Starting up Monday Night Combat (MNC) and jumping into the game feels like jumping into a huge firefight being announced by John Madden. Monday Night Combat's style of a sport/third-person shooter really separates itself from any other third-person shooter out there. Playing with friends, or just random people over Xbox Live will leave you with an experience in which no other third-person shooters can leave you with.
: Monday Night Combat's gameplay is seemingly hard to understand after seeing previews or just jumping into your first game. The game really shines by starting you off with a practice round when you fire up the game. This practice round really gives you the basics and allows you to make your steps into the Xbox Live modes knowing the ground works of the game. The controls feel comfortable, especially after learning each class's abilities. Each class feels completely different from each other allowing for a wide variety of fights going on in the battlefield. Earning money while fighting to rank up your character's class is fun, and most importantly, worry free. Money will come to you the player by just doing simple things like killing bots, actual players, killing turrents, and more. Worrying about money, I believe, would detract from the gameplay leaving you worried about fighting and money. The developers really hit the nail on the head with a fun arcadey gameplay that is fun and exciting.
There are some issues with the classes that are being fixed in an upcoming patch. The assassin class sometimes can piss you off if your playing as another class and all of a sudden you get killed straight ahead of you and you had no idea where it came from till you see it was the assassin's invisibility cloak. Sometimes the gunner seems to strong after upgrading to level 3 on everything, while sometimes the assault class feels to weak when people like the gunners kill you in less than a clip. None of these overpower/underpower problems are huge, but it is nice to know the devs are working on a patch for the community.
: With Monday Night Combat being a completely arcadey third-person shooter, you can't expect jaw dropping graphics. Instead, MNC's graphics are fun and very detailed. When you are getting ready to start off the match, a camera brings you up to the arena, and as it does that the game really shines as you see the very fun art details. Though you won't really notice the artistic and arcadey details due the fact you will be in combat the whole game, you will be deeply attracted to the game due to its fun art style. There are some frame rate issues that may frustrate you from time-to-time, but nothing that ruins the gameplay.
: This is the category where MNC really shines. Presentation is what completely separates this arcade game from all the others. You will notice a Monday Night Football feel to the game with it's announcing, fake ads, crowd, and teams. As you play, the announcer will always be talking giving you the feel of a play-by-play view of what is going on. There is a girl called the Pit Girl who basically is like one of those girls holding up signs of the round numbers in WWE. This presentation is fun, silly, and over-the-top, but that over-the-top style sets itself apart. For 1200 Microsoft Points, you want something different, and that is what MNC gives you.
: MNC offers you 2 modes. A Blitz mode which you can play on Xbox Live or splitscreen, and a Crossfire mode that is 6v6 Xbox Live mode. Blitz mode is sort of like Gears of War 2 Horde mode, with the only difference being that you are strictly protecting your money ball from the bots that are attacking you. Crossfire mode is 6v6 offering you a sort of tower-defense gameplay. Your teams include your 6 players and bots that you can spawn, and you try to destroy the other team's money ball while protecting yours. You can build and upgrade turrets to protect your money ball, which can really make a difference in the end. While these two modes are extremely fun, it is still only two modes. DLC is being worked on and you can hope for new modes.
Just like with the small number of modes, MNC features only a few maps. Most of the maps are basically the same with just minor changes here and there. With DLC announced, I am sure you can bet for more maps.
The non-serious shooter is only 1200 Microsoft Points, and with it offering you a full rank-up system and many customizable options, I believe it is worth your money. With DLC and patches already announced, you can bet that this community won't die out like some arcade games. DLC should hopefully bring new modes, maps, classes, and possibly more.
The bottom line is that Monday Night Combat offers you an enjoyable and different experience from any other third-person shooter on XBLA. You will find yourself attracted to the sports presentation that makes the game shine. There are a few issues that can be corrected by DLC and patches that keep the game from being great. In time I am sure that you, the gamer, will want more, and hopefully the developers can keep delivering so the community keeps playing.
Replay Value: 8/10
Overall Score: 8.5/10