Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock REVIEW
When the Doctor started using the Sonic to flush the TARDIS loo, he knew he was getting lazy.
Release Date: OUT NOW!
Format Reviewed: PS3
Also available on: PS Vita
Publisher: BBC Worldwide
The Doctor may have all of time and space at his fingertips but in The Eternity Clock you’ve got two choices: left or right.
It’s a side-scrolling, co-op, puzzle-platformer featuring the Eleventh Doctor and River Song, you see, where you push boxes and unlock doors with the Doctor’s trusty Sonic, dodge enemies and lay kisses on guards with River’s hallucinogenic lipstick or endlessly replay five pace-killing minigames. Play it with a friend and you take it in turns as the Doctor and River, one solving puzzles while the other takes the offensive.
As a game it’s a disappointment, hobbled by crude environmental puzzles and simplistic stealth. It’s suitable for young ‘uns, but some of the timed sections are extremely unforgiving resulting in maddening difficulty spikes, while buggy companion AI makes it a frustrating single player experience. As an “interactive episode” it’s a step backwards from the free-to-play browser-based Adventure Games, the story and gameplay never quite gelling as seamlessly as they do there.
And though it never reaches the deliriously silly highs of the TV show the story is good. The TARDIS is in trouble and London is in ruins. the Eternity Clock is to blame, a device capable of rewriting history (even River’s Diary isn’t safe) and it’s up to the Doctor and River to reclaim the pieces from the past, present and future. The sharp dialogue and superb voice acting by Matt Smith and Alex Kingston give the game an unquestionably authentic Who feel. There’s also a big incentive for die-hards to play in the form of unseen, collectable (canon) pages from River’s Diary, which offer insights into the game and the show.
There are a wide range of nicely detailed environments, and it’s admirable that the game succeeds in weaving Daleks, Cybermen (including a new Cyber Commander), Silurians and the Silence into a time-bending narrative that actually makes sense. It’s brimming with too many fan-pleasing moments to count – few better than spotting familiar Silence marks on the walls in olde England, only to stumble across a hidden ship later in the level.
It’s far from a disaster, but The Eternity Clock is a victim of its own limitations, lacking the scope a Who game done right should possess, and doesn’t even do enough to justify the swift 6-8 hour runtime. It’s the first in a planned trilogy; let’s hope the final two chapters are more enjoyable than a fish finger custard supper.
Interview with Eternity Clock producer Simon Harris.
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