Sunday, 18 July 2010

Review: Clive Barker's Jericho

Clive Barker's Jericho is as much fun as you make it - a squad of seven special ops straight from the Laundry each of which is equipped with enough weapons and supernatural abilities to be the lead protagonist in any other first person shooter.

And that is its greatest failing. Jericho cries out for the inspired level design and puzzle solving featured in the God of War series, and makes the mistake of borrowing the quick time events instead. And it is because you never spend enough time with any one of the squad that you will miss the depth and subtleties of each soldier's specialties.

Jericho desperately needs a Miyamoto to craft it puzzles using a strong visual language or a Warren Spector to build places explorable using a wide variety of strategies, or even just the rebel encampment from the original Predator movie to allow you to practice all the bad-assedry you'll finally get comfortable with just as the game is winding down.

You'll end up blaming the AI or seemingly under-powered characters* or uninspired corridors with their monster closet cramped close quarter fighting when you should instead be celebrating the fact that you can be a self-cutting ninja with a machine pistol whose blood sprouts snaking tentacles which grasp out at your enemies while you slice them limb from limb, or a dual-pistol wielding priest with three different ammunition load outs per weapon who can drain the life of his enemies and resurrect the fallen, or a telekinetic sniper who can steer bullets with her mind and whose high performance rifle has an under-slung grenade launcher, or an astral walking ancient history expert who has thoughtfully attached an automatic shotgun to his assault rifle - and can set alight or blood ward any creature he possesses, or a warlock with a mini-gun, a demon embedded in his arm and the largest customized pistol I've ever seen, or a reality distorting, time slowing technical expert with programmable grenades who can conjure ammunition for the rest of the team and scan enemies for weak spots.

But in fact, you are all of them.

Clive Barker's Jericho is available on Steam for a criminally low price. Play it because more games need warlocks with mini-guns.

* Two glaring examples of how badly the game explains or requires the protagonists powers: almost every review cites Jones, the astral traveler, as being underpowered. Except he can set on fire any enemy at any range which he can see, and use Church's blood magic abilities at a distance where she must do so close up. And Cole's visor highlights enemies weak spots, should you zoom in. I neither used or was aware of either ability on the first play through.


Zack said...

I bought it, at $2.50. Because of your reveiw.

Andrew Doull said...

Keep an open mind and you'll enjoy it more...