Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday Night Combat - Early Impressions

So I've been playing MNC off and on for about a week now (between games of battlefield Bad Company 2) and have decided to try to put together some thoughts on the game. Just a note: I have left a LOT out for the sake of brevity. Just want to keep this general while providing background on where I'm drawing my conclusions from.

I'll start with this: for $15, you get a lot of game.
Here are the positives:
1. There's a single-player/co-op mode that's interesting and almost like a tower defense game in which you're a more direct participant.
2. There are 6 classes to choose from and all of them are difficult to master.
3. The crossfire match is an intense 6-on-6 multi-player game with several different ways to contribute to your team no matter what class you are.
4. Combat is intense, the game is polished and there are a TON of hard decisions to make over the course of one crossfire match.

All of that is great, but brings me to one of the biggest problems with the current "DLC" game industry. No Manual. In MNC's case, there's not even one available on the web (that I could find). This makes an already steep learning curve almost insurmountable for a beginner. The available walk through gives you an idea of the controls for one class, and some basic game concepts, but falls short on the details (like various turrets' and weapons' power/range). This would be fine, except the details aren't made available to you at all.

As I said, the learning curve is STEEP. Each combatant has 2 weapons (with a right mouse and left mouse function) and 3 "skills" (some of which may be weapons). For instance, the Assault has a grenade launcher(much like the TF2 demoman) and an assault rifle to select from via the mouse wheel. The right mouse button does a "Grapple" (close-quarters take-down like in a fighting game) for the grenade launcher, but the Assault rifle zooms in for better accuracy. He can also "Fly" (float at his current height with a jet-pack), throw a bomb to be detonated later with the same key, and "charge" (which can be used to knock players off the map). Every single one of these things should be used to play effectively.

These skills and weapons can also be upgraded using money. Money is gained by killing bots, players and opponents turrets. The biggest issue in learning the game is that you die a lot. When you die, your opponent becomes more powerful and can now kill you much faster than he could before. I think you can see where I'm going with this. On top of that, he's now a greater threat to your teammates and all of your team's bots and emplacements. With the re-spawn time, you're also taken out of the fight and can't even help beat back the opponents' bots.

As a beginner, you're at a disadvantage which is multiplied by the fact that every time you die, your opponents are that much stronger. (Even if you don't die, they're going to get stronger at a faster rate than you due to their experience). It can be extremely frustrating as you're one-shotted by a sniper you never see over and over again only to begin avoiding him and running into experienced players who have already purchased several upgrades while you're struggling to get your second (the first is free). Often in this game, I've felt like I'm carrying a BB-gun to a tank-fight - especially when you factor in "Juice" (equivalent of an extended ubercharge from TF2).

Despite my frustrations and misgivings, there's a hell of a game there if you're ever able to learn how to play. Deciding how to spend your money is a massive challenge. Do you get yourself a skill-boost that you may not use or build/upgrade a turret that might be laid to waste by a juiced opponent? Do you unlock a jump-pad for your team to use or save up to buy a shot from the annihilator?

1. Extremely steep learning curve.
2. Frustrating to learn, both for you and your teammates who have you on their team.
2a. As an example, I was firing on an enemy turret. A teammate "Hacked" it and I continued to fire on it. (For this writeup, I had to look up whether friendly fire was in the game. It isn't.)
3. Needs more content from the announcer (hearsay)
4. Lack of a manual is brutal. Wiki can only carry you so far.

For now, I'd list it as a buy. The price is right and while I'm not having much fun yet, I hope to at some point.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Inspired by a tweet from @lukeisbazooka72 on twitter, my Myers rap.

Standing 6 foot 8 like a skating tree,
Myers coming at you with insanity.

Lurching around like he's out of luck,
Suckered you! He's already gone with the puck.

Blazing through the neutral zone like a bullet,
only way to look smoother? Sport a mullet.

Watch out Goalie he just torched your "D",
and now you're stuck alone with a skating tree.

Fifty seven dekeing to the left and the right,
try to follow every move? you'll see a red light.

Sitting back you just try to enjoy the show,
He just winds up with a slapper and he lets it go.

Off your noggin and into the goal,
Hey at least he didn't beat you five-hole.

Hopefully she worked on one as well for comparison. I put this together in 10 minutes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Disappointing, but for the best.

I attempted to start this out as a Sabres blog, but there are simply too many smart Sabres bloggers out there. It's not that there's too much competition, but that I have nothing to add that hasn't already been said. Pretty much all of my contributions to the Sabres-blogger-world can be summed up in 140 characters or less.

I think my efforts are better spent on other topics with the occasional peek into Sabres-land. Whether it be videogames, technology, or boardgames, I'll hopefully have something worth adding to the conversation.