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Review: Clash of the Titans

Justin McElroy

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I played the video game version of Clash of the Titans for around seven hours and, according to the game, have finished 31 percent of it.

This would usually be unsatisfactory for a review, but in much the same way you'd only need to poll a small percentage of the population before you could confidently say that no one likes seeing immediate family members hit in the face with a ball-peen hammer, I feel like I've pretty much got the lay of the land here.

This is a very bad game.

Gallery: Clash of the Titans | 65 Photos

Clash of the Titans is about Zeus' son waging war on gods and titans, driven all the while by his fury at the death of his earthbound family. It takes a pretty Herculean (ba-zing!) effort to forget that three immensely better games have been made with this exact premise, but let's do our best to put Kratos on a shelf for the moment, eh? Perseus doesn't want the comparison and, besides, CotT's combat doesn't need any help looking utterly uninspired.

Perseus pounds on monsters with the usual blend of strong and light attacks chained into combos blah blah blah, so let's skip over that and straight to the only part anyone put any work into at all: the sub-weapon system.

In addition to his sword, Perseus collects 80 different sub-weapons from the monsters he battles, and they're divided into 10 or so categories like typical swords and axes, plus some more creative ones like stones that add fire to attacks. To get these weapons you'll have to perform a "Sub-Weapon Seize," which is really just a two-to-three-button QTE initiated when the enemy is injured, accompanied by a slo-mo kill animation.

It's open world only in the sense that I wish the world would open and swallow it whole.

This is all fine until you have to upgrade these weapons, which you can only do by performing more Sub-Weapon Seize moves on enemies using the same weapons, meaning you'll be watching the same kill animations over and over and over and over and over. Plus, some enemies are only really vulnerable to certain weapon types, so you'll be constantly dipping back into the clunky menu to swap weapons into the four quickslots on the D-pad. The sub-weapon system quickly devolves from mildly interesting to chore and it's the best part of the game.

If you're not in love with the combat, well, that's just tough, because that's all there is. Every mission is just a thinly veiled excuse to go from A to B, killing all the dudes. In one mission, I had to find seven special seeds to kill a sandworm. How did I achieve this? Well, naturally, I found seven special flowers and killed the shit out of them. On another occasion, I had to impress fellow soldiers with my fishing prowess. Considering myself something of an expert on fishing mini games, I was excited, until I killed my way to a small sparkle that apparently denoted a fishing spot and was rewarded with a picture of a fish. Man, at least Nier showed up, you know?

This picture of Medusa is actually from the 1981 version of the movie, but I find her expression wholly appropriate for this review.

At this point, I wish I could say "everything else is bad" and just be done with it, but I feel like that wouldn't be fair to ... somebody. The writing and dialog is so pedestrian that I had trouble remembering what the beginning of sentences were about by the end of them. The level design couldn't be more bland. Characters look like they were created for a Sims machinima about ancient Greece. Every mission goes on too long. Even though you very rarely have a choice of which mission to accept next, you're forced into a lifeless hubworld after completing every one to artificially make it seem less linear. It's open world only in the sense that I wish the world would open and swallow it whole.

The most confounding aspect of Clash of the Titans is that WB and Namco Bandai had the gall to release it at full price, which is just begging for the ire of critics and consumers alike. Putting a $60 price tag on this dud is tantamount to Charlotte spinning a web above her beloved pig friend Wilbur reading "Holy Jesus, This Pig Is Delicious," somehow believing the world would be better for the slaughter.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of Clash of the Titans, purchased by the reviewer. It was played for seven hours, but not to completion.

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