Published by Sony Computer
Developed by Supermassive Games
The Doctor Who series hasn’t been shown much respect over the years. There have been several actors cast in the role who just weren’t suited to it, in my opinion of course, and it was shelved for quite a long time before being brought back and becoming popular once again. You could also argue that there hasn’t been a decent video game based on the series. Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock is the latest attempt at creating a memorable game for fans of the series. However, you’ll need to be an extremely loyal fan of the series to appreciate what the game has to offer because if you strip away the Doctor Who branding there’s a disappointing game here that most wouldn’t look twice at.
Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock initially seems as though it’s going to please fans of the series. You’ll play as both Doctor Who (with his ever useful sonic screwdriver) and Doctor River Song (who comes equipped with her hallucinogenic lipstick) and hearing gamers will notice that they are voiced by the current actors who play these roles on TV. The game even includes some of the more popular enemies from the series such as the Daleks and the Cybermen. Whilst the key ingredients are present and correct however, the gameplay on offer here isn’t anything special.
The game is essentially a 2D platform game with stealth and action elements with some puzzles thrown in for good measure. In fact puzzles are a key element of the game and on starting a new game you’re given the option of selecting either easy, normal or hard puzzles to solve during your game. Regardless of the difficulty level you’re playing on however, you’ll find a mixture of uninspiring puzzles, poor AI, enemies that can instantly kill you and checkpoints that at times seem to have been placed far apart to deliberately cause maximum irritation. On top of this you have controls that don’t feel very responsive and to top it all off it doesn’t take long for the whole thing to feel repetitive. All of these problems do their level best to make sure this is a game that even fervent Doctor Who fans will not want to endure any longer than they really have to.
The game does support local co-op play but it’s something that can only be selected when you begin the game. There is no support for allowing a second player to drop in on a single-player game that’s already in progress which seems really silly. It essentially means of course that it’s only a feature you’ll want to use if you can guarantee that your companion will want to play the whole game with you.
Graphically The Eternity Clock is rather basic looking for a PlayStation 3 title. The quality of the visuals isn’t so much a problem as the quality of the animations however. The animations on display here would have been acceptable for an early PlayStation 2 title but here they look decidedly wooden and slightly rough for a game that’s arriving quite late on in the life span of the PlayStation 3. The 2D view makes the stealth elements of the game needlessly fiddly at times and it’s not always easy to discern whether your character can be spotted or not. There’s some screen-tearing here too and whilst it doesn’t get in the way it’s certainly a little unsightly.
The Eternity Clock does include subtitles but they aren’t enabled by default. With the subtitles enabled you’ll be able to follow the game’s storyline as well as the often cringe-worthy humour that’s present in the game. One thing I should say however is that if you're playing the game on a TV set that isn't a high definition display, you'll find that the subtitles are far too small and are barely legible. On a HD display the size of the text is absolutely fine however.
Under another name Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock would fail to attract anyone’s attention. With the Doctor Who branding however, it’s likely to sell well. However, you’d have to be an extremely patient and blinkered Doctor Who fan to forgive the game’s various problems which combine to make this a dull and sometimes testing experience. Unless you’re an extremely hardcore fan of the series, this is probably one you should leave until the sales.