Clan of Champions is the third entry of the ongoing Gladiator series (Colosseum: Road to Freedom and Gladiator Begins), and is the first to be set outside of ancient Rome. The Kingdom of Ematrias has tried their best to fight back against the Al-waav Urban Allied Forces. Being the stronger force, the Al-waav forces sent out highly skilled mercenaries to take out Ematrias soldiers. Trying to fight back, the Ematrias kingdom has tried to send out mercenaries of their own, which only contributed to a national crisis.
Amidst the conflict between the two forces, our story takes place in an abandoned town located along the border of the two nations. In its Golden Age, it used to be a castle town and created weapons that “grant an invisible power”. Skeptical, both sides investigated the claims to learn it was true. As an Ematrias mercenary, this is where you come in.
The game offers three different races: Humans (who possess no extraordinary abilities), Elves (who have more of a magic focus) and the Orcs (who have physical attacking focus). Each can take on a different style of how to go about attacking. You could either focus on magic attacks or wield one of the three physical styles (sword-shield, dual wielding, and close combat).
For the most part, the missions themselves are very straightforward. The most common type you’ll see are Annihilation missions, where you defeat all the enemies within the area. Various other are Escort missions where you have to protect someone on your team, Regicide missions where you have to take out a specific target, and Boss Annihilation mode which needs no further explanation. While the mission variety is nice, doing the same thing over and over again starts to feel tedious.
Battling is another major aspect of this game. You’ll be placed in closed off arenas fighting against a wave on enemies. Depending on the mission, it might require you to move on to another section. One of the games coolest features is changing your equipment on the fly. When you attack an enemy with enough force (or if they should die on the battlefield), it causes them to drop either their armor pieces or weapons. Should you find a better weapon, you can immediately pick that up mid-battle and use it against the very foe who dropped it.
The only unfortunate part is that after each mission is completed, instead of looting the dropped weapons, you actually have to purchase the weapons dropped on the field. The game also features a multiplayer mode, where you can team up with two of your friends to complete missions or even face another three-man team in an online battle.
Controls definitely play a large role in how you experience this game as well. Since the two previous entries in this series were on PS2 and PSP respectively, it was only natural for them to add gamepad support. Buttons were mapped comfortably and I didn’t have much trouble with gameplay aside from fighting with the camera from time to time. Personally, this was the preferred control scheme. The keyboard and mouse controls could use a little work, though, as they aren’t very comfortable and at times require some awkward maneuvering.
The graphics are pretty good and the fighting is pretty fun. Multiplayer might be one of the saving graces for this game, since teaming up with friends is always a plus when it comes to mission-based games like this. The multiple difficulties help with the longevity a bit as well, since it has a kind of Earth Defense Force 2017 progression where you can’t start the hardest difficulty unless you have some powerful equips from the end of the easier difficulties. While the game might be a little short on customization and mission variety, the game itself is still very solid.
Pros: Interesting battle system, multiplayer aspects are nice
Cons: Controls could use some work, needs more mission variety