Clash of the Titans (CotT) is an action-brawler game, published by Namco Bandai Games; and is available on PS3 and Xbox. The game is based on the movie of the same name which came out this year, which in-turn is loosely based on the tale of Perseus from Greek Mythology. The movie was a pleasant-enough (if shallow) way to spend a rainy afternoon, but watching paint dry would be more enjoyable than this game. Due to the closure of Brash – a studio infamous for churning out poor tie-in games – at the end of 2008, CotT was marooned in development hell long enough to miss the launch of its cinematic counterpart. Question: What good is a movie tie-in which has no movie to tie-in to? Answer: None.
The player stars as Perseus, the protagonist of the film (shock horror), and the game opens on his home Island. The player must perform “quests”, which follow a regular formula: Go here, wait for enemies to spawn, muller successive waves, and repeat. The game forces you to retread familiar ground by giving you multiple pretexts for going to an area, whether to pick herbs, find your sister, or just to go kill monsters. At least the last one is honest.
The combat mechanic, heart and soul of a hack and slash title, is utterly rubbish. The game is frustratingly picky about what weapon will damage different enemies, and the incredibly clunky & long-winded menu system used to switch between and upgrade the myriad of collectable secondary weapons further detracts from the combat experience. The combat doesn’t flow very well either, as jumping into the air will cause ridiculous amounts of slow-mo for no adequately explained reason. You can combo between strong and weak attacks, but you can do nearly as much damage by just mashing one or the other.
A further complication is the ability to ‘drain souls’ from weakened enemies, which fills your special meter. This meter is required to use the secondary weapons you take from vanquished foes. Because the combat mechanic is so broken, it is all too easy to end up in a situation where the main enemy is only vulnerable to a specific secondary weapon, but no drones are spawning for you to fill the special meter and allow you to use said weapon. Irritating is an understatement. Occasionally the game sees fit to bestow a ‘supporting character’ upon you. My initial thought was that they would be useless, as such characters often are, and I was not disappointed (or maybe I was, depending on your opinion of friendly AI in videogames). Whilst I was lumbering around draining souls and performing special attacks, the NPC’s were running around doing… nothing. That’s right: the game’s apparent equaliser between you and hordes of respawning enemies, in a word, doesn’t. It takes so long to pull off some special attacks that the targeted enemy will move out of range, or attack you instead. Should you dare to try to soul-drain an enemy BEFORE they are at death’s door, your impudence will be rewarded with an unblockable counter-attack – you must pull off a dodge BEFORE the counter so as to avoid it. If, like me, you don’t possess the reactions of a ferret fuelled by amphetamines and red bull, you will struggle to avoid having your health bar decimated.
The game touts that you will complete “over 100 quests”, but to label the missions you are offered as that is an insult to RPG’s everywhere. Each ‘quest’ is laughably short, and the game adds insult to injury by presenting loading screens every 50 metres or so. Like other hack ‘n slash titles, the game grades your performance at the conclusion of each mission. I’m no stranger to the genre, but found it impossible to earn more than a B rating no matter how perfect I was in combat, nor how quickly I rushed through.
The controls are solid, if uninspiring. The analog sticks control movement and looking, the face buttons administer attacks, the d-pad switches between four (out of many) secondary weapons and the shoulder buttons control soul-draining, lock-on, weapon stealing and the hilariously termed ‘Emergency Evasion’; or as you and I would call it: Dodging. It’s hard to criticise the controls, because they’re the one thing that works in this otherwise very broken game.
The game is very mediocre graphics-wise, with the character-models barely resembling humans, let alone their film counterparts. The environment graphics are nondescript, and seem to come in three flavours: castle, cave and mountain. The combat graphics will numb the mind due to repetition, when subjected to the same pseudo-random coloured blobs rushing around the screen during soul-draining or weapon-stealing, and you may suddenly find beating yourself to death with the controller preferable to enduring more torment. The sky seems to be a photo of some real clouds which has been tacked onto a roulette wheel. This has then been suspended over the gameworld, so that the sky spins. During some of the levels where the terrain is low, this can be nauseating to watch (if you haven’t already been sickened by wasting your time on this trash).
The quality of the voice-acting is par for the course (i.e. terrible), with seemingly none of the movie cast deigning to grace the game with their presence. The forgettable speech is not matched to the characters, which don’t lip-sync at all but rather flap their lips mechanically. The soundtrack tries to be epic, but falls flat once you realise the same few pieces are repeated ad nauseam.
Put simply, this is another fish in the sea of poor imitations. Don’t buy this, don’t even rent this. If you are unfortunate enough to have it bought for you, trade it in or use it for target practice. I do not joke when I say that Superman 64 is probably a better game, and it was the worst game of this generation of gaming.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Mediocre controls (I HAD to put something here).
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