Clan of Champions is actually the third game in a series of Gladiator games by developer Acquire. Released recently on Steam for PC, and now available for Playstation 3 on PSN, Clan of Champions is an arena-based fighting game where 3 vs 3 battles occur.
The game is based on RPG elements where your champion’s skills level during combat. Before you can enter the arena and fight for your cause, you must create a champion from one of the three available races - Human, Elf or Orc. The creation process allows for some flexibility.
You can choose from different voices, faces, hair, and whether your Champion has tattoos or not. Most of the custom choices have three different variations. Once the aesthetics of your champion are complete, you are given ten bonus points to increase your combatant’s abilities. These points can be used to increase strength, vitality, and agility, among others.
Your champion can specialize in three different talents. Depending on your play style, you can choose to specialize in sword and shield, dual wielding or close combat (which are brass spike knuckles). Talents gain experience and eventually level after battles. Skills and spells are gained during the leveling process and then assigned to the directional pad for easy access. Skills range from combos to powerful blows that can disarm your foes. Spells level up slowly, but they are powerful and can easily kill an enemy quickly.
Single-player combat is 3 versus 3 with two NPCs supporting the player. Combat is arcade-like and contains a high degree of difficulty. Enemy champions increase in strength as they replace fallen comrades in the arena. They will even team up against your champion if he’s severely injured. Enemy AI is competent; weakened opponents will avoid confrontation and pick up additional weapons from fallen NPCs to protect themselves. They will also run around the arena to avoid being killed.
Your champion’s fighting style varies based on the equipment he is carrying. If you specialize in dual-wielding and decide to use a shield, your attacks and special skills will change. It will also affect the amount of damage you can inflict on your foes. And since you can target your enemy’s helmet and armor to expose their weak points, you need to make sure you are dealing as much damage as possible.
The controls respond well as you do battle against the NPCs. You can easily dodge your enemy’s attacks by tapping the Left Analog stick in the desired direction and pressing Circle button. Blocking is a double-edged sword (no pun intended). While it does block incoming attacks, it weakens your grip on your weapons. It can also cause your armor to fall off.
Any armor or weapons that drop during combat can be equipped to protect your champion. Once the match ends, any items found inside the arena are taken from your possession and placed inside a temporary shop menu. Since gold is earned for surviving, you can repurchase the same items or select from a large list of additional gear. This is Clan of Champions’ only flaw. The player should be able to keep whatever is recovered from the arena.
Clan of Champions uses a free-roaming camera that is controlled by the player. When an enemy moves out of view, the camera can be re-centered by pressing the L3 button. The camera system works surprisingly well. While some games have felt clunky and unrefined while using a free-roaming camera system, Clan of Champions does not.
Once a match has ended, an option menu with multiple menus appears. This menu system allows the player to equip gear, create new champions, edit an existing one, and save in-game progress. The ‘Status’ menu is used to view your champion’s equipment, upgrade existing combat skills, and to view stats. The ‘Mission’ menu includes a variety of options from single-player and online team domestic matches to team worldwide and versus worldwide.
The ‘City Hall’ menu contains a shop to purchase items, Ranking Boards to view the best online player rankings, and a feature to create or join an online clan. The only problem with Clan of Champions is that its online community is nonexistent. It’s a shame since this game has the potential to be competitive online.
Despite some of the gripes mentioned, Clan of Champions is still worth owning. The single-player campaign has enough content to help the game stand on its own and there is enough flexibility to produce some truly unique champions. If you like your games bloody with plenty of non-stop action, Clan of Champions by NIS America will deliver.
Platform: Playstation 3 (Available on PSN)
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB: M (Mature)
|Detailed arenas and character models.|
|Average sound effects and music.|
|Incredible combat and challenging battles.|
|Despite the lack of an online community, Clan of Champions is still a solid arcade fighter with an entertaining single-player campaign.|