|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.
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.
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.
CCC Freelance Writer