Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Doctor Who - The Eternity Clock

I'm no ‘Whovian’. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched the series, but I often get repelled by some of the more outlandish plotlines, or Dr Who’s easy way with the inherent rules of space and time – Stephen Hawking won’t be happy. That said, I am a sucker for a puzzle game, and luckily The Eternity Clock ticks that box.

Putting the gamer in the shiny shoes of the latest Doctor – played by current BBC actor Matt Smith – and his female side-kick/lover/wife/companion Dr River Song – The Eternity Clock starts out the way of all Doctor Who episodes – utterly confusing.

The TARDIS is flipping end-over-end in some sort of timestorm, and the Doctor finds himself flung into the Bank of England in the present day. Beforelong he discovers a plot by old-time opponents the Cybermen, alongside other famous monsters including the Daleks and the Silurians, and finds himself taking on the mysterious Eternity Clock.

The plot’s actually not bad, and with the voice-actors from the BBC show reprising their roles, the snappy dialogue is sure to bring a smile to any fan’s face.

The majority of the game features the Doctor and River running around a variety of times, spaces and planets, unraveling the mystery of the Eternity Clock through solving puzzles, platforming, teamwork and clever quips.

As a singleplayer game The Eternity Clock can be a little boring, with one player having to do all the work, alongside a fairly dumb AI controlling the Doctor or River – but get another player on the split-screen or online and the title comes to life – this is a game designed to be played with friends.
The puzzles the game throws at you between bouts of out-running armies of Cybermen are a mixed bunch, with several difficulty levels available for both hardcore gamers and the game’s target audience – kids.

Some test your reflexes and mental arithmetic, others your patience and outside-the-box thinking.
The action scenes are the weaker aspect of the game, however, and aren’t helped by the clunky controls.

They’re also not helped by the 3D-background, 2D viewpoint style of the game, which is often a little jarring to the eye, and can result in the Doctor and River trying to zap enemies while flinging their arms arms around like Stretch Armstrong.
The graphics are also pretty shoddy, with rough textures abundant, despite some of the clever platforming challenges the game serves up. The game’s characters also don’t move their mouths when talking, and run like they’re trying to hurdle a Mini Cooper with every step. The Doctor is also astonishingly spry for a centuries-old alien, acting more like the Prince of Persia than a Timelord.
That said, the voice acting and scriptwriting is excellent, and had me chuckling throughout the whole game. This is one for a bigtime Who fan or a young gamer – there’s no hardcore challenge to be had here.

Reviewed on PS3