The Club

Publisher: Sega
Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PlayStation 3, PC
UK Price (as reviewed): £32.99 (inc. Delivery)
US Price (as reviewed): $58.99 (excl. Tax)

Things I’m tired of this month: super addictive games which have distressingly effective easy-to-play, impossible-to master mechanics.

Why? Because between Burnout Paradise and Rez HD, I’m just running out of games I can devote my time to.

Regardless, The Club has landed.

Created by Bizarre Creations—the makers of Project Gotham RacingThe Club is a radical change of pace for the developer. Third person shooters and Gears clones may be commonplace for other developers, but for Bizarre it’s something wholly unexpected – though insiders tell me that was part of the point.

The Club is a game which is actually hard to pin down to any specific pigeonhole. It’s a third person shooter but the focus on combos and speed makes it more like a racing game or a sports simulation. I suppose there’s something to be said for not making them like they used to after all.

The Club
Click to enlarge

So, this is an arcade-racer-shooter and it’s rapidly devouring what remains of my free time. Let me tell you why.

No Trainers

The premise of the The Club is so fundamentally simple that it may as well be completely absent, but we’ll give you the keynotes regardless. The idea behind The Club is that the world’s mega-rich elite have banded together and kidnapped some of the most dangerous men on the planet.

Why? So these men can be pitted against one another in a deadly to-the-death tournament for the amusement of the club organisers. Obviously.

Each man has his own backstory and reasons for either wanting or not wanting to be in the fight but, to be honest, it isn’t important at all. If you’re looking for a game with a gripping story or emotional tear jerkers then look elsewhere – Beyond Good and Evil this isn’t.

The Club
Click to enlarge

So, while I could tell you that Kuro is actually a deep-cover agent trying to infiltrate The Club and that Finn is a down on his luck gambler desperately trying to win his freedom – there isn’t much of a point. The character biographies are there only really to give a flavour to the characters and aren’t really important at all.

What is important about the characters though is that there’s a choice. Each of them has a different set of attributes, from Dragov the slow but strong Russian, to Renwick the balanced American ex-cop who tried too hard to investigate The Club.

As you can tell – gameplay is what matters in The Club, not plot complexity or the detail of the exposition. In fact, the brevity of the character biographies in combination with the tournament framework helps make the game feel more like a beat-em-up than anything else. It’s short, to the point and, from the player’s point of view, more about unlocking new arenas and mastering the simple mechanics than it is about anything else.
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