The Club Review
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The Bottom Line: The Club may or may not resonate with you, it depends entirely on what type of gamer you are. If always trying to top the leaderboards, this is certaintly the title for you; if not, you may want to try it out before you buy.
- Fantastic visuals
- Customizable playlists
- Plethora of entertaining online modes
- Repetitive nature of the Tournament
- No headset support
- No stat tracking for online play
Welcome. You’re the newest participant in The Club, a secret underground organization that recruits outsiders to fight in an underground bloodsport. There is no escape, you must kill or be killed.
This sums up the entire plot of The Club, the latest creatively titled shooter from Bizzare Creations. Then again, playing this game for the story would be like eating a bird for its singing – entirely irrational. Instead of creating a compelling narrative, Bizarre sought to produce a unique experience by fusing high production values with arcade-style gameplay. The end result is undoubtedly enjoyable but marred by the downfalls of the arcade shooter genre.
There are eight playable combatants within The Club. From American gambling man Finn to Nemo, a psychopathic man from England who only lives to kill, there’s a little something for everyone in The Club. Kuro, a Japanese double-agent posing as a Triad Society assassin, is our personal favorite. Each character is rated on a one to five star scale regarding three different categories; stamina, strength and speed. They’re all fairly self-explanatory and make for a well balanced cast of characters. Once again, there’s somebody for everyone, it just depends on your play style and personal preferences.
The gameplay within The Club is fairly straightforward. Its combo-building and maintaining is generally unseen in full retail titles, typically relegated to downloadable games seen on the PlayStation Network or XBL Arcade. As you partake in any offline mode, you must sequentially kill enemies to build your Kill Bar -- a standard combo meter -- which then multiplies the value of each subsequent kill. Think Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with less skateboarding and more shooting. The higher your combo gets, the faster the bar diminishes. When the bar is gone, your combo will begin to “bleed.” If you aren’t able to procure a kill within the appropriate amount of time, your combo will “bleed out,” and you must begin another anew. It’s a fantastic feeling to build up a massive combo and preserve it throughout the entirety of a level.
The various values of a kill depend upon the aspects of the particular situation. The most basic and most imperative characteristic of a high kill value is time. Take too long between kills, and the worth will be dropped to nearly nil. On the other hand, kill two foes during the same second or even millisecond, and the value of the second kill will skyrocket. Everything else depends wholly on style. A head shot is worth more than a shot to the torso or foot, while consecutive head shots are rated even higher. Other maneuvers such as the death roll, coming out of a defensive roll and making an instant kill, or gatecrashing, busting through a door an making a quick kill, will gross you even higher scores. These and the other five stylish kill methods help add some depth to the central combo system. Finally, little skullshots are littered across the map, which you can shoot as an equivalent to killing an enemy - your Kill Bar will fill and increase by one.
Bizarre really nailed down The Club’s control scheme, as it fits the game surprisingly well. L2 zooms in on your crosshair, drawing the camera into the now-archetypal over-the-shoulder view, and R2 fires. R1 has your character sprint – an utterly essential function to succeed in this title, while L1 performs a rather underwhelming melee attack. The rest is fairly standard; reload your weapon with square, roll with X, throw grenades with circle, crouch with L3 and so on. The only true qualm we have with the controls is in regard to aim speed. Even at its highest setting, it still felt a tad too slow for us. Everything else is golden however.
The primary single player mode within The Club, Tournament, contains eight different environments, ranging from Venice to an Ocean Liner (a massive boat), each with six or so events tied to that particular arena. The purported five offline game modes are more accurately between four and two modes depending on how you look at them.
Sprint, Time Attack and Run the Gauntlet are the first three candidates. Sprint is ... (continued on next page)