Review: Doctor Who and the Eternity Clock
I’m a huge fan of modern Doctor Who. I played one of the adventure games the BBC put out last year for PC and it was just awful. I had higher hopes for this title, but all it does is manage to be a bigger disappointment to the franchise.
Due to Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey circumstances, the TARDIS lands in England and the Doctor has to run around a bank. A boring bank filled with empty expanses and a block sliding puzzle. You get introduced to the core mechanics of the platformer, stiff controls, ladders, block pushing, and how to use the sonic screwdriver. It’s all about as exciting as it sounds, but they made sure to tack on the epic theme song being played in the background that doesn’t fit the action on the screen whatsoever. Matt Smith voices the Doctor, and quite true to his character, delivers many funny lines along the way. This is the biggest highlight of the game from a fan’s standpoint. I guess it can be commended that his and Alex Kingston’s likenesses were captured pretty well also.
So after beating the first segment you get introduced to the other playable character, River Song. Her section is heavily stealth based which is incredibly obnoxious. There’s a section where you have to run through these spotlights that I must have repeated some 10 times before I finally made it through…only to be caught by a guard and sent back to do it again. You’ll take turns playing each of the characters, unless you’re playing with a friend on the same screen. Then you’ll both run through separate parts of levels at the same time. It’s not a very elegant solution but it works.
So the story is weaker than any of Russell Davies’ worst pieces, the environments are bland and unimaginative, and the enemies are caricatures of themselves. The joy of Doctor Who is that it can be set anywhere, and at any time. There is no limit to the stories that can be told, yet you’re treated to boring platforming that has no business being in this universe. Oh and all the enemies use the same like 3 types of generators and switches. They either require a spinning puzzle, a channel pressure puzzle, a sonic wavelength match, a generator shutdown (a frogger like thing), or my favorite: the giant grid puzzle. These often completely brake the flow of the game, and usually have the same type of solution every time. Nothing says futuristic sci-fi than a tile matching grid puzzle. Only the sonic minigame had any finesse to it. The grid and channel pressure puzzles were the worst offenders, and they come up regularly.
While playing this title, I may have broken it about 5 times. When I say broken, I mean exiting the game and having to reload. The game’s save system only places you at the beginning of each act, so in just about every instance, I lost approximately 20 minutes of progress. For one of the priciest PSN titles, glitches like this shouldn’t happen. I had River Song clip through the environment and get stuck numerous times, break through invisible walls, and fall into unwinnable situations. These glitches ruin some of the more interesting parts of the game. There is a part where River has to run through a Silence lair to collect a stasis generator. The catch is that she has to keep a Silence within her vision or she would forget where she was and have to start over. It was a great idea, but had horrible execution. I’d reach the stasis safe zone’s which would require me to solve one of the same puzzles again. Except sometimes, after I reached the safe zone and activated the puzzle, the game would let me get half way through with the puzzle…and then just kill me off.
Another example, the player is often forced to solve puzzles that take up the whole screen…while the game world keeps going. At one point, Cybermen were patrolling an area and I had to shut down a generator. I’d be half way with the shut down and then I would get yanked from the puzzle and killed by the enemies I couldn’t even see coming. I’m all for time limits or pressure, but this was unfair usually due to the glitchy behavior of the game in general. The game is so broken that just when you start to think you may be having a good time, it breaks even harder just to prove you wrong.
This game barely resembles the colorful world that the beloved Doctor inhabits on TV. It is stripped of just about all character and turned into a dull and boring experience rife with more glitches than the TARDIS’ chameleon circuit. Matt Smith and Alex Kingston do their best to offer some well read lines, but it was all just a waste of time.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Matt Smith's voice acting
What I Dislike:
- Repetitive Puzzles