Castle Clash game Guardian
Clash of The Titans … tedious, lazy and poorly designed
Xbox 360 (reviewed)/PS3; £29.99; cert 16+; Namco-Bandai
The main problem with Clash of the Titans is that the combat mechanics – and there is nothing else to this game but combat, so you would expect it to at least make a decent attempt – are just not good enough.
A fight is invariably the same every time. Button-bash for a while until prompted, then execute a quick time sequence, often several times in a row. If you do it right, your character executes a finishing move. You're not so much controlling the character as you are requesting that he attack on your behalf.
Annoying the first time, this gets extremely repetitive, because you need to get a lot of seize points to upgrade weapons. This means you are forced to go through the same tedious quick-time sequence with practically every skeleton grunt you meet: and there is only one type of finishing move per class of enemy, and only one solitary generic cut scene to accompany it. This might be very cinematic for bosses, but it is just frustrating when fighting lesser creatures. As if all that wasn't bad enough, there are also some quests for which your sword is taken away, leaving quick-time as your only attack option.
As in the recent dreadful Hollywood remake of the same name, the main character is Perseus, a young fisherman who discovers that he is the estranged son of Zeus and finds himself in the middle of a war between Man and the Gods. After this war claims his adoptive family, Perseus takes it upon himself to massacre everything in the world that isn't human in ascending order of size, pausing briefly to engage in stilted banter with some of the most hysterically two-dimensional personalities ever to grace a polygon. The NPC performances are as bad as you would expect from a tie-in with an awful movie, and to add insult to injury you sometimes have to re-watch the same awkwardly-written conversation several times because you can't skip past some of the cut scenes.
The level design is lazy too. Minescule stages, 10-seconds small between loading screens in some cases, wouldn't test the processor on a Sega Saturn. They invariably fit into three categories: the Castle, the Mountain, and the Cave; within those, everything looks the same. This is the sort of design I'd expect from a four-year-old with only three different crayon colours. On top of all that, Clash of the Titans grades you after each level, a relatively common – and degrading – device designed to artificially ratchet up game-play time.
This was never going to be a classic, but it could have been good fun. It is a pity that having put fighting centre stage and letting the work-experience kid design everything else, the combat mechanism was not given nearly enough attention – resulting in both a tepid spectacle and a frustrating player experience. The obvious elephant in the room is, of course, God of War 3, and Clash of the Titans simply doesn't come close.