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Clash of the Titans (Xbox 360) artwork

Clash of the Titans (Xbox 360) review


"Early in the game, after Hades has threatened the royal family of Argos, Perseus has to prove he's worthy to champion their cause. No big deal...until you realize that the other royal soldiers have a seemingly endless list of tasks that get repetitive in a hurry. You'll be running around the city killing monsters, then you'll be trying to outperform a pair of guards at monster-slaying in a set amount of time, then you'll be fighting off five or six guards in the arena...and then you'll be doing it all again, but with different monsters and guards. After enough of this, being told to find a fish for a hungry comrade seems exciting."



The inherent problem with games based on movies is simple. The average action flick lasts from 90 minutes to two hours, but most gamers would be outraged if they spent $40-50 for something where the credits rolled that quickly. This puts development teams in a bind, as they have to find ways to flesh out the movie content while keeping things interesting. It's a daunting task that many have attempted, but few have actually experienced success. With their adaptation of this year's remake of Clash of the Titans, Game Republic can be counted among the multitudes of developers who reached for the stars...and fell far short.

Based on a movie or not, Clash of the Titans had a two-ton gorilla on its shoulders from the beginning. A hack-and-slash action game based on characters from the ancient Greek legends? That puts it in direct comparison to the acclaimed God of War series right from the beginning and, let's face it, Clash doesn't put much effort into differentiating itself from those games. As Perseus, you'll be constantly massacring anything you see with your sword and a multitude of sub-weapons. After weakening most foes, you'll have the option of utilizing a Quick Time Event to REALLY kill them -- because what's the point of just hacking a scorpion to death when you can rip its tail off and claim it as one more sub-weapon for your inventory?

Clash of the Titans comes closest to greatness with this sub-weapon system. By QTE-killing enemies, you steal their weapons for your own use. However, Perseus must earn the ability to use them by filling a sub-weapon gauge by either smashing foes with his default sword or performing a special "soul seize" attack that's primarily effective on enemies that are near death. There is a lot of variety in these sub-weapons, which range from hammers, axes and bows to magical items (including an extremely handy healing spell). As a nice touch, you also can enhance them by collecting various materials from the bodies of monsters to give them additional power and improved attacks.

Unfortunately, after the early-game tutorial stuff, sub-weapons primarily become one of those under-utilized "I guess I COULD use one for fun..." elements. In the first couple of hours, you'll use a hammer to smash a boulder (and later, some statue monsters) and wield the dual swords to battle ghosts who seem immune to Perseus' default weapon. After you've gotten the hang of them? Well, the ghosts are recurring foes, there is a rarely-encountered type of enemy that only can be toppled by one sub-weapon or another and one particularly annoying boss spends half the battle far enough away that the only way you can deal damage is with projectile attacks. Other than those instances, I'd say the healing orb was the only one I considered important. Sure, others could be useful, but I found it easy enough to just hack away with the regular sword to fill the gauge, so I could always heal. The sub-weapon system was interesting, so I feel Game Republic squandered the opportunity to make them a more integral part of the game, which is a shame.

They didn't miss out on placing as much filler material as possible into Perseus' quest, though. Basically, most chapters of the game go like this: Perseus and company enter a region; someone gives the "before we can go on, we must do 'a', 'b', 'c', etc." spiel and you do a ton of short quests that all amount to killing a bunch of stuff until some objective has been reached. If someone wants a fish to eat, you'll be fighting through the swamps until you've found one. When the fish winds up poisonous, you'll be fighting through the swamps again until you've found healing herbs. I hope you don't think that simply stealing the magic eye from those creepy old witches will actually make them tell you how to kill Hades' pet kraken just like that. They each will send you on various killing sprees around their mountain home until you've proven you're worthy of their advice.

I can understand that to provide a somewhat lengthy quest, the designers had to add a bunch of stuff not in the movie, but in this game, it seems done in a lazy manner where there's no attempt to disguise you're doing busy-work. Early in the game, after Hades has threatened the royal family of Argos, Perseus has to prove he's worthy to champion their cause. No big deal...until you realize that the royal soldiers have a seemingly endless list of tasks that get repetitive in a hurry. You'll be running around the city killing monsters, then you'll be trying to outperform a pair of guards at monster-slaying in a set amount of time, then you'll be fighting off five or six guards in the arena...and then you'll be doing it all again, but with different monsters and guards. After enough of this, being told to find a fish for a hungry comrade seems exciting.

What most makes this game seem lazy, though, isn't the tacked-on quests, but the locations where Perseus will be doing them. The VAST majority of the game's missions take place in smallish (and often linear) outdoor regions. You'll get a quest, follow a path (fighting all the way) and get what you came for without having to worry about things like solving puzzles or simply using your brain. And then you do it again. And again. And again. Medusa's Temple was an exception to the rule, as was the cave of the Satyros. The former was a vast dungeon that took a while to navigate; while the latter at least had some basic elements of puzzle-solving, as you have to find and destroy eye-pillars to open doors. In both of those areas, it was fun getting to the boss. Especially compared to all the levels that just required Perseus to walk in a straight line until he ran into his quarry.

Clash of the Titans has its moments, but they come few and far between. For a guy like me, hack-and-slash games are inherently fun, but need to have something more than simply hacking and slashing. Take the original God of War. You'll be running around Athens and the surrounding countryside finding gruesome ways to kill minotaurs and harpies. Just as you might be starting to wonder if brutal slaughter is the only thing the game has to offer, you'll find Pandora's Temple -- a vast dungeon where brains might not be more important than brawn, but at least are a necessity. You'll still be committing mass genocide on monsters, but you'll also be dodging traps and solving puzzles to advance deeper and deeper into the vast building. Clash has nothing to compete with that (not even Medusa's Temple, which for all its virtues, still is essentially just a larger, less-linear version of any other place in the game). You kill, kill and kill more with the only interruptions being the occasional cutscene placed to tie the game to the movie's plot. For a decent part of the time I was playing Clash, I was having some degree of fun, but can't see it making its way back into my 360.

Rating: 4/10

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (August 13, 2010)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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CoarseDragon posted August 17, 2010:

Would you say this is an Action/RPG or just a plain old hack'n'slash?

Nice review of the game. You slammed it just enough to get the point across and not go overboard.

I might suggest re-working this sentence "Unfortunately, after the early-game tutorial stuff, for most of the game, sub-weapons primarily become one of those under-utilized "I guess I COULD use one for fun..." elements." to "Unfortunately, after the early-game tutorial stuff and for most of the game sub-weapons primarily become one of those under-utilized "I guess I COULD use one for fun..." elements." - just a bit easier to read.
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overdrive posted August 17, 2010:

Hack-n-slash. Comparable to God of War. There, you customized by using "experience" to power up the weapons you liked. Here, you customize by using enemy drops to power up the sub-weapons you like.


Yeah, that sentence is a bit bulky. I think I'll just hack a few words out of it, as I get kinda repetitive in what I'm saying there, which makes it overly wordy.
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CoarseDragon posted August 17, 2010:

Thanks for the update. To bad they botched the game I really liked the movie.

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