|Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock|
|Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: BBC Worldwide Digital Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: 1 player, 2 player co-op
Let me just say that on paper Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock sounds great—supposedly an 'interactive episode' featuring voiceovers from the actual cast and a host of familiar enemies (including both Daleks and Cybermen!) plus a couple of new ones, but sadly something is terribly amiss… It starts promisingly enough, with some slick BBC presentation and the familiar theme music, followed by the traditional 'Oh No! Something's gone wrong with the TARDIS and it's going to crash in a random time and place', which as per usual lands you in present-day London. Unfortunately, the Doctor is alone in the TARDIS; no Rory and Amy in this episode, which instantly takes away much of the spirit of the show. The appearance and animation of The Doctor is spot on though, especially the robotic way he waves his arms about when scanning everything with his Sonic Screwdriver, but as our Editor has pointed out Matt Smith looks like a poorly-drawn and animated game character in real-life, so that might not be all that much of an achievement... On the plus side, the voiceovers from Matt Smith as The Doctor and Alex Kingston as River Song are great, helped by a much stronger script than the game deserves, with entertaining asides spread throughout the game. Unfortunately, important bits of the script occasionally fail to trigger on time, leaving you unsure what to do next and leading to much frustration.
The first level featuring River tries its hand at something a little different with a sneaking section, but as anyone who's ever played a Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell game knows, stealth games work because enemies follow a consistent, predictable behaviour pattern—you know the route they're going to take, when they'll turn around or stop and that you can sneak right up behind them without being detected. Here you get enemies who turn around when you're still several feet out of range, seemingly detecting you at random while you're tiptoeing up behind them. It's extremely frustrating. Despite there being half a dozen puzzle varieties to choose from, many levels just repeat the same puzzle over and over, separated by the inane platforming. With the platforming a dead loss, the remaining puzzle sections (including rotating ring picture puzzles just like those in Assassin's Creed and a 'simplified to the point of pointlessness' version of the security-cracking thumbstick twiddling from Arkham City) are not substantial enough to base an entire game around.
What you're left with is a poor game, the audience for which is unclear (beyond the 'desperate, faithful, easily-pleased Doctor Who fans who don't read review scores demographic'); the gameplay is too simplistic for adult gamers, but far too frustrating for younger players, or indeed anyone. As a side-scrolling platformer, the gameplay is a terrible fit with the source material; it feels like the Doctor Who elements were tagged onto an abandoned budget game project. As a £1.99 smartphone game, it would be almost acceptable; on the PS3 for £15-£20 it's unforgivable (coming soon to PS Vita and PC!). The game is just saved from being a total disaster by the voiceovers, but on a Doctor Who scale ranging from ‘Colin Baker’ to ‘Tom Baker’, it's a ‘Paul McGann.’ I’m not a Doctor Who hater and I’ve watched every episode but this is for fanatical Doctor Who completists only, by which I mean: ‘Basically, it’s rubbish’.
- Voiceovers and script.
- There are no other good bits—NONE.
- Repetitive, poorly designed levels.
- Frustrating difficulty spikes.
- Not very Doctor Who-ey.