Clan of Champions (PC) Review
Gladiatorial Combat has been a favorite for spectators ever since Roman times, when people were mercilessly thrown into the arenas to fight it out for their freedom. We may have come a long way since then, but the spectacle of the arena lives on, especially in our entertainment media. Clan of Champions takes you into the arena, for three on three combat, that’s ultimately more flawed than fun.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the game runs in a window. It may be a bit small but you can still see what’s going on most of the time. The second thing you’ll notice is that the title screen features a game start option and an instructions option, which gives you the controls layout for both the keyboard and a wired 360 controller, which thankfully, the game supports.
There’s no options menu to speak of, which is a strange thing to see in this day and age of numerous PC offerings and as many differing setups as there are people. So, you’re kind of stuck with the default resolution and window and all.
You start out by selecting a race for your battler, human, elf or orc. The human is average, the elf is agile but physically weak and the orc is strong but slow. Each also has a strength, agility, vitality and magic stat. You get a number of stat allocation points at the character creation as well, which you can use to beef up racially weak areas, or give a super boost to already strong ones.
You also get the full color palette wheel to mess around with during character creation, which is kind of nice. You can create a blue N’avi-like elf, a human that’s several shades of sickly green, or an eggplant colored orc. Strangely, this is probably the most in depth part of the game.
Once you get your character all set, you’ll hit the missions tab and compete in a series of twenty-four arena battles, one after the other. It’s three on three, so it’s you, joined by a pair of computer controlled AI buddies. Once you fell the opposing three-on-three team, often several more opponents will spawn, and many stages are multi tiered, or have additional areas with more baddies to take down before completing the stage.
As you wail away on opponents in the arena, their pieces of armor and shields and even their weapons with flash yellow, then orange, and finally red, before falling to the ground. You can pick up and use any weapon or armor piece lying around, which is kind of nice. The reverse is also true, however, and at the higher levels, you’ll find your heavily armored warrior hacked down to bare hands and a loincloth in no time.
After each mission, you’ll be rewarded with level ups to both any skills or combos you used in the previous fight, a cache of gold based on your performance, as well as your choice of any or all of the weapons and armor pieces dropped by all of your opponents. These weapons and armor pieces vary wildly in stats, each having an offensive rating as well as a defensive rating, and ranks from S (highest) to C (lowest).
Any weapons or armor you choose to keep can be equipped on your character, provided you aren’t over the requisite weight limit or sold at the shop, which isn’t an actual in game shop, but rather just a menu.
There are also a number of skills and spells you can acquire. After each battle you can spend points on improving these skills. You can assign skills to any controller button you wish, and activate them by holding the left button (L1), and hitting the corresponding button. You perform simple light attacks by using the Y button, while heavy attacks use the X button. You can perform simple dodge rolls via the B button.
There are also passive skills you can set for your character, such as proficiencies with certain types of weapons, better armor protection, better magical defense, etc. Your weapons can be strengthened as well, by “enhancing” them, by using stronger weapons to boost their stats; this however, destroys the stronger weapons.
Spells are available via grimoires, found in certain levels and range from fireballs to blasts of ice, to buffing and debuffing spells.
The whole skill and spell system might have been interesting to explore and use, if not for the fact that you can defeat every enemy by simply button mashing until they are little more than a bloody mess on the arena wall. Oh sure, some enemies take longer than others, but you don’t need to use skills or spells at all to complete the game. This also works on the higher difficulties as well.
There are multiplayer modes as well, like single or team battles, but there’s never any games taking place in the online lobby. They have various leaderboards, which are primarily dominated by the mysterious “ArcaneNet.” He couldn’t possibly be an employee, right?
Challenge-wise, the single player campaign isn’t terribly difficult, as much as it is tedious. You mash one opponent to death, and then you do it again. And again. You get a couple AI teammates to help, but they aren’t the brightest bots in the game, either. Couple this with the fact that many stages have ten or more opponents and the game starts to get old quickly.
At the higher difficulties, you’ll face enemies that constantly use spells and skills, surround and flank you and seem to move a lot faster than you. It also takes forever to disarm and take down some of the heavier armored opponents and bosses.
Visually, the game isn’t that exciting. There are different arenas here and there, but most are relatively small and feature pretty bland textures. The different weapon and armor styles have varied details, but nothing special that separates high end items from their low end counterparts. Enemies and other characters in general are pretty generic looking overall.
The music is pretty mediocre as well, with dramatic, over the top beats when you are fighting. The weapon sound effects aren’t really all that different from each other, the main sound you hear is when an item “breaks” and falls to the ground.
Overall, Clan of Champions feels like an unoriginal package, wrapped in mediocrity. The tired visuals, tedious gameplay and lackluster sound effects would wear down even the most seasoned of gladiators.
|Graphics||5.0||Bland arenas and lackluster character models. Weapons and armor are also pretty medicare.|
|Gameplay||5.0||Lots of skills, but much of the game comes down to a button mashing frenzy.|
|Sound||5.0||Pretty underwhelming soundtrack. The only noticeable effects are grunts and screams and|
|Lasting Appeal||4.0||Can't imagine this lasting much more than a single play through. Multiplayer might be fun if anyone was online with it.|
|Fun Factor||4.0||You'd have more fun if you were thrown into a real arena with a wooden sword.|
|Overall||4.5 [ Poor ] legend|