Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock PS3 Review

June 11, 2012 by  
Filed under PlayStation 3, Features, Reviews

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Supermassive Games – Genre – Platformer/Action – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock has all the ingredients of the well loved TV series: the current Doctor himself, Matt Smith, on voice and motion capture duties, witty dialogue and a cerebral side, though they did largely forget to put in the ingredients of what makes a good game at the same time.

The story sees time distortions appearing all over the world, leaving it up to the doctor and his companion River Song to find out just why this is occurring. There’s a welcome layer of personality to the game and fans will enjoy Matt Smith’s typically eccentric performance as the doctor, whilst Alex Kingston also delivers some enthusiastic voice work. There’s some authentically witty lines of dialogue that is sure to please and amuse fans.

The game side of things isn’t bad in theory. It’s a sort of a 2D platformer, stealth and puzzle hybrid that fits the licence well enough, and the option for co-op play is welcome. The Doctor has at hand his sonic screwdriver, which you can use to investigate things, open locked doors and manipulate objects around the environment. River Song meanwhile has a gun to stun enemies with. Both characters can leap around the environment, but stiff and lacking animations makes this a more boring process than it should be.

There are several set pieces throughout that manage to be more frustrating than memorable and too often with such sections, you’re given little idea of just what you’re supposed to be doing, which is just bad design whilst playing alone can result in some frustrating situations when your AI companion is struggling to decide what to do with the task set for them.

Suffice to say, co-op is without doubt the best way to play the game, but this in itself has its fair share of flaws. For starters many will be disappointed that it’s restricted to local play and it’s not drop in and out either, so there’s no option of any player leaving or joining during the course of the game. The co-op mechanics are rarely particularly interesting, either, and usually are fairly predictable in nature and almost never clever, boosting another player up to a slightly out of reach area for instance.

There’s some strange bugs too. Occasionally I died, when I still had health remaining, on one set piece that has constant spawning enemies, they failed to appear, allowing me to just stand there and let the time tick down. In this instance it was actually welcome, as it was a particularly infuriating section, that I might otherwise not have been able to pass, which of course doesn’t make such technical failings any more excusable.

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock isn’t completely without merit and when things are working as they should there’s the occasional glimmer of a better game, but all too often it’s hidden behind frustrating technical and design deficiencies, leaving it as a game that even the staunchest fans of the Doctor will struggle to find good in.