Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition Review
Xbox 360 | PC
Zeno Clash box art
System: X360, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: ACE Team 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Atlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 5, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Making matters worse, each gun only holds a handful of bullets before you have to reload, and, for the pièce de résistance, your weapons can be knocked out of your hands. It's just as well, I guess, since almost all of the guns, save for a grenade launcher, do almost no damage to the thick-skinned freaks you'll be fighting, and in the later levels there's too many of them to effectively use non-melee weapons anyway. This doesn't add up to very deep or interesting combat, which, while balanced, more or less just boils down to the same few moves repeated over and over.

Zeno Clash screenshot

There are a few levels where the developers tried to give you a break, such as a scripted scene where you shoot rock-throwing creatures from a boat as it moves towards your destination, as well as the occasional boss battle. But for the most part, Zeno Clash's gameplay is a one-trick pony, and it gets old pretty quickly. In every level, Ghat and Deadra find some obstacle and things start attacking you, and when you kill them you either move on to the next set or the level ends.

It's not particularly helpful either that the developers were going for such ambiguity within the world they created. I get it-the strange and creep-tastic world of Zeno Clash is simply the way it is, with no explanation given and none needed. But even if I could enjoy its horribly deranged visuals, the developers didn't give any reason why we should care about Ghat, Deadra, or anything that happens in the game. Hell, the script is so unclear and barebones that half the time I didn't even know what was going on as I wandered from one surreal environ to the next.

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The use of flashbacks that slowly unravel the reasoning behind Ghat killing Father-Mother barely offer any explanation at all until the end, and when you do find out just what's going on, the end of Zeno Clash's lackluster narrative can't justify the journey its taken you on. Zeno Clash's world may just seem like oddity for the sake of oddity, but when it all comes together, you'll likely wish you had never been bothered by what answers it held in the first place. And, as far as gameplay is concerned, its construction might be solid but leaves little imagination-or fun-to be had. Honestly, I don't know how anyone in their right mind would actually enjoy playing this game, let alone paying fifteen dollars for it. Indie cred, it seems, isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Visuals are quite pretty, which given the horrid aesthetic direction, is actually kind of a detriment.
3.5
Control
Hand-to-hand brawling, melee, and weaponry are all handled with just a few buttons, but there's no jump.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Tracks are either forgettable or weird enough to blend in with the rest of the game's rampant oddity. Voice work is pretty decent, if a bit scary at times, while beating someone black and blue sounds satisfying.
2.0
Play Value
The brawling gets old fast and the game's design isn't conducive to using guns, making for some boring, linear gameplay, The lackluster narrative doesn't help.
2.0
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Takes first-person games in a seldom seen direction with hand-to-hand combat.
  • Multiple modes of play, including time attack and co-op.
  • Journey through a bizarre, grotesque world.


  • Screenshots / Images
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