Game-A-Week: Zeno Clash

Title: Zeno Clash

The Gist: The bizarre story involves a man…erm if he’s a man…travelling with a girl and running away from his family who are all out to kill him. The reason for his family trying to kill him…well you’ll spend the game trying to find out. You tell your story to your companion by playing through it, fighting opponents that look like they’ve come out of an episode of power rangers on drugs. The game mainly consists of first person punch-ups spliced with a few cinematics and a little exploring.

Pros: the game is unique I’ll give it that, this is probably one of the most bizarre uses for the source engine to date. The fighting mechanic, whilst a little difficult to get to grips with at first, ends up being quite fluid and even rewarding as you pummel your opponents one by one. The characters are truly unique; you’ll come across a guy who merely walks forwards crushing anything in his path…”because that’s what he does”. The character you play as and his companion are a curious pair, sprouting truly unique hairstyles…some possibly involving bones! I’m aware of the frequency of the word ‘unique’ in this review but…seriously just see it for yourself o.O

Cons: The game feels a little too bizarre at times where you end up just asking yourself what the hell you’re playing. Whilst I like the bizzaro world and its characters I’d perhaps like a little more information on what the hell is going on as I didn’t get much of an explanation in the first hour and I really doubt I’ll come away with anything more than further questions if I continue onwards. The inclusion of weapons in this game seems a bit of a last minute idea, the guns themselves fall out of your hands more often than you get the chance to fire them and even when they do hit they don’t do nearly enough damage to justify using them. I’d rather the game kept to a hand to hand only, guns are too common these days anyway; just ask Gordon Freeman’s chiropractor, that arsenal of weapons didn’t do Gordon’s back any favours you know. Using a keyboard for the later parts of the game just seems silly, there are too many combos to effectively fight and I really wish I’d plugged in my gamepad, only reason I didn’t in the first place is because I figured this was going to be a little more Half Life and a little less Street Fighter.

Musical Note: The music like the game itself is again unique, accenting the craziness of the game whilst giving it some energetic tracks to fight alongside.

Huger Level: I don’t know if I liked the game that much but somehow I still want to play more, and I just might. I can’t see this game lasting too long game play wise so perhaps I should load it up again and see what the hell it’s all about.

Conclusion: Again just truly bizarre. It has its good points and it’s bad, but really is unique in its combat and its storytelling. Really its fun knocking your opponent to the ground but you should remember that old saying kick em whilst they’re down cos if you don’t…well they’ll be using that technique on you! The game also comes with some goodies for Gary’s mod so you can shoot the people you encounter in this game with some real weaponry if you like. Overall I’m really not sure what the game is trying to be, at times I think it’s trying to make a first person fighter, and at other times an FPS with occasional fist fights. Its base price isn’t so cheap so perhaps best to wait till it’s on sale, but if you were looking for something unique to play this is definitely something you should pick up next time it’s on sale. Again…really bizarre game, unique in fact.

“One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-A-Week’ @ Black Vinculum”

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