Bizarre Creations are best known for their work on the much acclaimed Project Gotham Racing series. Although Bizarre’s newest creation is certainly racing, its not racing in the traditional sense. The Club is a very different kind of shooter, and Bizarre have really gone out on a limb to create something that is different yet still works as a shooter. As we were tantalised with a demo we really were eager to get started with the final version of this game to see if it would live up to expectations.
The Club is loosely driven by a story about an underground ‘fight club’ where combatants from around the world face off with weapons to win matches and tournaments in time and score based death matches. The characters you have at your disposal are colourful, to say the least, and each will play and react differently with emphasis on different areas. Some players will be more speed based, and some will be tanks being able to take far more hits. This has a strong impact on your performance in tournaments, and finding the character which suits your playing style is vital.
In The Club your score is clocked up by performing style kills. Head shots will net you more points than a standard body shot, and with each kill you will push your combo meter even higher. This will multiply the score you receive for each kill, but as you romp through the level your combo will constantly be receding unless you actively push it continually higher by making kills, and hitting special artifacts hidden around the level. Special score moves such as "last bullet", where your final bullet makes a kill, or "ric-o-slay" where you make a kill by ricocheting a bullet around a corner really spice things up and help push your score even higher. This forces you to play fast, stringing together kills and constantly on the move. Initially this can be disheartening as it is a big move from the usual shooters with cover systems and the like, but it won’t take too long until you are winning tournaments and matches and feeling pretty darn smug.
Different game modes challenge you in very different ways. The focus is on tournaments where you play offline against the AI opponents, each of you trying to net the biggest score. This is where the different skills that the characters have come into a league of their own. One character may be super fast in the time trial type mode, where you have to pick up ‘clocks’ and make kills to extend your time to get to the finish. Your tank character may be super strong and hold out easier in the siege game mode, where you defend a location for a designated amount of time against hordes of enemies. Or simply sprint where you make it to the level exit and collect as many points as possible.