Creed Arena brings 3D shooter action to XBLIG

Review of Creed Arena on XBLIG: Try
Similar to games like Unreal Tournament, Creed Arena is a fun 3D shooter with a few twists.

In concept, Creed Arena is very similar to shooters like Unreal Tournament and Quake III, where deathmatch and CTF aren’t just multiplayer add-ons, they’re the focus of the campaign itself.

As I write this, I’m tempted to use the term first-person shooter, but there’s actually no first-person mode in this game.  Instead, the camera can switch between the more traditional third-person over-the-shoulder view and a top-down view—the type you might expect to see in a dual-stick shooter or hack-and-slash RPG.  (I stuck with the more familiar third-person view and was satisfied with how it played.)

The game’s storyline is sparse, as expected with most tournament shooters.  You take on the role of a nameless futuristic gladiator forced to fight in arena combat.  The game introduces several unique factions, such as the Androids and the Kremlins, which flesh out the world a bit and keep it from being too generic.  I would have liked a bit more backstory to tie together this mishmash of sci-fi plot elements, but it doesn’t detract from the game itself.

The gladiator concept is woven into the gameplay by way of a “Fans” mechanic.  Kills and trick shots earn additional Fans.  Earning a large number of Fans rapidly will trigger “Crowd Rage” mode, which gives significant boosts to his running and jumping abilities.  Fans are also tallied up and added to leaderboards after every battle.  The solo campaign revolves around attaining a #1 ranking.

Gameplay is generally good.  There’s not much to say—it’s everything you’d expect out of a polished shooter.  The game’s 17 levels feature modes ranging from team deathmatch to “Collect the Kegs” (similar to CTF) to earning the most Fans.  The game also offers split-screen co-op and XBox Live multiplayer modes, although I didn’t try out either of these.

Despite the overall quality of the game, there are a few rough edges.  Gladiators can only carry one weapon, and touching a weapon automatically picks it up.  The same button is used to fire guns and perform melee attacks—the only difference is whether a gladiator is close to an enemy.  In game modes that aren’t based on number of kills, there’s no way to quickly check standings.  The levels are playable, but most of them are on the small side for a shooter.

Overall, I give Creed Arena a Try.  Even with the rough edges, it’s a solid, fun game.  It took me about three hours to finish the solo campaign, but (like any good tournament FPS) there’s high potential replay value.  Give it a few games to see if it hooks you.

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