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March 31, 2008
The Club - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
7/2/2008SegaSegaBizarre Creations1-42-8
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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The Club's graphics are impressive.
The shooter market these days is full of big-name releases. Killzone, Resistance, Gears of War, Halo, and many more are all names that any gamer is going to recognise. And while these titles all offer something of value and fun, they are the type of game that expects you to sit down and invest at least a decent portion of time into at each sitting. There are very few games in the genre that are truly 'pick-up-and-play' titles, where you can have a quick 5 minute level while you are waiting, then head off to work or wherever you are going. Herein lay the void which Bizarre Creations have tried to fill with their newest title, The Club. An arcade shooter focussed on quick runs through a level, we took this one for a test drive to give you our verdict.

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132 bullets ready to let fly!
First up, let's get the obvious weak point out of the way. As far as plot goes, The Club is about as coherent as a brick. Some group has basically persuaded (at gunpoint nonetheless) a group of 'contestants' to take part in a series of tournaments. Each tournament is made up of six events. The contestants must shoot their way through endless armies of random gun-toting enemies to score the big points, beat the clock, or make massive combos, in order to win the event. Think of it a bit like Fight Club... but with guns and prize money! It's a simple formula, and it works well enough to move the game along.

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Character design rocks too.
In these events, you will be playing a few different styles of game. Played in third-person, for the most part it comes down to one of two objectives. Either find the exit (timed or un-timed) or stay alive until time is up. Sounds easy enough... not quite as easy though when you have somewhere between 20 and 100 enemies, with weapons varying from pistols, to machine gun turrets, to rocket launchers, looking to put a piece of lead in your skull! In all events the focus becomes speed. Even when there is no timer, in order to keep your combo going, and thus multiply your scores but the multiplier, you must chain together kills. Too long without a kill and your multiplier will bleed back down to 1 and you'll have to start over. This is where the fun in The Club comes into play.

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Heading into danger outside.
After completing an event, you will more than likely think "Damn... I could have done so much better..." In fact, I challenge anyone who even remotely enjoys this game to not try and beat their own scores. Chances are, within a few minutes, you will be retrying the exact same challenge to try and out-do your last run. Memorizing the level, playing with what weapon, discovering hidden skullshots, and much more is the key to getting the big scores here, and it won't come on the first, second, fifth or even tenth run. Especially if you want to take on other gamers around the world and beat their score. You're really going to have to work at it. And therein lay the lasting appeal of The Club.

It's strange to think, but the games entire life is really focussed on how much you enjoy trying to beat a score. If you enjoy that thing, which most gamers do (being competitive in nature – a generalization), then The Club is probably going to take over your gaming life, at least for a short period.

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Keep on shooting!
Outside of the offline single player, there are also several multiplayer modes (both via split-screen and online). They are the standard affair with a deathmatch mode, a team deathmatch mode and a CTF variation. There is also one extra mode that deserves a mention in which one player is designated the ‘fox' and is the target of all other opposing players (either in a free-for-all or team environment), but also gets double points for each kill. It's a great mode that is a lot more fun than the others.

The Club is a lot of fun, which is good because it makes up for what is merely a decent package technically. The game looks nice enough but never really shines in any area. Levels look nicely detailed but don't stand out as amazing. Effects are appropriate, and animations are nice enough, but it's pretty much just another shooter as far as the graphics department goes. Don't get me wrong, it by no means looks bad, but it certainly isn't up to the standards of Unreal Tournament or any of the more recent games.

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YOu need more to reach the target score.
Unfortunately, this is also the case for sound, and I personally felt quite dissatisfied with the audio in The Club. The effects on the weapons in particular left me wanting much much more, and voice-acting is very cheesy (luckily there isn't a lot of it). For such an over-the-top action game, audio here is a very lacklustre affair and the game could certainly benefit from some more meaty effects.

The Club isn't going to win any big awards. It's not a spectacular game, and if you don't enjoy trying to out-do yourself, the game will last no more than a few hours. Nonetheless, there is something remarkably addictive about the game that will keep many gamers coming back time and time again. Unfortunately, given some of the big names that have just come out, and others soon to come, I dare say this title will slip into obscurity, but if you have a chance and some spare cash, pick it up and give it a go.

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

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GRAPHICSIt looks nice, but no better than every other decent looking game out there.
SOUNDSounds okay, but effects in particular could have used a bit more time in the oven.
GAMEPLAYLargely dependent upon your own gaming style, this could be awesome fun, or utterly pointless for you... we found it to be fun!
VALUEThe game is criminally short, but multiplayer is fun and those who enjoy the game will replay levels over and over to try and beat the scores.
OVERALLIt's a fun game. Arcadey, easy to pick up, and something refreshing, but it's not particularly awe-inspiring. Give it a rent if you're unsure.

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