The Eternity Clock Review

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Guest contributor Caleb Howells gives his verdict on the Doctor’s latest game.

In all the show’s 49 year history, there have only been a few attempts at making a Doctor Who video game. Recently, though, there’s been a sudden jump in the amount of them made, starting when Matt Smith joined the show. First there were The Adventure Games, which were well received. Later, there were two Nintendo games; one for the DS and one for the Wii. Getting a considerable difference to The Adventure Games in terms of critical reception, these were generally hated. In fact, the Wii game was placed on a list of worst games ever made.

But how about the latest attempt? Only last month, Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock was released for the PS3 (with PlayStation Vita to follow). Many fans were hoping it would be the top class Doctor Who video game we’ve all been waiting for. But did it deliver?

Well, the game got off to a good start. If there’s one thing that this game is excellent at, it’s the cutscenes. The developers said that they were aiming to make the player feel like they were really in a Doctor Who episode, and I’d say they certainly succeeded. There are plenty of cutscenes throughout the game, all of which really feel like a scene from the actual show. Yes, the characters are computer generated, but the marvellous script, always wonderful music and quality camera work are what capture the feel of the show.

The voice acting is excellent! One would expect as much, since Matt Smith and Alex Kingston both reprise their roles as their respective characters. They also give very good performances via the motion capture. Matt Smith is, as always, very lively as the Doctor.

On the topic of motion capture, the animation is excellent. The graphics less so. They’re not bad by any means. On the contrary, they’re actually very good, the scenery particularly. But it’s not as realistic as you should expect from a PS3 game.

And then there’s the music. It’s by Murray Gold… need I say more? Fine, I will. It’s very good. The first track that played for me was “I Am The Doctor”. One of my favourite tracks ever, so it definitely got me in a good mood to play the game! And I really appreciated that fact that the developers kindly used “The Majestic Tale (Of A Madman In A Box)” during the Silence shootout level. It felt just like the very similar scene at the climax of Day of the Moon, which also happens to be one of my favourite Doctor Who scenes ever (partly due to the music). That particular level was so fun!

Now onto the gameplay. This is where the game falls short. And this, in particular, is a shame, considering it’s really the most important part of a game. I don’t think I personally encountered many glitches, but other people have said that they’ve found loads. The platforming is quite fun, but the mini games get very repetitive. Most of them aren’t that fun, so when you have to do them again and again it gets a bit annoying. Another annoying thing is the lack of checkpoints. So you’ll be playing for a while, but then you get killed by a Dalek extermination ray and have to start from the beginning of the level again! Believe me, it happens a lot.

 

There’s a lot more I could say. Fairly often, the goals of the levels aren’t laid out very clearly, which leads to frustrating trail and error gameplay.

So, it’s a reasonably good game. There are a few faults that really should be worked on for future releases, but it’s a decent start. It would be nice if it was in 3D, but oh well. There are a lot of very enjoyable 2D games, but the developers really need to address the problems of this game to achieve something excellent in the future. Seeing as this is just the first in a series of games, hopefully the next ones will be more enjoyable.

In conclusion, I’d rate this game: 6/10.

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