Bizarre Creations’ and Sega’s The Club’s single-level, single-character demo on the Xbox 360 delivers. It’s right around the corner, too – released in early February – so now’s the time to get excited.
The game’s concept appealed to me from the get-go. A third person shooter with shmup design values (replayability, enemy patterns) and a Project Gotham Racing approach of taking risks and adding style to your performance, The Club sounds like a game I will keep coming back to.
So you’re placed in a sort of gameshow, pitted against other luckless fellows, all fighting for their lives. Except you’re the star, much more capable than your opposition, and it’s your performance that’s being followed by the rich people financing the ordeal. Several desolate locations have been bought to function as your playground, littered with signs directing you and weapons to supplement you. The demo level is set in a prison. The enemies always come from the same positions, making it possible to learn the level and the best path you can take through it.
It’s the real-world environment and shameless videogame trappings which do it for me. There’s a nice contrast there. While the action looks realistic, it feels anything but. A Sega flavor comes through in a strong way, also in the way that it’s ultra-polished: exactly what you would expect from the Project Gotham team taking on a third person shooter.
The only problem I have is that the protagonist turns very slowly. I’m not sure if there’s a sensitivity setting somewhere, but this would benefit from speedier reactions. Partly because of this the melee options feel unconnected. Put some stronger music in there (another Sega thing, and something which Project Gotham Racing 4 got right) and you may have one of the best games of 2008 together.