Not long ago I attended a newspaper event in Paris, where game developers and their demo booths lined the walls. But none stood out like Clash: Artifacts Of Chaos, a third-person combat adventure set in a punk-fantasy universe. Despite only the briefest of practice sessions cut short by turf law, I just can’t shake the game off my short back and side-furnished skull. I think I need someone to kick me into reality, before I fall asleep and wake up for good in Zenozoik’s fantasy reams.
Clash is being developed by ACE Team, the folks behind the survival game The Eternal Cylinder, which sees creatures that Alice Bee – and I’m supporting her on this – thinks look like willies and fannies and bums running away from home. a huge cylinder that crushes everything in its path. Our Eternal Cylinder review thought it was weird and delicious, which lines up perfectly with their previous offerings: Zeno Clash and Zeno Clash 2, two first-person fighting games that see you cross out lanky creatures in the lands. surrealists of Zenozoik.
Nine years later, Clash: Artifacts Of Chaos returns to Zenozoik as the spiritual successor to his Zeno brethren. You play as Pseudo, a martial arts expert who looks like the cursed offspring of a Springfield resident’s arm hair floating in the power plant’s nuclear reactor, emerging with arms, legs, and a club-like build. wood. On your shoulder is The Boy – no, not a little lizard on a unicycle, but a Ghibli mite crossed with a barn owl. It is a mysterious creature sought after by Gemini, the Mistress of Artifacts. For some reason, Pseudo decides to adopt the boy The Boy and protect him from danger.
My time with the game didn’t touch on the story at all, so I couldn’t get a feel for how it’s told or if it’s compellingly written. But what I did was hit a big mush honkin’ Watto with my fists. The demotist encouraged me to approach this creature and wave my hand at it. No excuses, no foreplay, just me ruining his quiet moment with a crack in his ribs. Did I feel bad? Absolutely not! More jubilant, if anything.
No excuses, no foreplay, just me ruining some quiet time with a crack in my ribs. Did I feel bad? Absolutely not!
Immediately I went into one of three fighting stances, as Watto prepared for a fight. I opened with a stance that allowed me to punch and kick with speed, as I ducked to the side to avoid his attacks. The blows felt heavy enough and it was easy to see who had hit who despite our duel being a messy mob of limbs and wings. After a bit of bashing, I moved on to the other two positions. It felt slower and more methodical, with longer wind-ups that traded speed for power. The other helped me keep my distance with long strokes and sweeps, but felt like a much harder beat to master.
After hitting Watto enough, a finishing prompt appeared on screen and things went from third person to first person as I rearranged his jaw and sent him to the grave. Not only is it a neat ode to Zeno Clash, but it’s a fun way to train yourself even further in the later stages of a fight. And for a brief moment after, the warlock showed off Nickname’s three fighting styles in the menus, all of which were customizable to some degree. New moves, new positions, and the ability to mix and match them are coming with the full version.
Having beaten poor Watto, I looked for another victim in the camp. Ah! The cursed Dumbo would do. So I challenged him to a game of The Ritual, a simple board game where two players fight to determine the rules of combat. I planted an artifact that meant whoever lost The Ritual would slowly succumb to poison in the fight, like the bastard that I am. Here’s how it goes
Both players roll dice on the board and your totals are added together. However, each player has a set number of moves they can use to manipulate the other’s totals, and the player with the higher total at the end wins. Each move involves removing a small pad from an ammo belt and placing it on the board. These buffers produce lines that segment the board or slice dice to alter their totals or even destroy them.
The game is simple enough to understand for newbies to board games like me, and wagering on a buff that strength swinging things in your favor gives fights a momentous, almost gladiator-like feel. What’s unclear is if you’re capable of building a collection of artifacts and deploying them as you see fit. What if every creature you see is as excited for The Ritual as the NPCs are for Gwent in The Witcher 3.
Finally, I saw how resting at camp would turn the game from day to night. Apparently it’s a dreamlike version of Zenozoik that’s less Borderlands on crack and more nightmarish where everyone’s been carved out of wood? The warlock told me that enemies are tougher at night and new paths open up that you need to exploit to advance the story.
And, just when I started tinkering and exploring Zenozoik a bit more, I had to go. But from my brief two-minute jaunt, I can safely say that I want to see more. It seemed to have a hint of souls, with a semi-open world that could gradually open up and intertwine as you progress. Again, though, I can’t be certain how well it compares to FromSoft’s offerings until it arrives.
My time with Clash: Artifacts Of Chaos felt like a fever dream that I’m desperate to see again. The game is a weird brawler with a gorgeous art style and I can’t stop thinking about it. Must be a good thing, right? Now wait until November when it’s due out. Could build a makeshift ritual board out of Kellogs boxes and start challenging strangers on the street to a game. Actually no, it’s a really bad idea.