It’s tough to review a game like Clan of Champions. On the one hand, I am always open to trying out new games that I am unfamiliar with, so I was looking forward to checking out this game that I had never heard of. On the other hand, I’m often reminded of why these “under the radar” game often fail to impress.
Clan of Champions isn’t a terrible game by any means…it’s just not particularly interesting. The setting is something that should, in theory, capture peoples interests; it is set in a fantasy/gladiator-esque environment that is high on violence. But despite the interesting setting, CoC mostly falls flat.
First, the good points. For those that like online competitive multiplayer (in this case, 3 vs 3), CoC is for you. Even though it has a single player mode, it’s basically the same game as the multiplayer, just with AI bots as your “team” instead of another live player. For those who like character customization, this game is for you. You can customize nearly every aspect of your character, from their appearance and weapons to their skills.
The battle system has some interesting concepts as well. Perhaps the coolest aspect of the game is the fact that you can change your gear mid-battle by stripping off of your foe’s dead bodies. During the first few missions, this is no more than a gimmick; a way to snag a new weapon or change your character’s appearance. However, as you progress through the game and each stage gets longer and longer, swapping out gear will become essential. Your weapons and armor take damage throughout battle. In fact, it’s pretty cool to be knee deep in swordplay and watch as your helmet gets knocked off your head (or your enemy’s).
The way your character progresses in their mastery of certain weapons is also a fairly addictive aspect of the game. Do you choose to remain with the same weapon level after level? Doing so has its benefits as the more you use the same type of weapon, the more proficient and deadly you become. However, going with different weapons gives you a chance to try more out, perhaps finding yourself a new favorite. It also gives the game a tad bit more diversity, which unfortunately, is something CoC needs.
Take a step back though, and you’ll quickly realize that all these pieces of the game that I found interesting are really nothing new. This is not to say that every new game needs to be revolutionary; it’s just that all the above mentioned points have been done in other games…usually to a better implemented degree. At the root of CoC is the fact that the game simply isn’t very interesting. It has an interesting setting, but no real plot or storyline to speak of. Your characters are disposable; you never get attached to any of them. This is, unfortunately, a side effect of the multiplayer-centric nature of the game.
Graphically, the game doesn’t really raise the bar too much. The environments look ok; they get the job done but definitely aren’t something you would be impressed with. The textures on the walls and ground are flat, and even in passing, you can see that they are muddled and not very detailed. The characters fare somewhat better, but the models aren’t really something you would want to see in a current gen game. One of the saving graces on the graphical front are the blood effects. They splatter and spray in a very gory, convincing manner, something that’s good to see in a gladiator/arena battle game.
[quote_left]Thankfully, adding a few live friends makes things a lot more fun, though I suspect that’s more due to the fact that you have actual humans to play with rather than the game itself[/quote_left].The animations are stiff as well, with characters repeating many of the same moves, and running around with no real fluidity. Some of the moves happen too quickly; a combat roll, for instance, occurs in the blink of an eye. It looks strange, almost like a few animation frames were skipped; it’s hard to explain.
The actual combat itself can be fun at first, but quickly turns into an exercise of repetition. I played a PC copy of the game, and it quickly turned into a LMB click-fest. Sure you have different attacks with each of the mouse buttons, and hitting “Q”, for example, performs a dash attack, but what’s the point in using all these different moves if you can just hack away at your enemy until he/she dies? Then, you loot your opponent’s body for new weapons and armor, and repeat the process.
To be fair, however, having some other people to play with/against adds an extra dimension of strategy, and playing in a 3 vs 3 fight to the death can actually be quite interesting. Yes, it’s still a click-fest, but at least you aren’t slicing through mindless AI bots all day, right? Unfortunately, the servers were really wonky during my time with the game, and I rarely was able to connect.
In the end, Clan of Champions is not really something you should expect a deep, time consuming, or dare I say, even fun experience. Multiplayer offers a bit of fun, but as single player effort, CoC is simply too repetitive and doesn’t offer enough variety to hold my interests.