Zeno Clash is an action/fighting game set in a punk fantasy world. The game is played from a first person perspective and the combat is generally up close and brutal. Experience a deep storyline set in a fantastic world.
User reviews: Very Positive (1,454 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 21, 2009

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Recommended By Curators

"Zeno Clash is an action/fighting game set in a punk fantasy world."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

"... It feels refreshingly original and completely compelling."

8.4 of 10 —IGN

About This Game

Zeno Clash is an action/fighting game set in a punk fantasy world. The game is played from a first person perspective and the combat is generally up close and brutal.
Experience a deep storyline set in a fantastic world. Play the role of Ghat, a man banished by his own brothers and forced to begin a desperate journey past the forbidden desert and to the end of the world.
Nominated in 'Excellence in Visual Art' at the Independent Games Festival, the original visuals, which make full use of the Source engine features, breathe new air in the fantasy game genre. The new close combat mechanics are also a deviation from traditional action in the first-person genre that will feel fresh for new and veteran players.
  • Engaging melee combat in first person
    The new melee combat system allows players to perform a variety of movements like deflect & elude combos, knockback finisher punches and punishing grab attacks. Learn new attacks as the game progresses and confronts you with more formidable foes.
  • Fantastic visuals powered by the Source engine
    Players will be immersed in a fantastic world, beautiful and disturbing at the same time. The unprecedented art style brings a fresh new approach to the first person genre. The surreal environments and characters will keep players wanting to discover more.
  • Survival mode challenges
    Jump right into the action in engaging unlockable "tower challenges". The player must overcome enemy waves to progress through the tower levels. The game will rate the player in different categories like speed and performance. A leaderboards system will rank you against your friends, so the challenge never ends.
  • Deep storyline
    Players will play the role of Ghat; the son of a impressive hermaphrodite creature called Father-Mother, whose children form the most powerful clan in the city of Halstedom. Ghat must escape from his family and start an incredible journey with his female companion Deadra, who will aid him in the dangerous lands of Zenozoik.
  • Bizarre weapons
    The game features an unusual arsenal of eccentric weapons that are built from scraps and junk. Hammers and clubs will be the most effective when fighting heavy characters that can only be brought down with extreme force.
  • The Zeno Clash Model Pack for Garry's Mod
    The pack includes 70 models with the characters and creatures to be used with the popular Source engine mod Garry's Mod. "This is a great addition to the existing library of assets and we really hope the fans will enjoy the content and start developing their own Zeno Clash inspired videos, screens or machinima." says Andres Bordeu from ACE Team. Zeno Clash owners can download the free DLC from the Tools tab in their Steam client.

System Requirements

    Minimum
    • Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / Vista64
    • Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 3.0 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: At least 3 GB of free space
    • Video Card: 128 MB, Shader model 2.0, ATI 9600, NVidia 6600 or better
    • Sound Card: DirectX® 9.0c compatible sound card
    • DirectX® Version: DirectX® 9.0c, DirectX® 10
    Recommended
    • Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / Vista64
    • Processor: Intel® core 2 duo 2.4GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: At least 3 GB of free space
    • Video Card: Shader model 3.0, NVidia 7600, ATI X1600 or better
    • Sound Card: DirectX® 9.0c compatible sound card
    • DirectX® Version: DirectX® 9.0c, DirectX® 10
    • Controller: Supported
Helpful customer reviews
33 of 35 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
24.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 18
+ Combat system is incredibly simple and satisfying; everything connects and feels right, making this the game's greatest strength
+ Character designs are creative and interesting; just the right mixture of weird and entertaining
+ Strange weapon designs; very original in every respect (if you've seen the 1999 film ExistenZ, imagine the chicken bone gun, and populate an entire game-world with the same concept)
+ Control scheme is efficient, and every button-press felt natural and satisfying
+ Strange, yet appropriate soundtrack; did well to set the mood and keep you feeling mildly unsettled
+ Atmospheric elements worked well with the environmental set-pieces to make for an absolutely bizarre world; I must say that this level of creativity, while unconventional, was a breath of fresh air
+ Challenging, adaptive AI; enemies really keep you on your toes in the best possible way (save for a few, minor shortcomings - some of the bosses are also a bit too easy to cheese)

- Terrible voice-acting
- Stiff, clumsy animations
- Frustrating and unnecessary lock-on system
- Save for a (rather dull) Challenge Mode, and the ability to unlock cheat codes for the campaign, this title has virtually no replay value
- Largely weak sound effects
- Poorly explained, muddled plot with little character development and too many answers left out (topped off with a mediocre cliffhanger)

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21 of 21 people (100%) found this review helpful
90.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
xeno- prefix. from Ancient Greek ξένος (ksénos, “alien”) a. Having to do with foreigners, as in xenophilia, or more commonly, xenophobia. b. From a foreign place, as in xenolith.

clash noun. onomatopoeic a. A skirmish, a hostile encounter. b. Opposition, contradiction, such as between differing or contending interests, views, purposes etc.

In my imagination, the development of Xeno-- sorry, Zeno Clash -- started when folks at Ace Team got together, got high, and got onto the subject of ancient mythologies (Roman, Greek, Norse, etc.) and how weird they all were. I mean, if you want crazy characters and crazier stories, you need look no further than some of the gods and goddesses traipsing around back in the day. Athena, birthed fully formed out of the sweaty forehead of Zeus; Pan, the goat-god of wanton sex; Artemis, goddess of the hunt, who for some reason was depicted in various interpretations as being literally covered with breasts; Medusa, she of the stylish snake perm and stony gaze, being some kind of metaphor for psychosexual wackiness (I'm pretty sure we can blame Freud for that); Jeff, the God of Biscuits; and even some nutter who told people to eat some bread and drink some wine and pretend it was his flesh and his blood... I mean, ew, dude. I'm sure we have enough problems without adding cannibalism to it. So anyway, the developers were shooting the breeze about Gods and Golden Fleece and rivers of blood and whatever until one guy, as I imagine it, stood up and went, "Yeah... but like, what if... Dude! What if there were, like, aliens, right? And they were weird, like totally, heh, but then, like, THEY also had myths and ♥♥♥♥! I mean... dude..."

So that's where this game comes from, more or less. There is a distinct dreamlike quality inherent in the stories of myth, fantastical and larger than life, and that is the feeling you get as you find your way through the land of Zenozoik. It feels deliciously alien and new, in the visuals and in the story (neither of which go out of their way to make a lot of sense, but it's still easy enough to follow). You'll see and hear a lot of weird stuff, and sooner or later, you just go with the flow because it's weirdly seductive. Even running on the old Source engine, and looking a bit dated now in 2015, the art and design and imagination of the dev team comes through in nearly every area so that you will truly think you are in fact running around on an impossibly, impossibly alien world. Luckily, they do at least have one thing in common with us here on Earth: they really like punching the stuffing out of each other.

If you've seen anything about Zeno Clash you already know the basics: it's a first-person brawler-shooter. Way more emphasis on the brawling than the shooting, thankfully. You, a fugitive on the run, have a modest set of fighting moves at your disposal, such as light and strong punches, blocks, dodges, counterattacks, grabs and throws. Unfortunately, so do your opponents for the most part, although they will also attack you at range if they get a chance. You get a small selection of weapons yourself, and they come in handy once in a while but the majority of your combat will be served in knuckle sandwiches. And they were never so tasty: combat feels fantastic in this game. It's fun, responsive and fast, with a good amount of variety (though there could be more), and it's super satisfying to land an uppercut on some chump and watch him go flying. I didn't really think I'd enjoy such a melee-focused FPS but after playing this I stand corrected, it's ridiculously fun. I even enjoyed the few bits where you are required to tote a rifle or another firearm, although I am glad those bits were few. They're not bad, really -- the rifle in particular sounds great, and it's amusing to plunk away at dudes with the double-fisted handguns -- but save for a couple spots you won't really get that much of a chance to use them because enemies will do their best to rush you if you're shooting at them, and none of the weapons are viable at close quarters.

One thing you will notice right off the bat is the voice acting, and it is... hmm. How to describe it. Well, your first impression will probably be "Oh my god this is bad." And you wouldn't really be wrong, especially with regards to the main character. He is, let's say, from the same acting school as Christopher Walken and William Shatner, only he flunked out hard. His lines are awkwardly paced, and weirdly inexpressive; he speaks in a stilted, matter-of-fact tone. All of that might turn you off -- which is why I'm mentioning it -- but honestly, his weirdness actually fits the game very well. There is often dialogue that sounds so insane on paper, but because of the way he delivers his lines, it instead sounds believable and ordinary, which makes the bizarre setting of the game even more bizarre. All in all, it works for me. It may not work for you.

It's not a very long game (ignore my obscenely long playtime), but it's a fully-formed, enjoyable, weird as all hell story that will have you doing at least one or two double-takes because you have probably never heard sentences like these in a game before. The fighting is hard and fast and so enjoyable, the world is filled with delicious weirdness for your eyes, and the trusty Source engine shines through even for a six year old game. I don't know about you, but it absolutely charmed the pants off me with how little Ace Team cared for making the "right" game, and made a fun, unique, and beautifully bizarre one instead.
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24 of 29 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 8
TL:DR? See Conclusion

INTRODUCTION:
Zeno Clash is a first-person melee fighting game developed by ACE Team using Valve's famous Source Engine and released on Steam back in 2009.

The story begins with Ghat, the game's protagonist, waking up after being knocked out by an explosion which killed a creature known as Father-Mother who is the leader of a very powerful mafia like family in the small town of Halstedom. The protagonist Ghat is presumably one of Father-Mother's children who turned rogue and ran away from home and is now being pursued by his 'brothers and sisters' (enforcers of Father-Mother). Join him and his companion Deadra in a quest to discover the truth of about Ghat's past and trace back the series of events that led to the explosion.

PROS:
+ Excellent use of the Source Engine
+ Good fisticuffs (melee) combat mechanic
+ Surreal world and environment
+ Complex but enjoyable story
+ Interesting character, item and monster designs
+ Item variety
+ Good sound effects and voice acting
+ The Devs were probably high during this game's production
+ Challenging difficulties

CONS:
- Extremely short (4-5 hours game time in my last playthrough)
- Almost no replay value (except for the tower challenge mode)
- Difficult learning curve
- Story is a bit difficult to follow
- Short linear levels (In my opinion, linear games are fine as long as the levels are lengthy and enjoyable)
- No character progression (no armors, level ups or item upgrades)

CONCLUSION:
GOOD GAME. Zeno Clash sports a very unique art style that places you in a very surreal world with a strange geography and is populated by strange creatures all brought to life by the developer's clever use of Valve's Source Engine. The combat mechanics is fun albeit a little frustrating at times and hard to learn however, the items does give variety to the player's fighting style. The game should provide you with at least 4-5 hours of game time with its campaign with an added 'Tower Challenge' if the player wants to test his skills.

I RECOMMEND this game mostly for the experience but the short game time could be an issue, still though, Zeno Clash is a fun game to play. I can't honestly cannot recommend it at full price (even if it is only $10 or your regional equivalent), so getting it on a sale is probably a better idea.

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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 17
A bizarre, unique and fun first-person beat-em-up!

Video review:
https://youtu.be/h2NZCTcLCR0
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
13.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 6
Do you want to kill a blind weird-looking creature with a dead crab attached to his occiput while he is standing on the head of a giant giraffe-elephant-ish creature and throwing you squirrels with bombs on their back?

Well, then buy this game!
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