Format reviewed: PS3
Other formats available: PS Vita, PC
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: BBC Worldwide Digital Entertainment
While we aren’t exactly Whovites, we do of course know what Doctor Who is. The only ones who don’t are effectively those who live under a rock. Naturally, the story of Doctor Who is rife for expanding upon with games. This is only one of them, featuring the Matt Smith incarnation of the titular Timelord.
The story is that a Time Storm is tearing the world apart, and you have to stop it by going to The Clock, a planet that records everything that happens (or will happen) in all of existence. As the Doctor might say: ‘Just your average Tuesday!’ As much of an excuse that the story is, the plot honestly isn’t what matters here. In this case, the gameplay is the game’s major selling point.
The gameplay is a side-scroller taking place in a 2.5D perspective. While general platforming is involved, it is also possible to use your Sonic Screwdriver to manipulate objects and look for hints in-game. Along the way, you can also find various puzzles that will need to be solved in order to advance.
But don’t expect Professor Layton from these puzzles, since you can (thankfully) change the difficulty of the puzzles which have various twists depending on the difficulty. The level design is very much linear with some alternate routes to serve as paths where collectibles can be found. There isn’t much of a problem with this when it comes to sidescrollers though.
Another element of the gameplay is the ability to play as River Song, the helper for the 11th Doctor. River’s gameplay focuses more on stealth platforming rather than the action platforming of the Doctor, with you hiding from guards and solving stealth puzzles to get to the end of the level. One of these can include using your Hallucinogenic Lipstick to kiss guards and stun them for a while.
Throughout the course of the game, the Doctor’s hats and pages from River’s (very spoilerific) diary are scattered throughout the stages of the game. We don’t exactly know how you’d be able to find a Top Hat in the Roman Empire, but it could go for a hefty price at the market.
Crappy jokes aside though, these really don’t serve too much of a purpose unless you’re playing a version of the game that’s compatible with trophies. The Doctor does give a humourous description of each hat though, so it’s worth a laugh every now and then.
The graphics look great, with some very nice colour and detail given to each of the environments. The voice acting is also very good, with almost all of the actors reprising their roles from the show. We say almost since the Cybermen sound nothing like they do on TV. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is a little confusing. If people like the Doctor and River have their TV show voice actors, why don’t the Cybermen? Oh well.
However, there is a big problem with this game’s AI. If you jump onto a ladder while an enemy is chasing you, the enemy will stop completely when it reaches the ladder. Even if you walk a good distance away, the enemy just stands there and doesn’t move.
This makes progressing in the game very difficult when you are up against the Cybermen (who can grab you) and impossible when you are playing as River since touching an enemy causes the game to act as if you just died (it is a stealth segment after all). This problem is glaringly obvious, which leads us to wonder if the game was tested that well upon release.
This being said though, the AI for your partner is actually quite smart and we didn’t actually run into any problems with it.
Another problem that we ran into may be a personal problem, but it may be troublesome for some others. When we were playing through a segment near the beginning of the game that involved the Doctor and River running away from an army of Cybermen and they couldn’t get too far ahead lest you fail the level.
They got too far ahead right when the Doctor was speaking of what to do. When we got to this area again, he never repeated what to do, so we had to restart the level to find out what he was saying. This could be very troublesome for those who do not know what to do (in this case, point the Sonic Screwdriver at a door lock for River to blast it).
Doctor Who the Eternity Clock is a good game. The controls work well, the graphics look nice, the partner AI is pretty smart, the music is good and the voice acting is also very good (barring the Cybermen, but that isn’t too much of an issue).
Not forgetting the Doctor’s insane sense of humour as well. The only issues with this game are the bug with the AI that we mentioned earlier and to a more minor extent the voiceover glitch. But still, this is a game that Doctor Who fans will no doubt enjoy, but is really only worth a rental since it doesn’t exactly have a lot of lasting appeal.
Review by SniperToaster for BCS