£9.99 @ Steam
Shooters are big, serious business these days, but The Club is having none of it - you pick from a range of pre-rolled hard-men caricatures with varying speed, strength and stamina statistics and then gun your way at pace through a series of grimy environments racking up kills as quickly as possible to build up combos.
It's from the makers of Project Gotham Racing. PGR wasn't just a brilliant driving game, it was a brilliant high-scores game, where half the fun came from stringing together absurd combinations of power-slides and overtaking manoeuvres and showing off at high speed in a car. The Club does the same trick of leaning into its source material thematically and mechanically but dancing away from it in design.
The result is a shooter that turns tired genre conventions around with a bullet to the shoulder. You're not just clearing levels to get to the next cut-scene, but you yearn for the next identikit enemy to appear, or for a turret gun to control, because these things keep the combo alive. Self-preservation is a secondary consideration; this is all about timing. An ever-present meter in the top-right ticks down from every kill-shot, forcing you to barrel forward for the next one. If you see an enemy, and you have time, you just keep on running toward them, only capping them when the meter's almost empty, doing a forward-roll beforehand to increase your score takeaway.
So the speed and the sense of linking moves together hangs over from PGR, but instead of learning corners, you learn enemy positions. If you fail to tag someone new in time, or to nail a hidden Skullshot icon in that window, then your combo starts to "bleed", reducing your multiplier, and you need to keep that multiplier up because you're not fighting your way to the end, you're fighting to get a better score than the other players on the leaderboard. When playing alone, these are AI players whose scores are presented to you before each round.
Overall, The Club is brilliantly immediate, logical and rewarding in ways that the PGR games always were and are, and it does for the third-person shooter what no one else has even bothered trying to do: moving it closer to the 2D shoot-'em-ups of old in a manner that appeals anew. In terms of Bizarre's canon, it is what PGR was for cars: familiar concepts designed to be enjoyed over and over rather than gasped at and discarded
The Club™, created by critically acclaimed developer Bizarre Creations, is a new breed of third-person shooter, combining fast-paced run and gun gameplay, destructive environments, and lethal weapons. You will fight to survive in a shadowy underground blood-sport controlled by a faceless, obscenely wealthy and influential elite who place their bets on who will survive as the blood-bath ensues before them. Take control of up to eight uniquely trained killers motivated by greed, driven by pure insane bloodlust, and hell bent on earning respect on a global level.
Rise Through the Ranks of The Club™. As one of eight fighters, blast your way through five single player game modes including: Sprint, Time Attack, Survivor, Siege, and Run the Gauntlet.
Earn Respect Online. Shoot your way to the top of the leader boards in over eight cut-throat multiplayer modes. You will face-off with 7 real-time opponents online or battle with your friends offline in 4-player action modes.
The Club™ is Global. Battle in eight unique real-world locations from around the globe, including war-torn cities, abandoned factories, steel mills and many more.
Extreme Gun Battles in Hazardous Environments. A motion blur camera system intensifies the adrenaline rush in both open range and close quarter firefights. Destroy and manipulate objects in the environment to your advantage.
Build up the highest score. A unique score-based accumulation system creates even more competition among players; the faster, more efficient and accurate that you are, the more points you will earn to unlock weapons, characters and maps.
Select from an Arsenal of Weaponry. There are 17 high-powered assault weapons to choose from and customize, including Automatic Weapons, Sniper Rifles, High Caliber Pistols, Sub Machine Guns, Mounted Weapons, and many more.
Each Character has a Story to Tell. Choose from eight different characters to rise through the ranks of The Club™ and uncover each person's true motives and intentions.