Last semester, The Poly reviewed Uber Entertainment’s Monday Night Combat, which received generally favorable reviews among the staff. Now, Super Monday Night Combat, an aptly titled sequel, seeks to surpass its predecessor in every shape and form in the visceral, gladiatorial bloodfest genre, and it plans to do this without charging a single cent to prospective players. Free-to-play? How can anyone refuse?
Super Monday Night Combat is a five-on-five multiplayer game that is a mix of both Team Fortress 2 and Defense of the Ancients/League of Legends. Take the cartoon-style graphics and class-based combat from Team Fortress 2, the AI-controlled bots and lanes from Defense of the Ancients, and third-person shooter mechanics from any generic action game. Combine them together and inject lots of humor into it; the result is Super Monday Night Combat. It’s an amalgamation of video games, which makes it both unique and familiar at the same time.
For those veterans of Monday Night Combat, you can be excited for the game’s shift and focus to more DotA-like gameplay. Turrets are beefier and do more damage, but can’t be replaced. Character level differentials will make a huge difference in gameplay, e.g., level 15 characters will destroy level 1 characters. This means you’d better find a friend fast if you want any hope of surviving; lone wolves will die very quickly. If you can play a competent game of League of Legends, you should have no problem respecting enemy territory and resisting enemy gank attempts. For those with less exposure to DotA, you can always try shooting your way out and hope for the best. Pro tip: Aim for the head.
It seems that Super Monday Night Combat is borrowing heavily from League of Legend’s free-to-play model. It’s almost mirrored to a science. There are currently a selection of 15 pros (or characters) to choose from, each dedicated to a highly specialized style of play. Commandos stab people in the back, enforcers disembowel players with their fists, and sharpshooters causes heads to explode like spontaneously-combusting watermelons. However, at any given time, you can only select up to six pros to play from; characters are rotated on a weekly basis. You can play other characters if you are willing to purchase them; each character retails from $2.00 to $7.50. If there is any consolation, you can pay with in-game currency that you accrue from regular gameplay; it’ll just probably take a good two weeks worth of gameplay to unlock a single character.
The gameplay, although hilariously fun, is a crapshoot at best if you take your competition seriously. Characters have almost no weight to them; the movements will feel really awkward and unpolished for anyone who’s played Counter-Strike. The gunplay is also awfully pathetic; the developers removed recoil from the weapons and replaced it with spread in its stead. This means that you won’t be able to manually control your weapon to offset for the inaccuracy of firing an automatic weapon; the computer is responsible for that, increasing the size of your reticule to indicate that your shots are falling all over the place. The game is so awfully based on character levels instead of raw skill that the third-person shooter is a just a veneer to a game that is DotA to the core. It also doesn’t help when some pros are ostensibly underpowered. Characters like Captain Sparks, a melee-based pro, has embarrassingly low health and no easy way to close with an enemy besides a short-range teleport that has a tendency to drop you off the battlefield.
SMNC is just like its predecessor. The gunplay is meager and only candy-coats the true DotA mechanics. You’ll often feel that you’re floating around the battlefield instead of running from cover to cover due to movements not having any weight. And if you are planning to win, there are probably only three viable characters that you can choose from if you want to have a fighting chance against the online veterans. SMNC is at best a weekend distraction. It has some value if you play with friends, but don’t expect it to be a good long-term investment. Even though it is in beta, you are better off shelling out $60 for a real video game. If the beta is any indication of the final product, stay away for the sake and safety of your computer. The Rensselaer Computer Repair doesn’t need to fix a computer that “accidentally” fell out the window.