Nippon Ichi have created fun and interesting role playing game experiences this year including Legasista and Mugen Souls but Clan of Champions falls short of the high caliber of work that NIS have previously conducted – Clan of Champions unfortunately is uninspired, repetitive and is flat out, one of the worst PSN titles to ever be released in 2012.
Clan of Champions focuses on gladiator battles being fought in a variety of coliseums and Romanesque areas. Throughout the game, you can collect helmets, weapons and armor. This is a great premise but repetitiveness begins to sink in as you realize that Clan of Champions is mind-numbingly monotonous. Over and over again, you will be swinging your weapon at the enemy as the same annoying grunting sound repeats. What also is annoying about the game is that the AI characters block the pathway that enemies follow so the action doesn’t pick up until they decide to move out of the way. A cool aspect of Clan of Champions, however, is the detachment of weapons and armor by disarming or pummeling an enemy. This adds a real sense of a gladiator battle and the enemy AI is actually clever at this point, as they attempt to reclaim their lost equipment. Players/AI can also grab the armor that fallen gladiators had on before.
Despite the repetitive nature of Clan of Champions, there are plenty of missions to complete in the game with an arrangement of difficulty levels to suit your tastes. NIS also included an online feature to Clan of Champions but within the first week of it’s release, I was unable to connect to any games and not been able to ever since . This is strictly a single player affair unless you have friends to play this with, which is highly unlikely due to the lack of hype behind it.
What Clan of Champions also has a lack of is attention to it’s presentation and graphics. Before, we have forgiven PlayStation Network titles for having terrible graphics but in the past two years, we have seen some of the best graphics on the PlayStation platform so far with games such as Journey and Trine 2 but Clan of Champions falls short in comparison to these impeccable releases of past PSN titles and there is no excuse anymore for PSN . Clan of Champions is a bland last generation looking game with old fashioned ways of menu design and in game presentation. The menus are difficult to navigate through, the key buttons displayed on the bottom of the screen are hard to read and overall the game’s main menu is just unpleasant to look at with your horribly rendered character in the middle of the screen.
The main menu is unpleasant to look at but the music is just as terrible. With an awful high pitched voice and low budget instruments in the background, it just shows that Clan of Champions is only an after-thought to games like Legasista. The music doesn’t stand out from the hideous (and frustrating) grunts of your character using the same move over and over again. Plus, the sound effects as you select an option on the menu sound as if it’s in a low quality PlayStation 1 sound bite.
With no community to speak of, repetitive gameplay, and terrible sound design, Clan of Champions is not recommended to anyone including Nippon Ichi fans. It had promise but nothing more so it is saddening to see such a great idea fall by the wayside. If you want a good action RPG on the PlayStation Network with tons of charm rather than bland menial gameplay, try the previously released Legasista instead.
A review copy of Clan of Champions was provided by NIS America.