Survive and complete each event and you make it to the end of that stage of the tournament. Earn enough points while you’re doing so and you can finish in a podium position and go on to the next stage. The challenge is, then, not just completing each event but completing each event with more points than your rival contenders. On the easy ‘casual’ setting this isn’t much of a challenge, but switch up to the ‘reckless’ setting and you’re in for a shock. Suddenly, you’re not coming first but down towards the bottom end of the results table. This is The Club’s way of telling you to raise your game.
Doing so takes practice. The trick isn’t just killing your enemies but chaining together those kills into tasty combos. Basically, ABK, or Always Be Killing. Take out the guy on the left at close range, then squeeze the left trigger to zoom and pop a headshot on the guy to the right. Now hit the ‘skullshot’ target on the wall to keep the combo going and rack up your bonus, then push forwards and blast the guy coming round the corner. Keep the kills coming thick and fast, and you might just end up with a high score at the end. Headshots, ‘penetrator’ shots, and death rolls (roll into position, then pop) all help, as do explosions that vaporise multiple targets in one go. The game even rates you for what weapon you’re using and whatever your now dead foe was packing. In the meantime, you also need to balance the demands of combo maintenance with those of survival. If you don’t grab health packs where available and watch your own back, you might not even get to the end.
To be honest, managing all that is going on does take some raw talent – and some solid experience in other shooters goes a long way – but it also takes repetition. Knowing the level, the position of the skullshot targets and the directions from which enemies will come will enable you to plot your route through and chain together combos. Understanding which weapon to use at which time will also boost your high score.
This is also where choosing the right character comes in handy. Of the eight options available, some – like the Russian, Dragov – are slow-moving tanks. This gives them an advantage in Survival and Siege events but not in the Gauntlet or Time Attack challenges. Others – like the Japanese cop, Kuro – max out speed at the expense of strength and stamina. As in a fighting game, you have to learn to work with the strengths and weaknesses of each character. As the disgraced US cop, Renwick, you can afford to take a fairly balanced approach, constantly moving forwards and hitting hard where it counts. If you play as the Nigerian bruiser, Adjo, then you can’t move so fast but you do have brute strength on your side. In a way, these guys also work like cars in a racing game. While you can theoretically tackle any event with any character, some combinations work better than others.