combat "so much unadulterated fun."[22] Official Xbox Magazine called it a "great third-person shooter with Monday-night-football flair."[27]

Game Revolution stated the gameplay was an improvement over Team Fortress 2.[22] GamePro also stated the Team Fortress 2 veterans "should definitely enjoy the very obvious similarities."[21] Official Xbox Magazine felt that the game's six character classes were well balanced and that each class presented usefulness to players.[27] PALGN praised the cartoon art style and over the top commentary by the game's announcer. They went on to call the MNC a "stylish, streamlined, expertly crafted third person shooter."[26] IGN noted the game's fun multiplayer modes, stating that both cooperative and versus modes are "good fun if you get a crew together."[23]

Official Xbox Magazine criticized the fact that the game only comes equipped with two modes and four arenas.[27] GamePro agreed, stating with a low number of robot types and very few maps that "the action will eventually lose some luster over time."[21] IGN reviewer Daemon Hatfield expressed surprise and confusion in regards to attacking Bullseye, the Monday Night Mascot for cash, calling it "one of the most bizarre gaming events I've recently witnessed."[23] Game Informer expressed similar thoughts, saying "this guy is so annoying that it's impossible not to smile while shooting him."[20] Destructoid was critical of the character classes, calling them unbalanced.[28] GameSpot was critical of the game's announcer, stating that they found the commentary annoying. They also went on to criticize the limited tutorial, stating it leaves the player "to read up [in the] How to Play section of the pause menu."[29]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 UBER ENTERTAINMENT REVEALS MONDAY NIGHT COMBAT FOR XBOX LIVE ARCADE. Uber Torrent. Retrieved on 2010-08-24.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Monarch Audio. Monarch Audio. Retrieved on 2010-09-10.
  3. Xbox.com. xbox.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  4. Hatfield, Daemon (2010-03-26). PAX East 10: Monday Night Combat Hands-on. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-04-02.
  5. Faylor, Chris (2010-04-02). Monday Night Combat Preview: It's Like Team Fortress 2 and DotA Made a Baby. Shacknews. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Parkin, Simon (2010-08-12). Monday Night Combat Xbox 360 Review. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  7. Tolito, Stephen (2010-03-30). Monday Night Combat Preview: The Other Instant Winner. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  8. Sliwinski, Alexander (2010-08-06). Monday Night Combat gameplay walkthrough is full of bacon. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  9. Dyer, Mitch (2010-08-24). Five Things You Didn't Know About Monday Night Combat. bitmob.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  10. Monday Night Combat was code named Hostile internally for the first year of development. Uber Entertainment via Twitter (2010-08-26). Retrieved on 2010-08-26.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 Chandana "Eka" Ekanayake (2010-07-26). Ammo, Bacon and Stylized Gameplay of Monday Night Combat. Williams College and Uber Entertainment. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  12. Mitchell, Richard (2010-08-09). Monday Night Combat 'on the fly' updates explained. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  13. Davis, Ryan (2010-08-19). Thursday Night Throwdown 08/19: Monday Night Combat. Giant Bomb. Retrieved on 2010-08-20.
  14. playing Monday Night Combat live!. Uber Entertainment via Twitter (2010-08-19). Retrieved on 2010-08-20.
  15. Hi from everyone at Uber Entertainment!. John Comes of Uber Entertainment via Twitter (2010-08-19). Retrieved on 2010-08-20.
  16. Enjoyed chatting with our fans, answering questions, and handing out free codes!. Bob Berry of Uber Entertainment via Twitter (2010-08-19). Retrieved on 2010-08-20.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Uber Entertainment (2010-08-29). Monday Night Combat Title Update, DLC, and PAX. Uber Entertainment. Retrieved on 2010-09-02.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Monday Night Combat for Xbox 360 - GameRankings. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Monday Night Combat for Xbox 360 at metacritic.com. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Marchiafava, Jeff (2010-08-21). Monday Night Combat. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Noble, McKinley (2010-08-16). Monday Night Combat. GamePro. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 danielrbischoff (2010-08-18). Monday Night Combat - Xbox360. Game Revolution. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Hatfield, Daemon (2010-08-09). Monday Night Combat Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  24. Monday Night Combat Reviews and Articles for Xbox 360 - GameRankings. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2010-08-30.
  25. Monday Night Combat Critic Reviews for Xbox 360 at metacritic.com. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-08-30.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Hassett, Cian (2010-08-20). XBLA: Monday Night Combat Review. PALGN. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Watt, Meghan (2010-08-19). Monday Night Combat. Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-08-25.
  28. Sterling, Jim (2010-08-16). Review: Monday Night Combat. Destructoid. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.
  29. Watters, Chris (2010-08-13). Monday Night Combat Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.

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