Sunday, 25 November 2012

Eternity of Playing...

I, rather obviously, am a Doctor Who fan... so of course I'm going to get the latest Doctor Who game, The Eternity Clock.

What a horrible, horrible game.

Originally this was a console game on PlayStation, but now it is on the PC. I'm not sure if this was designed as both console and PC or was a port... but I sort of hope it was a port because that would somewhat explain how bad it is... although it was bad on the PSN, so maybe not.

So far, I have only managed... I'm guessing a fifth of the game (collected first of four parts and there would be something to do with them). And sunk over two hours into it. The set up so far is that... oh, I can't remember now. Some stupid time thing brought the Doctor to present day London where there is a Cybermen invasion. River is roped in to help, and so the two of them run around defeating them.

First problem: bad controls. You only move left and right, with your item (sonic screwdriver or blaster) controlled with the mouse. And one button to use everything. Which is the start of the frustration. The one button is context sensitive, which means, in a very tight section, pressing it helps the other people to get up, and also uses the other person's help to get up. Only if you press it to early, you bend down to help, then need to unbend so you can grab their hand... it's more irritating that I can express right now.

As well as running about, there are puzzles. Small mini-games which are not intuitive, and quite a few of them I solve more by luck that design. Because timing is VERY crucial. The rest of the level doesn't stop for you to solve it. And, more stupidly, it doesn't stop while you look at the tutorial.

And then there is the AI. While running, the companion might leap to save time, or climb down, or go the wrong way entirely.

This all culminates in one section, which stopped me for a while and made me go away (and stopped someone else entirely) where you need to run and jump and solve a puzzle. In a very limited time frame. And the puzzle is at the beginning. If you take too long to solve it, you can't get to the other end in time, only you only know you don't have enough time once you've gotten there. And this combines with AI pathing and context sensitive buttons, to make this one of the most screamingly awful examples of game play I have ever had to suffer through.

(I don't know what the two player mode is like. I'm thinking either you watch the other player when only one character is doing something, or if you see what you are doing while they see their section. Either way, this is time spent not doing things with the other person, which seems antithetical to the co-operative play this game is wanting to promote. And it only looks to be local, not over network. Hey, another missed opportunity for co-operative fun! And I'm not sure how there is enough screen to see both buttons in some cases.)

And finally, the game crashes, and Steam won't register any achievements.

I still want to continue, out of sheer bloody-minded-ness, but I'm not enjoying it.


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