The Club is a fast paced shooter that provides much needed variety to a sometimes old shooting genre. Developed by Bizarre Creations (Project Gotham Racing) The Club is an arcade shooter with elements of a racing game molded into one package. The Club itself is a secret organization that buys abandoned buildings and structures to set up a gauntlet competition for its members to compete in. That's it for the story; that's how deep it gets, but in this case no story is a good thing. The single player structure has the player take one of eight cool characters through eight tournaments with each being in a different location. For each tournament there are six to eight levels that only span a few minutes each. There are a few different event variations including sprint (just getting to the end of a level), time attack (completing laps around a course), and survival (staying in a zone and holding off the enemies). The single player can be completed in 3-4 hours, but The Club encourages replayability. Some may find playing through the tournaments multiple times as boring or tedious, but most players including myself have discovered a lot of depth by replaying levels. There are four difficulties, and the two highest difficulties are very hard and are meant for the hardcore gamer. On the other hand the easiest, casual, is really easy and doesn't offer too much of a challenge but is still great for noobs. Upon first impression the single player structure turned me off a little, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. The characters in The Club also provide depth as they are all fun to play as and have some differences in terms of skills and stats. The characters are graded in stats such as strength, stamina, and speed. The differences are not vast, but they offer enough depth to play as each one. The controls are also very tight and very easy to use. Fire is controlled by pressing the right trigger, the player can use precise aim by holding the left trigger, and the player can spring by pressing the right bumper. These are the controls that will be used most often.
The shooting action in The Club is not for the faint of heart. This is the most action packed shooter I have played on next-gen consoles and any action fan will greatly appreciate this game. It is insanely thrilling to chain head shots together and make enemies beg for mercy. Each kill acts as a combo multiplayer and the overall outcome of the level is based on how many points the player scores using these combos. The guns in the game are average at best and they do not have names. They are just the basic pistol, shotgun, rifle, and sub-machine guns. The guns do sound pretty good, and are all fun to use when racking up kills. The online portion of the game is pretty broken and only provides minimal fun. Some of the team modes such as team fox hunt and team siege are cool ideas, but the overall mechanics are tough to grasp. First off, it takes many shots to take down someone else online, or if you land a headshot one shot. This just doesn't make sense. If you are playing someone good you can pound them with bullets and still die from one lucky headshot. Other modes of play include the standard deathmatch and team deathmatch. I would not buy this game for multiplayer, and the single player is easily twice as good as the multiplayer.
The graphics and sound are good, but they definitely are not the best the 360 or Ps3 can do. The characters look much better than the environments. The characters are very colorful and distinct, while the environments are pretty basic and bland looking. The enemies look pretty good. The character models often times pop up over and over again, but the player can barely notice due to the quickness of the game. As stated earlier the guns sound good, but other than that there aren't many sounds in the game. What is very cool is the beginning of each level where the typical Sega arcade narrator yells FIGHT!
Overall The Club is a pretty good game especially if you are looking for non stop action and can live with the possibility the game might get a little boring. I personally haven't experienced the boredom with the game but time will tell. The game can be found for about 30$ used, but I would wait to purchase until the game drops in price to 20-25$, which will happen because this game is flying under the radar. The game might even be a full 60$ purchase for those who love fast paced shooting games. As a not for achievement hoars the game will offer a fairly easy 500-650 points, but after that the rest are very difficult to achieve. A good 500 points can be obtained in 6 hours or so.