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June 23, 2010
Clash of the Titans - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
1/6/2010Namco BandaiNamco BandaiGame Republic1-21-2
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Enemy beasts in Clash of the Titans rock.
While our brave editor Dave "suffered" through his Red Dead Redemption review, I was tasked with reviewing the Clash of the Titans videogame. It was with some trepidation that I approached the review because videogames based on movies have a reputation for being largely mediocre. And when the movie itself is rather average, and premised on a fad that the videogame doesn't incorporate (3D), what hope does the game really have? Can Clash of the Titans (hereon referred to as COTT) break the mould and produce a better game than the movie it is based on? Read on...

The story begins in a peaceful fishing town where our hero Perseus lives. The town doesn't stay peaceful for long however, as monsters begin to appear in the neighbouring mountains, and soldiers from the capital city of Argos turn up to destroy the statue of one of the gods they no longer believe in. The gods are not impressed with the humans' folly, and in short order Hades arrives and wipes out the entire fishing village, except for Perseus luckily, whom as it turns out is the son of Zeus. Perseus is then swept up by a roaming patrol and taken to Argos whose king and queen have been directing the war against the gods. In a matter of minutes Hades turns up here too, and issues an ultimatum to the king and queen – give up their war against the gods and sacrifice their daughter Princess Andromeda as atonement for their crimes, or face the wrath of the Kraken; a monster capable of destroying all of humanity. Perseus, who has a thirst for vengeance after watching Hades kill his family and destroy his town, won't stand for this, and offers to find a way to destroy the Kraken. And thus our quest begins.

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Visuals are, well, adequate.
COTT is a hack-and-slash game with large helpings of Greek mythology thrown into the mix. There are no levels as such, just quests, which are given to you at each location the story takes you to. At each location you have a base, in which you are free to walk around and talk with your friends who will give you quests. Once you complete all quests for that base, the story progresses and you're taken to a new location, with new quests to complete. The quests themselves are generally quite short, taking around five to ten minutes to complete. At the end of each quest you are given a rating either S (the best), A, B or C (the worst). Your rating, which seems based on your speed completing the quest for the most part, will determine the rewards you gain for that quest.

Your objective on any given quests will largely depend on who gave you the quest; you might have to fight some soldiers to win their respect, or find an herb that can treat poison, or simply wipe out all enemies in the area. Fighting is a straightforward affair, with one button for quick attacks and another for heavy attacks. Pushing the buttons in different order will unleash combinations, though it was hard to tell if any combinations were more successful than another, so in the end you might find yourself hitting the same button over and over. Perseus can also steal souls from his enemies which are then used to power up his sub-weapon attacks.

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What the hell is that creature?!
Speaking of sub-weapons there is an abundance of them in the game. Pretty much every monster in COTT carries a sub-weapon, and one of the features of combat in COTT is Perseus's ability to steal that weapon via a sub-weapon seize attack, carried out once the enemy's health has been sufficiently reduced. Initiating a sub-weapon seize attack begins a quick-time event where you have to press a button when a large, but rapidly shrinking circle appears on the screen. Killing a monster this way for the first time will reward you with their sub-weapon, while each subsequent time you will be given “gifts” which are used to upgrade your sub-weapons. If you get the timing just right, stopping the circle in a specified area, you will be given more “gifts” than you otherwise get. There are twelve sub-weapon types, ranging from the generic sword, axe and bow weapons, to the more unexpected feather and tail weapons. All in all there are over eighty different sub-weapons to acquire.

Whilst COTT does provide some mindless hack and slash fun, it also has a number of serious flaws. Firstly, it is a hack-and-slash game with a mythological setting... Where have we heard that before? That's right, with the God of War series which is, quite frankly, superior to COTT in every conceivable way. As such it is very hard to find anybody to whom COTT should be recommended. There is significantly less gore in COTT than there is in God of War, with monsters disintegrating rather than spurting blood when defeated, so parents might prefer COTT for their kids, but aside from that if you want hack and slash, pick up God of War.

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Using one big-assed weapon in COTT.
Another major problem with COTT is the complete lack of variety in the gameplay. There are no puzzles in COTT, no platforming (beyond the odd jump across a chasm), no anything except fight after fight against similar enemies. Monster types are repeated throughout the game too, so you're not always getting something new and exciting with each new area. And boss fights can be quite tedious as no matter what weapon you use it takes a significant amount of time to whittle their health down to the point where you can use a sub-weapon seize to finish them off. To add insult to injury, if you mistimed your sub-weapon seize inputs against a boss, the boss will recover a small amount of health and you'll have to pummel him some more before trying the sub-weapon seize again.

The story also suffers in its adaptation from movie to game. Rather than follow the movie's storyline strictly, the game adds new elements, likely in an attempt to pad the length. However in the process it retains many of the movie's less-stellar moments, whilst at the same time changing some of the key elements such as the relationships between Perseus, Zeus and Hades. The game also fails to explain how some characters, Calibos in particular, fit in to the story until far too late thus robbing the storyline of cohesion and purpose.

And finally, there are simply too many sub-weapons in the game. It is necessary to upgrade weapons using the gifts you obtain from sub-weapon seizes, along with the points you gain for dispatching a particular type of monster. However no sooner have you upgraded a weapon than another, supposedly superior, weapon of the same type is given to you and you need to upgrade it too. The difference between weapons of the same type is not readily apparent anyway, so before long the whole upgrading process seems redundant and unfulfilling. Fewer weapons, each with more significant upgrades, would have made sub-weapons more relevant and the upgrading process far more rewarding.

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Animation in COTT is smooth.
Visually the game is decent without ever approaching greatness. Characters and monsters move smoothly, and the monster design can be interesting in patches. Not all monsters are lifted straight from the movie, with plenty of others such as the centaurs, taken from mythology, whilst some of the bosses appear almost unique. The environments themselves are well-designed, but the colouring is often bland and the texturing, or lack thereof, can make them fall a bit flat. The cut-scenes are mostly disappointing, with none of the lead characters except maybe Draco and Kucuk looking close to their movie counterparts. The lip-synching is also a bit off, but that's not a major issue.

Like the visuals, the music has its ups and downs. There are moments when the music adds to the tension and creates the right mood for the setting, but there are also times, especially during boss fights, when it starts to grate. The voice acting is not very good unfortunately, with lines delivered woodenly. Even in cut-scenes there is a noticeable lack of enthusiasm between the characters, which make them that much harder to care about.

At the end of the day it probably comes as no surprise to read that Clash of the Titans The Videogame is no better than mediocre. The fact that there's another, vastly superior hack-and-slash game with the same mythological grounding out there, is something it's impossible to overlook. The story is not well delivered, the voice-acting is lifeless and the game itself is one dimensional to a fault. With that said there is still some fun to be had here if you enjoyed the movie or are desperate for more hack-and-slash gameplay. This is a game much better suited to hiring over buying though, with your money spent much more wisely on other hack-and-slash titles, especially God of War 3.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSCharacters move smoothly and some of the monster designs are interesting. The colours are bland though, and the lack of texturing makes many environments fall flat.
SOUNDAt its best the music does a decent job of adding atmosphere to the game, but at its worst it will grate on you. The voice-acting really is a low point.
GAMEPLAYVery one-dimensional with no puzzles or platforming to break up the hack-and-slash gameplay. It can be entertaining, but it will be repetitive long before you reach the end.
VALUESurprisingly long, weighing in at around 15-20 hours. The option to explore environments in free-play is unlikely to bring you back though, nor is the idea of completing your sub-weapon collection.
OVERALLA largely mediocre title, but it's not totally devoid of fun. There are other, much better options out there to sate your hack-and-slash appetite though, so this is probably a hire at best.

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