Zeno Clash

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Zeno Clash on Steam

MSRP: $9.99

Platforms: Windows, XBox 360

Release: 4/21/09


Generally speaking, I’m a big fan of genre mashups, and some of my all-time favorite games are among the weirdest I’ve ever played.  I thought Zeno Clash would be right up my alley, with its combination of first person shooter and Mortal Kombat-style fighting mechanics.  Instead, what I discovered was an incoherent mess that was not all that enjoyable to play.

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The tutorial missions take place in an unconscious state, I think, and the entity who is telling you what to do does not speak clearly at all.  I couldn’t find an option to turn on subtitles, and I managed to muddle through it, but I know I missed out on some of the backstory in all the mumbling. The dialogue was clearer (although no more coherent) in the actual game, so I decided to give it a whirl.

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Overall, my main thought throughout was that I just didn’t get it. I didn’t really understand where I was, who I was, or why these people wanted to beat me up and, I assume, kill me.  I didn’t understand why the tutorial guy made me punch chickens, and then shoot them later on.  I didn’t understand how I could hit a rat thing in the head at point blank range and see a blood spatter, but not kill it.  Most importantly, I didn’t know why I should care about any of it.

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Zeno Clash did absolutely nothing for me. I didn’t enjoy it, and I certainly didn’t care about it. I don’t think it would have really been my kind of game anyway, but I really went in expecting so much more than a non-story story, a garbled tutorial, and unsatisfying combat.

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