Clash: Artifacts of Chaos review | This latest game from ACE Team takes place in the Zeno Clash universe, published by NACON Clash: Artifacts of Chaos is a standalone experience. Prior knowledge of Zeno Clash and Zeno Clash 2 isn’t required, so you can jump in right away. Those games were known for first-person melee fighting, that’s still a combat feature in this one but the main camera view is now third-person. We take control of Pseudo, not the prettiest game character on Xbox but he has the companion of a cute dark owl-like friend. Just like Cat 808 from Hi-Fi RUSH, he gives every player a few aww-moments. The two are a great mix of adorable and hideous with adorable chemistry on your screen. Together with Pseudo, you’ll be cursing a lot as Clash: Artifacts of Choas is a challenging game… but the likes of Elden Ring and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty have proven that there is a large enough player base. The only question that remains.. is this good enough for a purchase? You’ll find that out in our review for Clash: Artifacts of Chaos.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Uniquely created artistic visuals | Fantastic, that’s the first word that comes to mind when you look at the visuals from Clash: Artifacts of Choas. One of the crazy things here is that you can change how it looks too! You can adjust the cel-shading style, make it black and white or change how shadows are rendered. Pseudo, the main character looks like a Bifi saucisse but is beautifully created. Same with the enemies, fascinating to look at and truly some good designs that give the game something extra. The semi-open world is full of large-scale sculptures or other visual setpieces that burst with details and color. It reminds me a little about SCORN, the visual style is completely different but it has similar bizarre world-building.
- The music, environmental sounds, and voice actors are very good | Everything audio related is as excellent as the visuals, especially the musical score is wonderful while exploring the semi-open world. I’m honestly in love with the voice of the cute little owl, but in general, all voice actors did a great job with their performances. The same can be said about the perfectly matched environmental sounds, giving you the impression that you are really walking around in an alien world full of danger. It makes Clash: Artifacts of Choas a remarkable game for its budget, beating many AAA-games in both visual and audio aspects.
- Ritual | The ritual is an optional dice game that can happen before a fight, this will buff or debuff Pseudo or enemies. This is hardly explained and the player is literally thrown into the mechanic without any knowledge. I’m a frequent board game player so I’m not new to these kinds of things but the modifiers and random dice outputs make things really hard to understand.
- Gameplay mechanics | ACE Team developed a few original gameplay mechanics, including the previously mentioned Ritual. The most unique about Clash are the two forms of Pseudo, a day and night form. You’ll quickly learn that Pseudo can only squeeze itself through thorn walls in his night form, used for a few environmental puzzles. At a resting place you can choose which form you want to use, when you are killed during his day form you transform into his night form. You have to collect your body again, kinda like how dying in Elden Ring works. When you die during your night form you get a game over screen. And yeah, you will be seeing that regularly. Another fun mechanic is a wink for Zeno Clash when you have done enough damage a meter fills and you can unleash more powerful attacks. Your camera will change into a first-person view, making the effects more dramatic.
What we Disliked
- Buggy combat | It was a shock for me to see that the game had a few big issues with the mechanics of the combat system. One of the biggest annoyances is hits that aren’t being registered. This happens frequently when you start to attack an enemy from the left or right side. You might think this isn’t a huge deal but you’ll immediately take damage from an enemy as your dodge option isn’t available as it goes into an animation cooldown. When you start the game you have a choice between three fighting stances. All of the stances have issues with hitting the enemy with special moves. For a fighting game, especially a Soulslike fighting game that’s a rather big game breaker. Technical issues continuously happen with weird physic problems, enemies getting stuck, or Pseudo that falls through the ground. You’ll often face a situation where you have to fight two or three enemies at the same time. In almost all instances an enemy got stuck in the environment or started to do weird things as it seemingly forgot the placement of Pseudo.
- I had no clue what to do or where to go | The buggy combat wasn’t the biggest turn-off, Clash has an even bigger issue. That’s the complete lack of any indication of what you have to do or where you should be exploring. I honestly had no clue in my entire playthrough, to the point I thought that my progression was bugged or something. Made even harder by day and nighttime passageways and environmental puzzles. This could have been easily solved by some kind of quest indicator or a map function that is more helpful. I was constantly wandering and visiting the same places over and over again, hoping to find where I had to go. These moments are boring and happen frequently, that’s not why I’m playing video games ACE Team…
How long to beat the story | 15 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 25 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Elden Ring, Mortal Shell or Sekiro
Many things can be liked about Clash: Artifacts of Chaos but in the end, it is the confusing design and combat that nearly killed my interest. Both visual and audio is excellent and the main motivator to beat the challenging gameplay.
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