It's difficult to ignore the chaos occurring about an hour up the road. Some people have lost everything (or just about everything) to a vicious torrent of water. A force which does not yield to reason. Games have served as a distraction to the media frenzy and panicked Facebook posts; but the likes of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Monday Night Combat have failed to effectively wrest my attention from the destruction seen in Brisbane and further north; and nor should it.
Bottom line is: I'm exceptionally lucky as the floods haven't reached the Gold Coast, and my thoughts go out to all those affected by the disaster transpiring as I write. Not that my thoughts will mean much to you if your car has been washed away or you've lost a loved one.
Why all the self indulgence? Just feeling a little guilty that my shit has remained untouched (thankful, mind you), while others have endured so much loss. Rather than ramble on; for those whose consoles remain dry and functional, let's talk Monday Night Combat.
First things first: MNC is no Team Fortress 2. Sure it features class-based combat across some interesting locales. The game also has a sense of humor that can incite the odd laugh (it has nothing on TF2, but still the visuals have some personality). What it's missing however is balance. With a solid connection, the melee-centric antics of the Assassin class can be frustrating. Throw some lag into the mix, and they become damn near unstoppable. Skipping across the map (often cloaked), these one-hit-killers are almost game breakers. The Gunner class also seems a little too effective for my liking. The Assault is your vanilla flavour, with a rifle and grenade launcher. For the moment it is my class of choice, even if it lacks real stopping power. The creatively named, Support class can fix turrets and heal players; and there are no points for guessing the function and loadout of the Sniper class. I'm yet to use the Tank, and am inclined to question their inclusion when you already have a heavy weapons guy in the Gunner. Regardless of your choice of class; if there is any lag, prepare to be dominated.
The central concept is strong enough to make me want to forgive the afformentioned faults: an inspired combination of third person shooter and tower defence, Monday Night Combat has the potential to eat up hours of my time. Players are tasked with guiding their team's bots to the opposition's Moneyball. If enough of your bots attack the Moneyball, its shield will drop and become vulnerable to attack (obviously, you then try to destroy it for the win). Player and bot kills earn you money which can be spent on a variety of abilities and support options. You can defend your own Moneyball by building and upgrading turrets, or by destroying enemy bot and players. If you're feeling selfish, you can choose to upgrade your own abilities instead of setting up a defensive perimeter. All the money in the world however, won't save you from the effects of lag. Even with a few upgraded towers, a player with a strong connection has (in my limited experience) almost always turned the tide.
I wish I went with the PC version, which sees release on January 24th; as I believe the odds of finding matches with playable connections would be slightly more favourable. Still, Monday Night Combat is well worth a trial. I doubt that I will play it for anywhere near as long as I have Team Fortress 2, but if you're looking for a solid team shooter, jump in!