Review: Clan of Champions

The folk at NIS America bring Acquire’s Playstation 3 gladiator bout to the west—for PC!

Clan of Champions is a title I’m having great trouble reviewing for the most unfortunate reason: I loathe writing bad reviews. Not only do I feel uninspired while doing so, as someone with familial ties to the game industry I understand that somewhere out there someone worked hard to grind this game into being. That considered, I’m here as a despotic game journo-blogger: not as a human being.

Fortunately, Clan of Champions is mercifully short and merciful in its paltry sum of features for addressing.

You’ll begin the game by creating your character: choose from a human, elf or orc. Typically, I would choose to play a female elf, here. I chose not to as the female elves look more like men with muscular bosoms than female elves. Instead, I went with the meanest, most scowling orc I could and suited up.

The core of the game—nearly the whole of the game—is found in small arena-type areas which, with very few exceptions, are depicted as the causeways and courtyards within crenelation-crowned keeps. Here, you’ll employ one of four fighting styles: sword-and-board, dual wielding, unarmed combat or sorcery. Your choice makes little difference, though, as you’ll find yourself pummeling enemies—activating skills along the way—until their armor falls off and you’re able to really bring the hurt, or you get in a lucky blow.

I suppose that brings me to the two of three points of quasi-praise, or let’s-look-for-something-nice-to-say triumphs. The controls used for attacking are neat in that left-click activates a high blow, scrolling the mouse wheel activates a torso attack, and right-clicking will strike low. Stringing them together in combos is incredibly fluid. Playing an orc, I thought brutality would be fitting, so I found myself wearing a pair of menacing gauntlets. The combo system made for some vicious boxing. Following that thought, the animations for battle skills are well-animated.

This is problematic, however, due to every level being anywhere from three to approximately ten enemies coming in waves of three or four. That’s it. You’re pummeling, pummeling, pummeling and perhaps throwing a spell or two if that strikes your thaumaturgic fancy. Then you’re done.

Beyond that, there is a very basic system of upgrading your armor by sacrificing armor found on the battlefield between matches. There are a brief few sentences of background to each battle that are frankly not worth reading.

Multi-player modes do exist: 3v3 and three-player cooperative. But I can scarcely see the addition of human players suddenly turning around what is a very humdrum experience.

I’d like to note here that, while I don’t think NISA chose the best PC game, what they’re doing with the titles they localize is commendable; Clan of Champions marks their second PC title (Cladun X2 being their first), and I think it’s a great practice to release titles on PC. We could use more of their normal fare on PCs.

Regretfully, I cannot recommend Clan of Champions to anyone. It’s quickly hackneyed, uninspired and incredibly one-dimensional.