Super Monday Night Combat – PC Review
Peter Donnell / 387 days ago
This week I’ve been taking a look at the free-to-play title Super Monday Night Combat from developers Uber Entertainment, some of you may recall the previous game which was simply called Monday Night Combat, but this super version is basically a re-tooled edition which they announced at PAX last year, expanding upon the original and re-releasing it through Steam using the free-to-play business model. The original Monday Night Combat started its life as a DOTA-esq third-person shooter on Xbox Live Arcade and Steam, it was fairly successful for a time, or at least successful enough that they didn’t give up on the series once it had started to drop out of gamers interests, SMNC picks up the same formula, so lets so how super it really is.
Free-to-play games are an interesting concept, they have proved capable of turning a once failing game into a sensation and proved that “free” can really help a developer turn a profit was in game micro-transactions. You basically get the whole game for free, with the ability to play it for years and it never cost you a penny, but the general formula is that you can spend tiny amounts of cash on upgrades and perks, much in the same way Zynga has done with its popular Facebook titles. The same is true in SMNC, but I’ve managed to play for two weeks so and never felt the need to open my wallet once.
The concept of the game is based around the same principles of almost any class-based third person shooter / action game, yet where the original Monday Night Combat had just six classes at launch SMNC hit the ground running with a whopping 15, including things like a tommy gun wielding gorilla thespian, a trained martial artist, an upper class cyborg who thinks he is human and a cloned Leonardo da Vinci, so certainly a dynamic mix there, this does help with variety as well as adding to making strategic character choices, thespian gorrila or da Vinci… tough choice.
This being free-to-play they have to make money somehow, with a rotation of 7 free characters (or Pros as they are called in SMNC) to choose from, which changes around each Thursday, although you can purchase them to use permanently with either your own money or coins that you earn in the game.
The “combat credits” that you earn from a game can buy pretty much anything that you can purchase with real money, at least anything that effects gameplay, with some of the cosmetic items being tipped towards you opening your wallet, they are not essential items and you could easily play for ever and never need to whip out your bank card, there is even a chance of picking up these items anyway via random loot drops, just don’t expect the best stuff to drop in a hurry, if ever.
The setup for the gameplay is simple, with two teams of 5 pitted against each other to complete a set of objectives, the primary of which is to destroy the other teams Moneyball all while of defending your own Moneyball of course.
Each team is able to spawn waves of bots and has the use of turrets throughout the match, killing members of the other team, or their defences earns you money, which you can then use to purchase extra types of bots and power ups from various points on the games map to aid you in the fight.
The map is essentially split into two areas, the lanes and the jungle. The lanes are where the action happens, it’s also where your team’s bots spawn and run along their tracks towards the enemy turrets and Moneyball, while your opponents bots attempt to do the same, which sounds simple but in reality its absolute chaos and a hell of a lot of fun.
The jungle is less predictable yet is just as and if not more important than the lanes, it’s more of an open area that allows players to move around the map quickly, then drop down into the heart of the action, while this offers obvious benefits it comes with a heavy risk as the area is populated by powerful natural bots that will keep you on your toes.
Stick around in the Jungle and you might be lucky to see the Annihilator super weapon which spawns every 5min, who ever grabs hold of this has the power to destroy all of the enemy teams bot as well as injure the enemy team, so keep hold of the jungle and you hold a lot of power, but fail to defend your bots and turrets and none of that will matter, but that’s what team work is for, right?
All this come well presented, quite literally too with two really cool TV announcers giving you a play by play commentary, which is great for giving you feedback on what is happening on the playing field but also keeps you highly entertained with their ridiculous banter.
The only problems I had with the game was that the matchmaking can take a while and is basically a bit hit and miss, fortunate then that the time it takes to get into a game is worth the wait, even if I do average nearly 3min waiting time between matches.
The second problem is more a pro / con thing, there are a lot of customisation and upgrade options on offer, which is fantastic, but it also means the menus and options for them all can be a little cluttered at times and the tutorials can be a little vague at best, most of SMNC is learn by doing though, the game play can seem confusing at first but it really is quick to pick up, if your stuck for things to do, you point your gun at the enemy and walk forward, its not rocket science.
So overall I’m very happy with Super Monday Night Combat, it has its flaws, but they are minor issues at best, all of which you get used to working around after a couple of hours play, but with so much on offer for the small price on nothing, you can’t really complain. This is one of the best excuses in gaming, if there is a problem with it, can you really complain much if you haven’t paid a penny?
I am more than happy to give SMNC our gamers choice award, with such a large amount of gameplay on offer that is both exciting and entertaining throughout, and a huge selection of classes and customisation options that make you want to play more to unlock make this the 2nd best free to play game available today, my first choice still goes to Blacklight retribution when it comes to F2P gaming though.