Proverbial Jon Reviews...
Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock
I am a huge fan of Doctor Who, both new and old. Let's just get that out of the way first shall we? But even as a fan, I cannot recommend this game. Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock is not a fun game. In fact I would describe this game as being a chore to play. The only motivation I had to continue playing was the naive hope that reaching the end goal would somehow yield a reward far greater than the experience I was having at the time. It never did.
The Doctor's more interested in something on the ceiling, a perfect metaphor for this game.
You make all of space and time your backyard and what do you have? A backyard.
The presentation is quite frankly bizarre. Eternity Clock presents you with a three-dimensional world but only allows the Doctor and River Song to move on a two-dimensional plane... meaning that you can never explore the world beyond the confines of your current, very linear path. This goes against everything Doctor Who is about. It also makes no sense in the context of the game when the Doctor must climb ladders and pipes to overcome obstacles when a perfectly serviceable set of stairs lies in the background, just beyond the player's reach. Infuriating!
Run! Just run!
The gameplay is frantic and often involves a lot of running, a Doctor Who staple. The Doctor can wave his Sonic Screwdriver around with reckless abandon and receive messages on his psychic paper. River Song has her trusty blaster and hallucinogenic lipstick, the latter is used to seduce guards into opening electronic doors for the most part. It's just a shame that no one told the developers that 2D aiming controls don't work in what is essentially a 3D space. Between the running and sonicing/shooting, there are puzzles but only a few, mind you. You will find yourself playing the same few minigames over and over again just to progress and frankly it becomes more than a little tedious.
Hey, good lookin'! The graphics aren't as dissapointing as the rest of the game.
Eternity Clock features several of the Doctor's most infamous adversaries, Cybermen, Silurians (sorry, Homo Reptilia), The Silence and the Daleks. Each of the various factions look great on screen and generally have a different gameplay quirk which makes fighting them (only slightly) different. The Silence, for example, need to be kept in view at all times or else the level will fail; something fans of the new series might appreciate. There are plenty of references to previous episodes, both new and old, along with some rather redundant collectables to seek out as well. Matt Smith and Alex Kingston lend their vocal talents to their respective characters and although Smith provides the usual energetic flair we have come to love of the Doctor, Kingston feels a little flat as River Song.
Like Alice I like to believe 3 impossible things before breakfast.
The story is typical Doctor Who fare, a massive universe threatening problem occurs seemingly out of nowhere and the Doctor must save the world quickly enough to be back in time for tea. There's plenty of time travelling cleverness utilised in order to solve puzzles although these are questionable at best. My favourite involves the Doctor going back in time to change the plans for a gas main so it will be built under a different road and prevent an explosion which had previously hindered the player's progress. Of course it doesn't matter that the Doctor only had to step around the damage and... oh wait, we can only move in two dimensions. Ironic really, the Doctor can travel through the forth dimension but not the third. Additionally, don't expect a fantastic finale wherein the Doctor thwarts the true enemy and saves the day either, because just when it's getting good the game just sort of ends instead.
Prepare to be shot by these Cybermen repeatedly due to River's infuriatingly slow and glitchy AI.
Ace, give me some of that Nitro-9 that you're not carrying.
However, despite its multiple failings, my biggest problem with the game is its difficulty. Now, I consider myself a seasoned gamer, I don't shy away from a challenge, but this game is just not easy, even on the easy setting! The AI is glitchy and doesn't do things half as quickly as you need it to, the game doesn't always adhere to its own internal rules (am I in cover or not?) and most of the so called challenging levels are frustrating because of an arbitrary time limit. If you are looking to play this game along with your children, prepare for many tears of frustration and then expect them from your kids as well.
Sorry, I'm so sorry.
Eternity Clock gets points for its above average visual quality, authentic voice acting and some nifty little throwbacks to the TV series. Unfortunately it is let down by repetative gameplay, buggy AI, uninspired puzzles and a frustrating difficulty curve. This is not a game you will play again after purchase. I shall be hiding this game from my nephew who is a huge video game and Doctor Who fan because I can't bear to see the disappointment on his face when he experiences this unfulfilling and deviously heartbreaking game.