Clash of the Titans
For: Playstation 3 and Xbox 360
From: Game Republic/Namco Bandai
ESRB Rating: Teen (blood and gore,
mild suggestive themes, violence)
By Billy O'Keefe
"Clash of the Titans'" dual multimedia failure began with Warner Bros.'s astounding ability to airball a dunk by failing, despite possessing all the technology money could buy, to remake a movie that actually made complete sense to remake.
With the video game, which fails to hold any candle whatsoever to the "God of War" games that took that original movie's premise and lifted it wholesale, the failure is now complete.
In fairness to game, it doesn't appear to have nearly the same budgetary freedom as the film. Most of "Titans'" storytelling takes place through the kind of static dialogue exchanges we expected from games 10 years ago, and most of those exchanges are bland even by those dated standards — more akin to receiving mission instructions in a "World of Warcraft" knockoff than playing out what's supposed to be mimicking a sweeping epic that "God of War" started retelling five years ago to exponentially more dazzling effect.
But the cheap feel hurts far more during the act of actually playing the game. Dated graphics and absolutely pulseless environmental design team up with a patchy level structure that requires players to constantly backtrack into static hub towns to accept new missions that rarely show any more imagination than the dull lands that host them.
As should be expected from any game built around hack-and-slash swordplay, most of "Titans'" missions boil down to some form of killing lots of enemies.
Unfortunately, on top of everything else, the combat feels entirely insufficient for being the centerpiece of the experience.
"Titans" flashes some nice enemy design variety over the course of the game, but individual missions regularly toss out the same enemies en masse, and most of them sport absurdly simple attack patterns and intelligence. The controls are responsive enough, but there's no tangible impact at all with even the strongest attacks, which makes hacking away at the same enemies ad nauseam completely unsatisfying.
Enemies regularly require far too many hits to defeat, which might be fine if they put up an exciting fight. But they don't, so it's just a matter of mashing buttons for entirely too long just to get through battles that endear no gratification whatsoever.
One thing "Titans" attempts with some success is to give players the ability to steal and, unlike most games, actually permanently keep enemy weapons. The number of takable weapons is pretty high at more than 80, and "Titans" lets players upgrade any of them as they progress.
But all these weapons and upgrades have to play nice with all that unsatisfying combat, and all that variety isn't nearly interesting enough to counter how dull the action overwhelmingly is. "Titans" is, at roughly 12-15 hours in length, at least twice as long as it should be even if it had better mechanics. Even the supremely polished "God of War" gets a bit old after eight hours or so, and "Titans" wears out its welcome roughly 10 times over by operating at such a low level by comparison.
(c) 2010, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.