Fantasy/medieval fight-to-the-death matches -- what isn't there to like?
Clan of Champions was released by NIS at the end of October this year, featuring the vague plot of conquering evil-doers at a previously abandoned castle town. In this game, you get to build a character and beat the snot out of all kinds of baddies, gank all their gear (and upgrade your own with it), and then fight some more baddies. All in the most spectacularly satisfying ways possible.
Check out my full review below the cut.
Clan of Champions (PC)
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012
Let's start with the good.
Clan of Champions is awesome if you like to beat the snot out of baddies, as I mentioned before. There are tons of weapons and gear to choose from, not to mention that as you go on missions and find more stuff lying around the battle arenas (from fallen enemies), you could combine and upgrade them to newer, deadlier weapons.
The customization, while not the most amazing kind out there, is enough that you can choose either your plain ol' human, elf, or orc character, make them any color you can possible concoct from a color slider, and then change a few features before you're tossed into your first brawl. From then on, the more stuff you pick up and the more fights you win, the better you can equip yourself and the more cool gear you can afford at the shop.
Each battle has a 30 minute timer on it, which is generous at the beginning of the game, but challenging later on when the enemies are stronger. Enemies strike for your gear to knock out your defenses, so if you don't kill them quickly enough, you'll find your character stark naked and running around trying to equip things that are on the floor to gain health back. And then before you know it, your character will have fallen twice and you're starting to run out of time.
The fighting system is simple enough - you get your regular attacks, and special attacks. While you'll have a "default" role setting (I chose hand-to-hand combat type), you'll still be able to skill up any other combat role and don any weapon you pick up. At the end of each battle, your level-ups are based on the skills you actually used in battle instead of only giving you experience based on whatever role you chose. That said, you might start out, like I did, playing hand-to-hand, and end up getting mad skills in dual-wielding combat once you discover the joy of flails and spiked balls.
Now comes the bad stuff.
Clan of Champions is painfully redundant. There isn't any sort of connection with the story because all you do is sit at your house and do all your shopping, upgrading, and mission-selecting from there, and then once you pick a mission and hit "start" you're transported to the battle arena. At the battle arena, you'll have two invincible NPC companions that fight alongside you in three versus three battles (which come in waves, once you get further along in the missions), and that is it. There isn't any sort of NPC interaction, no picking up special items, no exploration of the ruins or any kind of overworld -- nada. You literally just: pick a mission, go fight, go home, upgrade skills and equipment, then repeat.
When it's time to upgrade weapons, there's very little explanation as to how it's done or how it even works. What I basically did is just fused together anything I had on me as long as the stats kept coming up in the green whenever I picked two items, and went until I ran out of stuff. And then equipped whatever the newly powered-up gear was. You get the hang of it after a little while, but it was overwhelming when I'd first started playing and was only a couple of missions in.
The game was clearly made with multiplayer in mind, but I wasn't able to find anyone to connect with. I clicked on versus and team play often enough, but there was never anyone else online that also wanted to play games. With multiplayer out the window, the game is just as repetitive as I explained above.
That being said -- if you like to blow off some steam by playing a brawler and playing around with endless weapon possibilities, this might be the game for you, albeit rather casual. Though you'll get a little bit of a story whenever you go to mission select, none of it will ever connect when you hit "start" because all you do is enter a battle arena and fight.
Since the negatives are big enough to turn off most gamers, I give this game a "kinda recommends," simply because Clan of Champions isn't necessarily a bad game. It just isn't for everyone.
[5.5 – Average. This one’s just “okay”. It has many flaws, and just couldn’t follow through on its intentions or had ones that were simply too narrow to warrant consideration. Some will still enjoy it, but should temper their expectations, or perhaps just opt to pass. Watch more trailers and read more reviews before you decide.]
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