Clash of the Titans: The Videogame is a third person action title based on the recent Warner Brothers movie. In it, Perseus, the son of Zeus, is on a quest to defeat the Kraken and defy both fate and the Gods to exact his revenge for the death of his family. Io, Draco, and a few other companions will assist him along the way in this quest-based action game.
Having just completed the campaign last night, I can tell you that Clash of the Titans is no comparison to a AAA production like God of War, but, if you're into the genre and you need a great weekend game, this is well worth a look.
Game Republic made some interesting design decisions with Clash. On one hand, there is an involved weapons and combat system, but on the other, the gameplay is very 'boxed in.' Each objective or quest is contained within a small gameplay sequence. These quests are sometimes as short as thirty or forty seconds, and I had only two quests exceed twenty minutes. Most quests are right about ten minutes. There are dozens of quests throughout the 10+ hour campaign, all given by NPCs, but the formula remains the same throughout the entire experience.
Just about every area in the game has Perseus, and whichever NPCs he is with at the time, setting up a base of operations, a simple camp. Here, you can exchange very brief dialogue with NPCs and save your game by talking to the mechanical owl made famous in the 70s film. To advance the story, you must talk to the NPCs and complete the quests they give to you. These include a lot of 'wipe out the enemy' style quests where you must simply explore a small area and destroy whatever Hades-created creatures appear. Other quests have you collecting items, fighting a boss, or trying to complete some kind of task within a brief time limit. Each quest ends with a Clear screen that gives you a points total based on damage dealt and time remaining and that type of thing. You are ranked on the familiar S scale that many games utilize.
Although there are seven or eight locations in the game, the quests remain almost identical from one area to the next. Furthermore, after most quests, Perseus strolls (well, teleported during a load screen I should say) back into camp to pick up the next quest. You cannot take on more than one quest at at time, which means you will revisit the combat area of each location three, four, maybe five times before you get the final quest of that location. It certainly extends gameplay, but it also makes for a repetitive experience.
Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?
A lot of this game is repetitive, but there are several elements that do stand out against that fact. For one, the sheer variety of weapons. I'm not sure I've ever played a third person game with so many available weapons. There are some eighty total weapons to be found in Clash. You start off with just a sword, which is bound to X and Y (light and strong attack), and B controls your sub-weapons.
Sub-weapons are a huge part of the game. You can only use sub-weapons if you have soul power, which is earned by hitting enemies with the normal sword. There are like twelve categories of sub-weapons, including hammers, bows, swords, various elemental cores, tails (of scorpions), wings (of
harpies and the like), and more. Each category has a variety of weapons that can be found in the game world. Most of these weapons function very similar to one another, but they all look different which is notable. Perseus can hold up to four sub-weapons at a time, all mapped to the d-pad.
Each sub-weapon can be upgraded, or Reinforced, too. Reinforcing weapons makes them deal more damage (or in the case of some sub-weapons, gives them more healing power, and so forth). You can also reinforce a weapon to take less Souls to use, and to unlock new abilities. Despite all of the options in weapons and upgrades, once you reach a certain point in the game -- about the halfway mark for me -- I didn't find a lot of reason to experiment any more or even switch between sub-weapons very often. I was aware and made use of the fact that different sub-weapons affected different enemies in different ways however, but I became less interested in experimenting once combat became very 'comfortable.' So in reality, although it's certainly cool to have so many weapons out there in the game world to discover, upgrade, and use, it's largely impractical and certainly unnecessary beyond a point. I appreciate what Game Republic did here, but I think their time could have been better spent making the experience more fluid and engaging.
Speaking of engaging, the combat in Clash is actually pretty cool and fun. There are many different types of enemies, probably fifteen to twenty not counting the numerous bosses you will face. Besides bashing enemies with a variety of sword and sub-weapon attacks, Perseus can also Soul Seize and Sub-weapon Seize. In Soul Seize, Perseus extracts soul from the enemy, which gives you more soul power to use your sub-weapons. There are different levels of soul seizing -- you can tell what state an enemy is in by targeting them with LT. Depending on what color they are, you may get no souls, a lot of souls, or a lot of souls and also kill them. If you Soul Seize an enemy and it doesn't kill them, there's a good chance they will counterattack. As you cannot block, this can be a problem if you don't immediately roll out of the way with left stick and RT. Soul Seizing works particularly well on an enemy that has been knocked down to the ground. You can also Chain Seize an entire area if you attack the enemy without being hit for several seconds -- when you do so, Perseus draws in the souls of all nearby enemies, killing them and giving you a major soul boost.
In sub-weapon seize, a major element to the game, Perseus engages in a quick time event to finish an enemy off and steal their weapon. You will know when an enemy is ready as they will flash orange. Rather than having you match face button sequences, the game simply asks that you press any face button by the time a purple lightning bolt gets to the center of the screen. Sometimes this happens very quickly, other times very slowly, it depends on the enemy and how much health they have. If you manage to time the button press perfectly, the enemy will drop more Gift Items than they would have otherwise -- and should you press a face button out of turn, the quick time event ends with an abrupt smack in the face (figuratively), sending Perseus flying. Before starting a sub-weapon seize, it's a good idea to knock off as much armor as you can from a foe as they will drop more items this way. I should clarify that Gift Items are a variety of collectible objects that are used to purchase sub-weapon upgrades. There are quite a few different Items, but they're all used for the same purpose.
I thought the combat, and the steady progress any average third person gamer will make in this game, were its strongest points. Frankly, the story isn't that compelling, nor its presentation, and the characters are about as generic as they come (Perseus himself especially). Quests are monotonous and were it not for the fun combat system and steady progression through the campaign, this game wouldn't have been nearly as fun. In other words, if I was struggling to get through each quest, I think the frustration would have overwhelmed the sense of reward and satisfaction this game was providing me. However, the game design is such that any average third person gamer should have a pretty easy time rolling through it. Easy in a sense that you will probably only die a half dozen times, but there are still plenty of challenging parts and close encounters with some bosses.
Another cool and perhaps lesser known detail about Clash is that it supports two players. Most quests allow a second player to hop in and join the fight, using one of the available NPCs. The NPCs have their own weapons and skill sets, and there are some items that are only available with a second player. I did some limited testing with this feature and it worked well. If you're like me, a fun co-op mode can often make a mediocre game a good one, which may very well be the case here.
As for the presentation, Clash won't impress you. The graphics look and feel dated, especially in the cutscenes. In normal play -- i.e., combat -- the visuals are better, with good looking animations, nice detail in the enemies and weapons, and a consistent frame rate. Some effects look out of place -- like the balls of fire emitted by the sirens that look like full motion video -- but overall it's not a bad looking game, just not great looking. There are a lot of voiceovers, and the quality there is okay, but generally speaking the presentation felt dull. I think a lot of this can be attributed to Perseus' very generic appearance, voice, and personality.
The campaign took me just under ten and a half hours to complete, leaving me with the ability to go back and try to find the sub-weapons I missed, play Challenge Events, explore DLC quests, or play some missions over again with a friend. It's worth pointing out that the Challenge Events (there are about a dozen of these) aren't all about clearing out arenas of enemies. Some Challenge Events simply invite you to explore some of the locations of the game, which is pretty neat.
With that, lets get to the summary...