Preview: The Club demo

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A while ago, we shared with you that the demo for The Club had been delivered to Microsoft. Little did we know that the game would be released to many other countries before we got it. Well, according to ads on the marketplace, in the next three days the demo should launch in the United States, if not all of North America.

I was able to get my hands on the demo a couple of days ago and have been playing it. I have been looking forward to this game the first video I saw of fast paced shoot’em up.

The game reminded me of playing Doom all over again. I mean, the original. I couldn’t wait to play The Club, because it looked just like the rapid pace first person shooters used to have. Suddenly you were able to play through the game at a rapid pace, beat a level in a matter of seconds, 2 minutes tops.

The Club brings this feeling back. As we all know, there is a point system, which rewards you for fast paced killing, as well as finesse. Headshots, shots from great distances, well timed shots, shots after dodging or rolling. The only playable character in the single player demo is Renwick (the cop). A good all ’round character, and well balanced. The game puts you into the setting of the Newhaven Prison Cells (one of eight locations where you’ll be able to take the fight). You are then presented with two of the in game missions available for that level. One is a simple ‘sprint’ objective, entitled “Escape from Newhaven.” The goal here is to achieve a target score (among 4 different difficulties, Casual, Reckless, Insane, and Real) of 61,000 to 6,000,000. The other event is Time Attack (called “Doin’ Time”). With this you have a target score of 35,000 to 6,100,000.

Timed Mode, here, gives you a set course, where you have to do a specified number of laps before the timer runs out, killing all the way. If you fail to do so, “the micro explosives you have been injected with will detonate” in rather anti-climactic fashion. The clock starts with 30 seconds and you can add time by killing (3 seconds), and collecting five second time bonuses throughout the map.

Multiplayer, as exciting as it sounds in the marketplace advertisement, is limited to local split screen multiplayer. The the in game menu tells that play over Xbox Live and systemlink will both be allowed.

The multiplayer game mode is Hunter-Hunted. We gave it a shakedown here at WinBreak Central Command. The game play is very interesting. Much like oddball, Hunter-Hunted mode is a game where the first person to make a kill becomes “the hunted.” The hunted achieves a point counter on his or her screen. This point counter increases rapidly until one player achieves 15,000 points. The hunters each want to kill the hunted for their share of the points. First to 15,000 wins. After thoroughly getting my butt handed to my by our resident console-hater, I called it a night and went back to writing.

All in all, I’m very excited for this game. Game play (so far) seems pretty bug free, but that’s a hard thing to determine, as I found out wit Blacksite: Area 51, a game I thought would turn out to be way better, until launch day when I paid for it.

Graphically The Club is very pleasing. Framerates never stutter, which is key to the atmosphere this game is setting up. The environments are well detailed and little extras, such as furniutre in rooms that can be knocked over when running by, are nice little details. The sound is nothing spectacular, but it doesn’t detract from the game either, save for the Quake III Arena announcer voice.

While the bottom of the screen constantly reminds you that it is a “work in progress and should not be considered as representative of the quality of the final product” I wouldn’t worry too much about it getting worse. If nothing else, the game will be long. If each of the eight locations has six events, and each of those has four difficulty settings… and you want to play through with all eight characters. It could be the only game you have to buy in 2008.

So, this is what you can expect in the demo coming in the next few days, and let’s hope it’s a fair representation of the final game. It might not be on everyone’s must have list, just yet, but I have a feeling that fast paced addiction is going to take a lot of gamers by surprise.

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