Yesterday, our European brethren across the pond received a nice gift in the form of a surprise demo on the European PlayStation Network Store. The game? Sega published and Bizarre Creations developed third person shooter known as The Club. I downloaded the 1.7 GB monster of a demo and played around with it for an hour or so. Here are some of my impressions. The Club’s premise is rather simple; you are one of eight characters from across the globe, who has to kill his way through various events and locales. I am sure the premise has some resemblance to a movie or another.
Each character’s statistics, strength, stamina and speed, differ from one another offering players enough combinations to suit their play styles. Unfortunately, I cannot tell if these stats make a significant difference or not since the demo only offers one character, Dragov, the tough Russian who apparently lacks in the speed department.If you are seeing glimpses of Street Fighter’s Zangief, you are not mistaken; even the character select screen resembles Capcom’s 2-D fighter.
Once Dragov was selected, an event selection screen appears with two playable events, “Time Attack” and “Target Score”. Project Gotham Racing event similarities are not completely off base here. Time Attack has the player running laps on a course and accumulating time bonuses while Target Score has the player moving from point A to point B while accumulating enough points to meet the “Target Score”.
Methods of mayhem include melee, grenade throwing and the typical cornucopia of weapons. The third person run and gun reminds me of Freedom Fighters style with a couple of twists such as sprinting and the absence of jumping. The weapon pickups themselves, while varied in appearance, feel similar from one to another. I am sure their subtle differences will become essential for hardcore players though.
Straight killing is usually not enough in The Club. Much like Project Gotham Racing, The Club asks the player to perform their tasks with precision, speed and stylishly. The only difference between the two games is that The Club involves killing instead of driving. Points are rewarded for every kill, but depending on where the enemy was hit, the type of weapon used and a number of other factors, the points accumulated differ.
It would not be a Bizarre Creation game if combo multipliers did not make an appearance. Combo multipliers are rewarded for speedy kills. Keeping these multipliers requires filling the combo meter by stringing kills within a time frame. Aside from human targets, there are different signs littered all over each event which increase give time bonuses or replenish kill meters.
Multiplayer wise, the demo offered only one of the eight modes penned for the full retail version. “Hunter Hunted” has a rather interesting mechanic where whoever gets the first kill becomes the “Hunted” and begins accumulating points until he is killed by another player. Essentially, whoever kills the “Hunted” begins to accumulate points and has to take on the rest of the server without the aid of radar. My brother and I played a round of it via local split screen, however without the numbers, not much fun was had.
Visually, The Club was fine; it looked good overall with splashes of great texture work and lighting here and there. The framerate was silky smooth as well. Audio wise, The Club could use a shot in the arm. Controls were functional, but I sincerely hope players can remap the bumpers and triggers to their liking; the SIXAXIS is not an XBOX 360 controller despite its similar button configuration, Bizarre.
I enjoyed The Club. It was a fun “easy to pickup, hard to master type” of game. The multiplayer mode was amusing from what I played, but I can see it being a blast with friends. I welcome Bizarre Creations’ “arcadey” game, but I will not welcome it if Sega releases it with an MSRP of $59.99 CAD. While playing the game, I could not help, but wish for this game to be a PSN downloadable title between ranging between $29.99 and $39.99 CAD. In the end, I found The Club demo to be enjoyable, and well worth checking out. Go download it if you have PS3 and European PSN account. Who knows? Perhaps you will find that $59.99 CAD value in The Club.
For more information about The Club, check out the official site.
For footage from the demo, check out the videos below courteousy of Gametrailers:
Time Attack Gameplay
Target Score Gameplay