A third person shooter that I managed to pick up relatively cheaply.
This game provides non stop action - at the beginning you pick one of eight characters, these all very in power and speed. You progress through 8 levels; these offer some variety and range from beat the clock, defeat a number of enemies and complete a number of laps in a certain amount of time.
The game as mentioned earlier is action packed, early on it's quite easy however steadily becomes quite hard are your progress through - the controls and gameplay are easy to adapt to. You receive a certain amount of points dependant on where you shoot your enemy (head, arms, legs, etc) the only downfall being that the CPU characters are rather poor aims and at times easy to pass even if you are outnumbered and running right at them - this does however change as your move up to higher levels and beating the clock can become very challenging.
As you complete levels, you gain points which are added up and compared to other CPU characters, your prize being that you can unlock the next tournament to compete in - the game doesn't last long but it great while it is being played.
Overall, I enjoyed this game - it's fast paced, great fun, a little gory however can eventually become a little repetitive. A great pickup at £6.98, you could probably find it even cheaper if you look around a little.
This is an awesome hybrid between the third person shooter, and the Project Gotham series of Xbox games... except for the fact that there are no cars.
The single player game is great - you basically get varying amounts of points and bonuses depending on the body part you shoot, the distance from your target, the difficulty level, and the number of kills you make in rapid succession... so aim for a full combo, on highest difficulty, whilst making an impossibly long headshot whilst making a trick shot... that will score you some major points right there.
The game can get a bit repetative, but the achievements keep you occupied enough to truely experience the game.
The online mode is very good, but has a tendency to get a little frustrating if you are not a hardcore gamer... but it is worth buying just for the single player campaign modes.
The famous and highly talented developing studios, Bizarre Creations, are most famous for creating the extremely successful Project Gotham Racing series, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Having already proven that they are able to develop exquisite racing titles which any gamer would be proud to have in their collection, the folks at Bizarre Creations want to show the world that their talented team could produce successful games in genres other than high adrenaline racing games; and here is their first attempt, The Club. Have Bizarre managed to make The Club as fun and successful as their flagship series, or should they just return to the piston-pumping franchise and produce more spectacular racing games? Carry on reading to find out!
Venturing completely away from the racing scene, The Club is a Third Person Shooter game that relies solely on you producing outstanding kill combinations, completing levels in the quickest time possible, and wracking up incredible high scores. Whilst completing these objectives in the game, you will get an "Arcade" feel about the whole experience due to retro games involving similar gameplay and score based missions. There is a lack of third person shooting games aswell as Arcade style shooters currently available on the Xbox 360 games console, and therefore you might find The Club to be a nice change from titles currently in your collection.
With the game being an Arcade style shooter, scoring a shed load of points will be one of your main priorities throughout your experience with The Club, and therefore an in-depth "Combo System" has been implemented. There are two main ways you are able to score points, with these firstly being killing enemies, and secondly finding and shooting "Skullshots" located throughout levels. Skullshots are tiny, diamond shaped targets which contain a skull and an orange background; and when shot, add points and time onto your combo. The combo system is much more complicated than just being awarded a set number of points per kill however; with the distance away from the enemy, headshots, and also the type of enemy killed all taken into consideration. The further away from the enemy, aswell as scoring a headshot, are the key to scoring the maximum amount of points possible per kill, and beating your opponents to the top of the leaderboards to become the unprecedented king of The Club!
Eliminating enemies in one of the special ways the game allows will net you even more points per kill. By pressing the Y button, your character will instantly turn 180 degrees before you can flash an eyelid. If you make mince meat of the enemy immediately after this move, extra points will be added to your combo due to the added difficulty and style of the kill. The same applies to terminating an enemy after performing a roll or courageously smashing through a door. The environment will also allow you to achieve a huge bonus per kill, by ricocheting bullets of walls or shooting through surfaces in order to eliminate your foe.
As you relentlessly surge through the levels, destroying everything in site, you will need to pay attention to your combo bar and multiplier in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Everytime you kill and enemy, your combo bar gets filled up, and a x1 multiplier gained. Your combo bar will not stay there for long however, as it instantly begins to tick down; and if you leave your next kill or skullshot too long, you will lose all of your built up multiplier and have to start building your combo bar up again. Having a short amount of time to manoeuvre inbetween kills encourages quick and intense gameplay, and will really keep you on the edge of your seat as you hunt down the nearest enemy or skullshot, eagerly wanting their blood on your conscience so that you can add another thousand points to your score. Not only will killing enemies keep your combo bar alive, but with every enemy killed, x1 bonus will be added to your multiplier. In theory, if there are 100 enemies in a level, you could end that event with a 100x multiplayer, resulting in some serious points being achieved! The higher multiplier you have, the more points you will receive every time you successfully kill or shoot a skullshot. For example, if you have a 10x multiplier, you will earn ten times the amount of points you usually would per kill; and this is the key to achieving the highest scores amongst the gaming world. Attempting to keep your combo bar and multiplier from running out is truly an intense and gripping experience, which results in serious fun being had.
Last but not least in this highly complicated yet powerfully effective scoring system comes the end of level bonus you will receive. The manner in which you complete a level will have an impact on the amount of points you score, with combo bonus you finish the level with being multiplied by a health bonus, which is then multiplied by your accuracy bonus; and the total of this sum being added to your original score in order to give you a final level score. This end of level bonus is a nice feature as it will encourage you to accurately fire instead of carelessly spraying bullets everywhere in an attempt to hit a target, and also take up intelligent positions to avoid losing health. With these thoughts, new tactics will have to be implemented which will often drastically change the gameplay. Its then up to you whether you'll take the careful approach hiding behind cover and aiming down the sight for headshots, or storming through a level like a raging bull or steroids, trying to cause the most damage and destruction possible. Each method can result in so much enjoyment being had!
One of the first things you will notice when loading up The Club, apart from the action packed and highly entertaining video introducing the games characters, is the lack of a story mode. The lack of an immersive campaign mode may put some gamers off playing the club, but there are still plenty of options to dig your teeth into and get many hours of enjoyment from. Four more options to be precise, and these are Tournament Mode, Single Event, Gunplay Mode and Multiplayer modes, including Xbox Live play. Tournament mode is the main bulk of single player events in The Club. As the name of the mode suggests, you compete in tournaments against computer A.I, with each tournament consisting of on average 6 events. Winning an event will bag you a sweet 10 points, second place you will get 8 points etc, with dying or failing to complete the event earning you a big fat 0 points. At the end of the 6 or so events, your aim is to be atop of the leaderboard, with your character shining bright and proving he is the undoubtedly best member of The Club. In order to achieve this goal, you will have to participate in no less than 5 different events; these being Sprint, Siege, Time Attack, Survivor and Run the Gauntlet. Sprint is a simple yet fun game type, with only one goal in mind; score the highest amount of points possible before finally smashing through the barricade in order to exit the level. You will find yourself begging for more merciless victims to kill in every way possible during the Sprint events, as you will frantically look for ways to crank up your points total. Before the event, depending on which difficulty level you choose, you will be set a target score to achieve during that round. If you fail to annihilate that target score, expect to be ranked low down the leaderboards, and therefore have a reduced chance of proving you're the best member of The Club. Running around levels and scoring points to the best of your abilities incredibly fun, and at the same time very addictive. If you are a perfectionist, you might want to try and beat your previous scores in Single Event mode which I will talk more about later in the review.
Siege events challenge you to survive in a small, confined area indicated by cones and white line, whilst being bombarded from all corners by enemies. Your enemies only have one simple goal, and that is to wipe you from the face of the planet. In order to successfully complete the event, you will have to survive for a target time set to you before the event begins, with the time differing depending on which difficulty level you have chosen. On the harder difficulty levels, Bizarre Creations would not expect you to last the full target time without taking health, and therefore have strategically placed medikits around the area. However, there is a small catch. If you venture out of the coned area for more than 5 seconds at any one time, bombs which have been hidden inside of you will detonate, leaving an unpleasant scene. If you going to risk venturing outside of the white line and cones, you will have to be quick and use intelligent tactics to complete the task quick enough. With health, countless number of enemies attacking you, and clever tactics needing to be implemented to survive, Siege is a very tense and enjoyable event which you will look forward to throughout each tournament.
Time Attack events require you to complete a certain amount of laps of a level in a specific time limit; and yes, there will still be plenty of baddies to eliminate along the way and score big combos. In fact, killing enemies will be a major factor in completing this event successfully, due to every kill adding 3 seconds of time on to your clock. Aswell as killing enemies, small targets with a picture of a clock will be located around the level, which when shot, will also award you with an additional 3 seconds of time. On the harder difficulty levels, you will find yourself panicking to locate more targets and enemies as you watch your timer tick down at what seems to be a rapidly increasing rate. You certainly won't be lardy darding around, thinking about what programmes are on TV that evening! Its heart-pounding gameplay like this which helps bring The Club in to the Arcade category, and keep you hooked throughout the whole experience.
The Survivor events are similar to the Siege tasks, but instead of small, confined areas, you will have a larger area to roam in. A big advantage you may think, but in Survivor, not only do you have to survive a certain amount of time against a large onslaught of enemies, but also meet a target score set before the round begins. Just surviving might not be enough to crank up the required score, so you'll have to aim for strings of headshots and pulling of stylish moves; which are not easy when you're being attacked from every side of the map! Survivor is a challenging, but also fun game type which like the other events, will keep you enthralled until the end. The final event type, Run the Gauntlet, is similar to Time Attack events, but you battle your way from the start to finish of a level in the set time limit, instead of running laps around the level. You unfortunately do not have the luxury of adding time to your clock, due to now killing enemies will not add 3 seconds to your clock, and there are no targets which added time to your clock. This helps make the game type more challenging, which for most gamers will be more enjoyable.
The 5 events you will encounter during Tournament mode all have varying objectives which will result in boredom being avoided, and a great deal of fun being had each time you play the event type. Although each type differs from the next, they all bring the same, high intense gameplay that will boil your blood and have adrenaline rushing through your veins, as you either frantically rush your way through a level, try to avoid getting your leg blown off, or try to link kills and targets together in order to achieve the best combo and score possible. If you have high blood pressure levels or can't cope with stress well, I advise you against playing The Club! Your anxiety levels will likely rise as you battle to gain the top leaderboard spot or attempt to better a previous score.
During your time with The Club, you will fight in 8 different locations throughout the world, with each location differing greatly from the next. Fight to the death in abandoned prison cells in the USA, a derelict Manor House in the U.K or the underwater city of Venice, among others. Each location provides a different setting and atmosphere, and this helps stop the game becoming repetitive in a short amount of time. In Tournament mode, there are 8 different tournaments for you to conquer and take the coveted number one spot. You will only be able to enter one tournament from the start however, and this will be set at an old and rusty Steel Mill in Germany. Each tournament being completed unlocks another for you to participate in. Not only will the location be unlocked for Tournament mode play, but also Single Event play, and therefore completing Tournament mode can be a big incentive for those wishing to have access to other features of the game. Bizarre have been clever in this aspect, as it guarantees the player will complete Tournament mode if he/she wishes to participate in Single Events. The downside to this feature however is that some gamers may only want to play a certain map, and if that is the last location in Tournament mode, all other maps will have to be played and completed before hand. This might put the gamer off playing the game at all due to being forced to play modes and maps he/she did not wish to.
The Single Event mode can be accessed via the main menu, and this is where you have the chance to replay any event you encountered throughout Tournament mode. Whether you just replay the event for enjoyment factors or are aiming to beat your high score is up to you, but having the choice to choose particular events without having to replay the appropriate tournament is a very nice, time-saving feature indeed. However, you will have to unlock the event in Tournament mode before you have access to the level in Single Event mode, and this may be seen as a nuisance by those who have no desire to participate in the tournaments. Each event also has an online leaderboard, which will allow you to compare your high scores with friends, whilst seeing how you match up against The Clubs elite contenders. Competition is a very motivating factor in today's lifestyle, especially between friends; and therefore Bizarre have cleverly given you the opportunity to prove and brag to your comrades that you're the coolest under pressure, and the greatest arcade shooter around. Single Event mode may also appear to the completionists among you. The Club consists of 4 varying difficulty levels, ranging from the ridiculously easy to the stupendously hard. As you complete an event, a bullet will flash up on your screen to signify that event has been won. With a bullet being awarded for each difficulty level, 4 bullets can be collected for each event. The harder difficulty levels will also provide a sterner test to complete, and therefore blood, sweat and tears might arise before you can are blessed with the sight of the "Real" difficulty bullet. If you are a gamer who looks to squeeze out the maximum amount of playability from a game, or you just can't stand seeing incomplete tasks, then you will aim for achieving 4 bullets in every event. With 49 overall events and therefore 196 bullets to collect, it might be a while before you can declare yourself the ultimate bullet collector, and master of the Single Event mode.
Gunplay Mode is likely to be the option you choose to play when friends come round, staggering home from the Pub for some fast paced shooting action. Gunplay mode is where you create playlists of your favourite events to play through, and therefore creating your own tournament. Each playlist can have a maximum of 12 events, and be played by up to 4 players on the same console. The "Pass the Pad" technique seen on older consoles will be implemented here, where each player uses the same controller and watches their opponent as they wait for opportunity to conquer the event. Having 3 friends watching can bring on the nerves and anxiety, putting you under pressure to perform to the best of your abilities; otherwise, get mocked for missing that easy headshot and producing a score which your Grandma could beat! The interruptions between gameplay and putting your buddies under pressure can result in a lot of banter being had, increasing the enjoyment of the evening, whilst making winning even more satisfying than it already was. Along with the choice of events and number of players, each playlist is also customisable with difficult levels and weapon types. This will allow you to make the playlist as easy or hard as your heart desires, and can increase the replayability of the game by a great deal. If you invite friends round who believe they are the messiahs of the gaming world, challenge them to complete a playlist on the Insane difficulty level with only a measly pistol equipped. In contrast, if you have a friend new to gaming with you, a playlist could be created on the Casual difficult setting with access to the most powerful sub-machine guns. The possibilities are endless in Gunplay Mode, which makes this an extremely desirable option to experiment with and have many a laugh whilst during the company of others.
"With all these modes and events to participate in, how many characters do we have access to?" I hear you ask. The answer to that question would be 8 characters, all with differing appearances and personalities. Each character in the game has been given a rating out of 5 stars for Speed, Strength and Stamina attributes. Picking a character with the correct strengths and weaknesses to suit your style of play can be crucial to success in The Club. If you have a no-nonsense approach to gaming, Dragov, "a Siberian hunter and the most wanted criminal in Russian history", might just be the character for you. This mean looking marksman possess only 1 star in the speed category, but a highly impressive 5 stars in strength and 4 in stamina; making him the perfect maniac to take into the heart of a gun fest. If you prefer a more "run and gun" approach, Kuro, "a deep-cover operative with a stolen identity", could be the perfect choice to suit your gameplay tactics. Kuro flaunts an impressive 5 stars in the speed category, allowing him to manoeuvre around levels as fast as a cat on fire, but unfortunately suffers in the strength and speed department, having 2 and 3 stars respectively. Aswell as characters with specialist categories, you have the choice of using solid all-rounders such as Renwick, a member of the NYPD for more than 30 years, who refuses to take crap from anybody. 3 stars in each category are present for Renwick, making him a reliable outfit for your killing needs; although reliable, not noticeably strong in any particular area. As you experiment with the 8 different characters in the game, you can certainly note a difference in the way they perform certain tasks. For example, it is easy to spot Kuro being far quicker on the ground than Dragov, but Dragov eliminating the enemies in harder difficulties at a faster rate than Kuro. With each characters performance differing from one another, you are guaranteed a totally new experience everytime you find enough courage to venture into The Club. The characters varying attributes result in a large amount of gameplay and replayability value, something that is gladly welcomed after a lack of story mode and different game types.
The Club produces extremely intense and enjoyable gameplay whilst offering varying locations and characters, but like many other games, unfortunately Bizarre's latest creation has a few disadvantages which will slightly hinder the experience. The control system may take some time to get used to, with the aiming speed in particular being a problem. As you propel the right analogue stick in either direction to turn your character, it almost feels as if a slow motion scene begins to occur. By the time you've finally managed to aim where you first intended, your target is likely to have now taken cover; and that impressive headshot and dream combo score you had thought up, vanished with the enemy. Bizarre Creations have tried to counter this by including a 180 degree turn via simply pressing the Y button, but this can often disorientate you and aim you even more off target. Your best bet for turning at the speed of light would be rolling and moving the analogue stick at the same time; rolling can be executed by pressing the A button. This comes of as a cool looking manoeuvre and can be effective if used in the correct situation, but isn't recommended in tight spots such as alley ways! The aiming system in The Club will still allow you to achieve superb, high hitting combos, but a sharper system could have been implemented which would have taken the game to the next level, adding even more enjoyment to an already thrilling game.
The aiming system in The Club is a letdown, but an even bigger disappointment is the lack of replays after each event. If replays were employed, many more hours of enjoyment could have been had reliving your best high score runs and combos, watching you dive relentlessly around your favourite level, pulling off jaw-dropping headshots one after the other. These replays could have then been saved to Xbox Live for friends and foes to see, so you could prove these amazing feats you lecture about, instead of telling people until their ears bleed with boredom. A replay system could have had huge potential in The Club, and it's a real shame Bizarre decided to leave this feature out, considering how experienced they are with implementing replay features in their previous racing titles. All we can do now is hope replays are added via Download Content in the near future, but unfortunately it's an unlikely prospect.
On the plus side, you might not have had time to watch the replays anyway due to there being 8 enthralling multiplayer modes for you to partake in. 3 solo modes and 5 team modes are present, so whether you prefer to stand alone or be part of a menacing squad, Bizarre have catered for you. Not only is there 8 modes to play, but each mode provides contrasting gameplay to the next. If you fancy participating in a Solo game and taking on the world by yourself, you will have the choice of playing "Kill Match", "Score Match" or "Hunter Hunted". Kill match is your typical Deathmatch, with the first person to reach the target number of kills first being the victor. If that target isn't reached, then the player with the most kills after the time limit runs out will take home the title of numero uno. Nothing new and imaginative here, but still a fun, solid game type to waste away the hours in. Score matches are near identical to Kill matches, the difference being you must be the first player to reach a score target instead of a certain amount of kills. The victor will be the player who can best pull off incredible combos and multipliers similar to those in single player events, whilst leaving the competition behind to wonder "how the heck did he do that?!". The final solo mode, Hunter Hunted, is an original game type where the first person to get killed takes the title of the hunted. When you become the hunted, it is your job to avoid all over competitors and avoid dying at all costs, and this is due to you scoring points for every second you manage to stay alive. However, you are at an unfair disadvantage, with your vicious predators being able to spot your location on their radar; resulting in it only being a matter of slowly ticking seconds before your position is bombarded with desperate enemies, soon to be eating your bones for breakfast. Hunter Hunted mode is a great thrill ride, especially when you take the role of the hunted. It can be a very tense situation as you try to survive, knowing people who will do all within their power to kill you, only being just around the corner.
The solo modes within multiplayer offer a good variety of fun game types, but the team matches is where The Club really shines. You have access to the standard Team Kill match, a Team Deathmatch with a rearranged title, Team Fox Hunt, Team Objective, Team Siege, and finally Team Skullshot. Team Fox Hunt is a simple yet addictive game type, where each time has a player nominated as "The Fox". The first team to kill their opponents Fox is the winner. In Team Fox Objective, highly tactical battles will occur where you try to safely manoeuvre your Fox in to your opponents' base for a certain amount of time without being killed. Teamwork is essential in this game, due to having players protecting your base from the incoming Fox threat, and other team-mates protecting your own Fox as sneak behind enemy lines in to the opponent's base. Gamers who thrive on working as part of a team will find themselves spending many an hour in the Team Fox Objective game mode.
Similar to the Siege events in Single Player modes, Team Siege requires one team to defend an area whilst the other team attacks and tries to take over the land. The defending team must attempt to stay alive as long as possible before being eventually overran by the relentless opposition. Teams will then swap over, and the former attacking team will now be defending, trying to survive a longer period of time than the now attacking team managed. Team Siege is certainly a fun game type, as it lets you pit your wits against opposition players to see who acquires the best survival skills. The final multiplayer game type, Team Skullshot, requires you to hunt down your opposing teams skullshots that have been strategically placed around the map by the developers at Bizarre. If you are the Blue team, finding and shooting the Red skullshots before the Red team eliminates all of your Blue skullshots will bag you the victory, along with the bragging rights. Team Skullshot can introduce more frantic and heart-pounding gameplay to The Club, as you eagerly such for your opponents' skullshots, whilst at the same time watching your back, eliminating enemy players, and protecting your team-mates; there is certainly a lot to think about! And this only adds to the enjoyment. Your overall multiplayer experience with The Club has the potential to be an extremely enjoyable one, filled with plenty of action packed fun and the relentless killing of others.
The graphics in The Club are similar to the gameplay; very well done indeed. Whilst they are not comparable to Gears of War or Bioshock's groundbreaking graphics, they are more than respectable and include some lovely lighting effects, along with detailed environments and characters which will make you feel more involved in the game. Particular parts of levels however appear to be too dark, and this can often result in you completely missing an enemy who's firing bullets in to your soon to be dead corpse, or getting lost and running out of time. Losing your hard earned combination because you are unable to find the correct path to take in order to find more enemies or finish a level can become extremely frustrating, as you will have to restart the event to have a chance at reaching the required score target or reach the exit within the set time.
The award winning composer Richard Jacques, famous for producing music for games such as Jet Set Radio and Mass Effect, has been hired by Bizarre Creations to create the musical score for The Clubs single player experience; and he did a pretty good job of it! Orchestral music appears just at the right times during events, and is perfectly done to still allow the effects of weapons and the commentators voice to prevail over the music. Speaking of the commentator's voice, if I have to hear "Headshot" one more time, well... The deep, commanding voice of the commentator lets you know when headshots have been accurately pulled off, along with special moves such as the "Rico-slay". The voice to bring your attention to these aspects is a welcome addition to the game, but can often become overly repetitive if you play the game for any reasonable amount of time without a break. If you have enough skill to execute headshots, you will unfortunately have to hear the word pronounced in exactly the same tone, over and over again. The sound of bullets ricocheting of different surfaces has been done particularly well along with explosions, which all help to make the game feel more realistic and adds to the atmosphere of the game.
The Club has a nice mix of single and multiplayer achievements, which also consist of numbingly easy and extremely time-consuming tasks. You will be rewarded for playing through and completing Tournament mode, bagging a nice 10 gamerpoints for each tournament. If you have the skill to complete the tournaments on the Insane difficulty, you'll acquire an extra 20 gamerpoints per tournament. There is unfortunately a catch here though that makes these achievements far easier to achieve. You will not have to win the tournaments on Insane, you survive them till the end; you can finish at the bottom of the leaderboard and still get awarded the achievement. Finishing bottom of a leaderboard isn't much of an achievement to me... Aswell as tournaments, you will be rewarded for achieving impressive combos, finding all the skullshots located throughout the game, and pulling off all of the skill moves explained earlier in the review. None of these achievements are notably hard, but might require some patience to achieve. The multiplayer side of achievements will see you unlocking points for winning your first Ranked match, winning a Ranked match in each of the 8 locations, and the feared "No, Seriously" achievement, inspired from Gears of Wars "Seriously" achievement, which will unlock after you have achieved 10,001 kills in Ranked matches. Having the "No, Seriously" achievement in your collection will prove to the gaming world that you're a highly skilled and committed member of The Club! The challenging yet do-able achievement list will appeal to many gamers, due to the 1000 gamerpoints being very accessible if you have the motivation to put in the effort required.
The Club is an action third person shooter for the Xbox 360 console.
This game is rather interesting as it blends shooting with a time limit and racing. Basically you start out by picking a character, each of the characters are different they have different speeds and strength.
You play tournaments in the club, you have to score a lot of points by completing various events. Some events have you race to the finish, survive for a set amount of time, score as many points as possible, complete laps while scoring as much as possible. There are a few different locations to do this in.
At the end of the day it is the player with the highest amount of points that wins the tournament. Completing tournaments will unlock further tournaments for you to play. Sadly the game is over very quickly which is annoying.
You can get this game for around £30.00 which is OK but I think there is not enough to do.
The Club is an overall good game. You play as one of 8 characters and progress through 8 separate tournaments. Within the tournaments you go against other computer players and have different types of levels which usually revolve around you either being in one place and having to stay alive, progressing through a number of laps or by simply getting to the end of the level. The game is quite easy to pick up and play and the controls and also very simple to pick up. The only annoying thing about the game is when it comes to sprinting with you having to use the right button along with the right trigger to shoot, which can sometimes become quite strange to control. You can also not aim and sprint at the same time which did become very annoying!
Overall of what I have played of the game so far I have found it fun and easy to just pick up and play. The pace of the game is quite fast and reminds me of timesplitters on playstation 2, however how long this game will really keep you entertained is questionable.
Old School Gaming. This is a phrase that pops up every now and again when I go online to unearth the latest morsel on a game that intrigues me. For me old school is something that harks back to the days of the Spectrum or the arcades in their pomp. Most of these games did not have sweeping storylines and often they consisted of a few levels over and over again. The idea was not to complete some task, but to become the best at the game. Could you reach the top of the high score board on 'Robotron'? Personally as an uncompetitive person I was glad when games became more forgiving and introduced storylines and narratives. In fact many games now forgo scoring completely and instead rely totally on a short lived linear story. Could an old school high score game work in today's market? The success of Xbox Live Arcade would suggest that it could. But there is a difference in paying £4 and £40 for a game - was their enough to keep 'The Club' interesting?
Bizarre Creations, the studio who created 'The Club', are best known for their racing games under the 'Project Gotham' banner. However, they also found success with a twin stick shooter called 'Geometry Wars' which was originally a freebie within a racing game only to be released separately with great success. 'The Club' combines elements from both these games and adds a rich dollop or 'Gears of War' to the mix. You play as captured bloke who has been forced into a game of death by a mysterious group. You much shoot your way through a number of locations to reach the exit. Each location has around 6-8 levels that you must complete that take the form of a survival, race, or get to the finish.
Each game type is pretty similar just with different goals. In survival you have to not die for two minutes and are trapped in a given area of the map. In a race you have to run a linear path through the map doing two or three laps. Finally a get to the finish map just has you trying to get from point A to B without dying!
Each level takes around 5 minutes to complete and over the different maps there are around 40 levels. The enjoyment is not meant to come from playing through them once, but trying to better your score each time. Based around a 'Gears' style gameplay you shoot enemies in a level and you gain +1 on your multiplier, you then have a few seconds to add another +1 to your total, or lose it all. Therefore, the core gameplay is about stringing together kills through a level so that you maximise your score. I found this an interesting type of gameplay and a new take on the shooter genre. It did get a little samey towards the end, but overall it was fun to play. (3 out of 5)
The story of 'The Club' is thinner than Paris Hilton on a prune diet. There is little explanation as to who the mysterious group are and the characters are a collection of racial stereotypes. The game is so focussed on the high score mentality that the makers seem to have abandoned any other areas. (1 out of 5)
'The Club' more than other games relies on personal taste for how long it lasts. If you are a high score hunter who likes to compare their score with online friends and better them - this could last indefinitely. However, if like me you don't really care whether you are a top 1000 player or not then it all falls a little flat. Personally I just played through all the levels once and traded it in. This is not to say that some people will not want to keep going back for that one last attempt.
The achievements on offer on the 360 are a varied enough bunch to make you play the game more. However, the majority of them (especially the online ones) felt too much like a grind for me so I ignored them. (3 out of 5)
Another game, another broken online experience. I am a huge fan of the LIVE experience and have played the likes of 'Call of Duty 4', 'Rainbow 6 Vegas' and 'Shadowrun' for hours and hours. However, for every decent online experience there are five others that are average or poor. I only have so many hours to play so why settle for mediocrity when I can just play 'CoD4' again? Unfortunately, 'The Club' has such poor servers that the online experience feels broken. The game types are also pretty unoriginal with the games just being generic 3rd person shoot fests. I would prefer games like this to spend more time improving their single player experience than making a mediocre/poor multiplayer add on that I will disregard after an hour. (1 out of 5)
This is one area that 'The Club' benefits from with its simple design. Because all the levels are set in essentially the 8 same maps Bizarre can lavish some quality onto the look and feel of the game as the areas they need to concentrate on are finite. I found the character models looked beefy and the levels decent. The only real issue I had was that some of the areas looked very similar to one another and that a sequel would need to consider some more original locales. (4 out of 5)
The level design of this game can be seen in two separate lights - the levels themselves and the 8 maps. Personally I found the levels to be incredibly samey with all of them taking you down yet another linear path. This is great for the gameplay and without this strict pathway the idea of a high score centred game would fail. However, as a fan of more open world games I found it a little restrictive. The maps themselves come out better. Each map is different enough to be fun and they have numerous areas in them to allow several levels to takes place in a relatively small area. I would say that the maps and levels are designed well for the type of game that Bizarre had in mind. (3 out of 5)
There is little that a game like 'The Club' needs to do with its sound and music as the game is very basic. However, the sound of the gun fire is very good and it's useful to track bad guys by the shouts that they make as they come at you. The music on offer was forgettable at best and like the level structure there is little on offer here that gives the game any real ambiance. (2 out of 5)
'The Club' is a no holds barred high score chasing game. Bizarre seemed to have stripped the game of a lot of atmosphere and depth in the hunt for the perfect chain scoring game. I would argue that the game is certainly less than perfect, but for fans of old style points chasing games there is a certain charm to the linear gameplay. With good graphics and chunky gameplay there was enough here to keep me entertained for a few hours. Personally I did not wish to go back and replay old levels, but I imagine this will catch many people's attention. I would probably only recommend this to people who know they like hunting for high scores. Everyone else should probably only pick it up for a reduced price. (3 out of 5)
Maker: Bizarre Creations RRP £50
Amazon uk £36.98
Developer: Bizzare Creations
Before this game came out Sega were saying it was going to have the gameplay of Unreal Tournament. So it sounded not too bad. Previews said that the games story was about a underground club who pitted people against each other to try and survive as long as possible while working your way up the ladder. The gameplay tells a different story.
The enemys are always in the same place, and never actually kill each other, they all just chase after you and try killing you. The maps are really not fun at all. Each map has 6 rounds, consisting of Sprint which sees you legging it to the end of the level before the clock runs out and while keeping a combo/score multiplier running by killing enemys and shooting at secret signs on walls. In Time Attack you earn seconds per kill, while running through the same map in 'Laps', In Siege you must hold a location on the map for a set period of time, And in Survival you face waves of enemies, while trying to kill as many as possible before time runs out, and each map has those modes
but each one is set out in a different route with most places being blocked off by concrete slabs and signs making it very linear.
So because of this and the very easy difficuly each mode takes about 3 minutes to complete and offers practically no fun at all, and definetly isnt worth buying. Not even a rental. Though luckily I did rent it, so I could send it back as soon as I realised how poor it was.
I know this review is really short. But I disliked the game so much, I just can't think of much to write about my dissapointment.
(Also posted on Ciao.)
It might seem weird that The Club is developed by Bizarre Creations. That's probably because the only type of game I can remember them developing is racing, with its sublime series Project Gotham racing. Aside from that, there is Geometry Wars and Fur Fighters but both can't hold a candle to its big racing series. Yet, once you dig deep into the latest game from the developer, there are definitely a couple of comparisons you can make to PGR. From the combo system to the visual style, you can tell this is from the makers of PGR. But has the jump from racing to shooting cut their development talent down, or does it live up to their previous games?
The Club is a secret network made up of corrupt businessmen and millionaires who have nothing better to do and have been watching Hostel too much. They gamble money on a group of men as they kill and kill again. But who would do that? Well, aside from a couple who do it for fun, there are characters that have personal reasons for competing in this bloodbath. Unfortunately, the plot doesn't make much of an impact. The cut scenes you get for completing the tournaments with a character are a bit confusing, too brief and uninteresting. Top that with bland dialogue and little mention of the plot during the tournaments make this a plot you won't remember.
The game controls well. You move with the left stick, aim with the right stick, zoom in with the left trigger and shoot with the right trigger. You can also turn around ninety degrees by pressing the Y button, roll by pressing the A button, reload with the X button and throw a grenade by tapping the B button. You can do a melee attack by pressing the left bumper, and holding down the right bumper will cause your character to sprint. You can also do context sensitive moves e.g. jumping through a door, by pressing the A button when the game asks you to. The game controls great, and it's easy to learn them.
The Club is a third-person shooter. At first, it seems quite generic, as you must run and gun through a level shooting people and getting to the exit. You can zoom in Gears of War style and aim more accurately, though you can't take cover, yet this did feel a bit like Gears of War. The A.I. is about as smart as a duck, and the levels are linear as is the progression. But once you start to really dig deep, The Club becomes one of the most unique shooters on the market. Why? It's combo system. Basically, when you shoot someone, a combo starts to build up and blocks are dropping off the screen.
If every block drops off, you will start to lose your combo. When you kill again, the combo keeps building and building until blocks start to drop off quicker than a cheetah. You can also keep your combo going by shooting down skullshots around the level, which give you points and keep the combo going. This makes matches incredibly fast paced, as you must keep going to build your combo up. If you stop to shoot down nearby butterflies, then your combo will disappear. You can also earn some bonus points by doing special tricks, like rolling then killing someone, turning ninety degrees then killing someone and getting headshots.
Thankfully, not every level requires you to simply get to the end. There are many different match types on display in The Club. There's the standard get to the end with as many points as possible match, a variation where you do the same, except in a time limit, as well as a race where you kill enemies, shoot down special skull shots and walk into clock pickups to increase your time. There is also survivor mode, where you must get enough points while staying alive for the time. The trick is that if you wander out of the area marked by cones and chalk, then you have five seconds to get back in otherwise you're toast. But it's hard to stay in as they tempt you with weapons and health packs which are needed. Unfortunately, that's really it, meaning the game still gets repetitive after a while. That said it's nice that you still have to score an amount of points while doing the special modes.
The main mode of single player is Tournament. It's like something you'd find in a racing game where you compete in events, and earning a place will get you points for the tournament. So you don't have to place first in every event to get an overall place of first. You can exit the mode and return to the tournament you were in the middle of, like PGR4. There are a total of eight tournaments, each set in a unique environment. There are four difficulty settings for The Club, and they're a little unbalanced. Easy mode is just pants-on-head easy, as the score you have to beat don't pack a challenge. Medium does get slightly harder, though expert shooter fans will still find it too easy. That's when they hit the harder difficulties then they will have fun. In these modes, you have to sometimes score millions to even get a decent position like 5th. Yes, these modes will satisfy old school shooter fans. And crazy people...
The other two modes are single event, where you can replay any event from the tournament mode and gun play where you can set up a series of events, set the difficulties for them, play them yourself and then save them. It's good to make your friends try to do these challenges. Unfortunately, these modes won't hold your attention for long. So it's good then that there is online multiplayer for eight people over Xbox Live, then. There are eight modes, with the standard deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag.
The other five modes include Team Fox Hunt, where one player on each team is a fox and the first team to kill the opponents fox wins. The trick is that the fox can use health packs to multiply their health by four times the standard player, meaning they can be tough to kill. There is also team skull shot where teams must defend their skull shots, Hunted Killer where a person to kill someone becomes the hunter, and they constant are getting points. When another player kills them they become the hunter. These modes are cool, but they won't hold your interest for long compared to CoD4 or Gears of War.
There are a variety of characters and weapons to use. There are eight playable characters in total, each with unique stats and stories. Each character is better for different situations, for example Renwick is a pretty balanced character meaning he could do well in any situation, where as Nemo is very fast, meaning he's best in the speed required modes. You can also pick your favourite one as they all look cool and could represent your personality. There are lots of weapons in the game, including pistols, shotguns, mini-guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and rocket launchers.
You'll be assigned to use different weapons in the game for different events, meaning you'll need to adapt to using different weapons. Unfortunately, this is pretty easy as the weapons themselves are all as effective as each other, except one requires constant reloading or one requires precision aim to succeed or one explodes when shot into the ground-they all kill and kill well. They are also weak, mainly due to the poor sound effects for them. You never feel like you have the powerful assault rifle in your hand. That said, The Club isn't focusing on powerful weapons-it is all about getting you addicted to getting high scores, and it succeeds at that.
There is some good environmental interaction too. The simplest is being able to kick the door down, climb over rails and smashing your way through blocking wooden slacks. But there is also some great moves you can do, such as Rico-slay where you shoot metal, the bullets bounce off, and they can kill enemies. This adds tactics into the game as managing to hit Rico-slay on an enemy around a door will be life saver. The only real problem with the environments is the lack of a cover feature. This isn't such a problem in the easier difficulties, as you can take lots of bullets. But on the harder difficulties, where enemies are much tougher, this can be really annoying. It's disappointing that there isn't a cover system like Gears of War.
The game is rated 15+, which is justifiable. The game constantly has blood splattering on walls and floors as you kill enemies, though there is nothing excessive like heads exploding. It's also worth noting that I head one of the enemies say 'I'm getting the f*** out of here', so there is some strong language too. That said, a seven year old could pick up and play this game on the easier settings as they don't really challenge. But even still, I'd say anyone over the age of twelve could play this game.
Graphically, The Club looks a bit similar to PGR4. The game has a nice blur effect when you spin around, environments look gorgeous and there is no slowdown. You'll travel through abandoned warehouses and prisons, a war torn street, a Soviet bunker and more. They are interesting to see, and some of them look stunning. The main character models look excellent. A couple of them wear buffed up jackets, and they really stand out thanks to their size. Dreadlocks look chunky, one of the characters is bald and their head shines in sunlight and other cool details. Unfortunately, the enemy models don't look the best, sometimes repeating too. The explosion effects look good, but not as good as Lost Planet.
The sound is entirely forgettable. The voice acting is minimal, but what's there is okay if a little generic as is the dialogue. The music is a little absent, but you can hear it and the music do repeat a lot. This is probably due to the fact that every level has one song playing through out each event. The biggest crime, however, is the weapons. They sound incredibly weak and are quite quiet. This is the biggest knock against the sound, as powerful weapons make a good shooter great.
-(The Replay Value)-
The value is a little shallow, even if you manage to get into the game. For single players, there's only the tournament mode, the single even mode and the gunplay mode. Even if you like the game, there is a good chance getting high scores will get old fast. Even if you have Xbox Live, the multiplayer will likely get old quickly too as it's not as good as shooters like CoD4's multiplayer or Team Fortress 2. The achievements are solid. They're about equally split between single player and multiplayer. You'll get achievements for completing tournaments, getting every skull shot in the game, breaking through fifty doors and wooden slates and more.
Controls=10-Great movement and shooting.
Gameplay=7-Addictive as heck, but gets repetitive.
Graphics=8-Great main characters and environments.
Sound=6-Weak weapon sounds are just the start.
Replay Value=7-Not a whole lot of modes, but it is addictive.
-(The Ending Comments)-
The Club probably won't be game of the year, unless every game after this will suck, but this is a very good game. It stands out from the dozens of other shooters on the market thanks to its cool combo system that adds speed, intensity and replay value to the game. It has an old school flavour to it, and on top of that the graphics impress. Unfortunately, it has its fair share of flaws. If you can't get into this game, then it won't even last you an hour, and even if you do, it could do with more modes. The sound is forgettable in every area, from the weak acting to the underwhelming gun sounds. With these problems aside, if you have a passing interest in shooters, then The Club will satisfy and if you're looking for an excuse to shoot stuff then you could do worse. But if you haven't experienced the likes of Gears of War and Lost Planet, they should be your starting games.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by Sega and developed by Bizarre Creations.
This was released on February 8th and is also on PS3 and PC.
This is available from Amazon for £36.98