Poor menu design
Given how many other loot based games have come before Clan of Champions, including the Gladiator Begins titles that this game is based upon, it’s a disappointment to have such archaic menu design. Getting lost between trying to purchase a new piece of armor from the shop, stick a gem in its socket, and finally equipping it requires bouncing around between six different menus. If you want to look at your stats and see how they measure up, that’s another two menus to navigate through, more if you were doing all of this from the separate pre-battle station. Thankfully all of this happens between missions and none of this dancing around happens on the battlefield.
After a battle, there’s no way to see if a dropped piece of equipment is already available in the shop. There’s a toggle to reveal owned items, but that only compares the loot that dropped versus what’s currently in your limited inventory. If you’re a purist that wants to have 100% item completion, I recommend having a pen and paper on hand to write down what you’ve already collected.
In addition to the 96 missions in the campaign, Clan of Champions also offers a versus mode where two teams of three players each duke it out in true arena duels. Sadly, during the entire week that I’ve been playing Clan of Champions, I only came across four other players; one shy of the required six players to try out the mode. What might have been a robust side to the game, I’ll never know for sure. Instead I’ll be relieved to know that the campaign missions were much better with the two sword and shield bearers that fought by my side to the credits roll.
While you won’t do damage to your teammates when they pass in front of your attacks, they can get in line of sight, block a hit or two, and get status ailments from your attacks. This is supposed to lend to the tactical aspect of the game, where attacks should be coordinated and done in a synchronized manner. To the common player, that just means that if you get in the way of someone’s wild attack, most likely you’re going to end up getting knocked around. Be extra wary of that magic user on your team that enjoys casting ice bolt at random, as you may find yourself getting frozen more than once while trying to fend off the entire enemy team.
Grind, Grind, Grind.
Gear in Clan of Champions is presented in unusual fashion, rather than just being readily available for purchase in the store. After every mission, you’re given the option to purchase any items that drops/brakes during the fight. If any of those items included a stat-increasing gem, it’s included with the item at no additional price. The problem with this system is that just add any new stock to the item shop is that you have to first purchase the item at full price after a mission, sell it to the store for a minimal return, then the item will be available for later purchase albeit without the included gem. To just acquire a stat gem for later use requires purchasing a socketed item only to break the item (for another nominal fee) for the gem. With many pieces of equipment requiring at least eight gems for the first level of upgrade, there’s a lot of needless grinding. Later difficulties can offer rewards of higher level gems, but that doesn’t negate the fact that you’ll still be needed a handful of them just to take your equipment to the next level.
There’s a main set of twenty four missions to the game that should last a few hours. Beyond that, there are four difficulty levels for each mission. While items found in a mission are the same in each difficulty, the socketed gems and item levels themselves vary. Most of the battles can be finished in under ten minutes, drastically less so for those that just offer a single target. If you can find other people to play with online, the grind can definitely go much faster.
Clan of Champions is a unique case where at first glance, it’s nothing more than a mediocre hack-and-slash type of game. Once the addition of multiplayer is thrown into the mix, it gets quite a bit better. Sadly, the online community for the game just isn’t there.
[Editor’s Note: Clan of Champions was reviewed on the Sony PlayStation 3. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Clan of Champions Review,