Review by horror_spooky
"Clive Barker thinks he's Tom Clancy"
Tom Clancy became famous in the video game world when video games started being released with his likeness attached to them. From Rainbow Six to Ghost Recon to Splinter Cell, Tom Clancy's video games have all turned out to be entertaining and fulfilling gaming experiences. Well, if you're familiar with Hellraiser then you know that Clive Barker is a horror writer and he's trying his hand at video games by helping create a horror game that takes a lot from Tom Clancy's popular Rainbow Six games. The result is Jericho, which even has Clive Barker's likeness too it as well.
Jericho tries to be like Rainbow Six pretty much right off the bat by incorporating squad-based gameplay. You control two teams of three at a time, but the squad mechanics are so under-emphasized that they didn't even really matter. Seriously, you can just ignore this part of the game completely and you'll have very minimal worries. Plus, no matter what you tell your teammates to do they will just start following you when you start moving again. Really, did the game even need this mechanic? It just ends up being a waste of screen anyway.
After a little while into the game you are introduced to the game's main feature of gameplay and that is switching between characters. This feature was actually surprisingly cool. Rawlings can heal people from a distance and curse enemies while Black can move things with her telekinesis. Other characters have other unique abilities that would have almost made the game if it wasn't for the major, MAJOR, flaw that I'm about to come across. Also, as a side note, some of the character's abilities were a little annoying to pull off for some reason and, especially with Jones, the controls were sometimes unresponsive.
What is also pretty cool about Jericho is that each character has weapons unique to them as well. Church has a sweet katana and an uzi while Delgado is toting a big machine gun. Melee moves are available, but sadly the totally awesome katana is brought down with the simple three-button combos that make melee way less awesome than it could have been. You can break a ton of stuff that is lying around the environment which really proves that Jericho can be considered a next-generation title.
Gears of War has really had a big influence on the way games are played in the seventh generation of games so far, with its damage system finding itself finding its way into many games (I know that Gears of War didn't create this system, but it did make it famous). However, I wish Gears' amazing covering system was used because the only way to really save yourself in Jericho is to run away and hop behind a wall. This makes the action feel pretty lame, especially compared to the highly intense action of Gears. Your partners seem to die constantly in Jericho and usually just run guns blazing into battle, ending up dead and in an area where it's difficult to revive them. Crouching is also not a very good way of protecting yourself because if you run too fast you stand right back up, making the small barricades lying around the environments an obsolete source for protection.
As you progress through the level-based storyline you'll begin to realize that each level is pretty much works out the same way. As you progress through the levels there are select areas where enemies will appear. Basically, all you do is stand as far back as possible and unload into the monsters. After that, you usually get a checkpoint (though in the later levels lack of checkpoints can really become a pain in the ass) and then you keep walking until you find some more monsters to mow down. This goes on endlessly and it definitely hurts the game. For some, this may not sound like a big deal, but after doing the same thing over and over and over it makes you want to take a nap. Obviously, this was the major flaw I was talking about I just can't believe the developers ruined what could have been a very good game with unbelievably repetitive gameplay.
Moving on to something that is kind of interesting, there are button-press sequences in the game ala Resident Evil 4 that appear too infrequently to break up the annoyingly repetitive gameplay present throughout most of the game. You have to press the buttons way quicker than in Resident Evil 4, so it may take a couple of times to get the hang of what buttons you need to press, but at least the game lets you retry one of these sequences immediately after you lose.
Since Clive Barker is behind the game, you would expect the game to have a decent story, and at least in this area the game delivers fully. There are some moments that will shock you and others that will actually make you think about things. Whenever a game can get you to think about life, that's a good thing. Although some of the characters are a little soulless, the others are actually kind of interesting and, dare I say, entertaining to watch and listen to? The basic just of everything is that an elite anti-paranormal team known as Jericho has been sent to find out about all the weird stuff happening in the desert. The tale that follows is creepy and one of the best horror stories I've seen for a long time.
Gruesome is one word to describe the graphics in Jericho. The monsters are disgusting and some of the scenes in the game are absolutely revolting. Which is a very good thing, ya know. The character models are great and kind of resemble how the characters look in Gears of War. My major complaints about the graphics is that the same kind of enemies appear way too many times (plus some of them look like they were pulled directly from the Suffering for the PlayStation 2) and the environments, while pretty, don't change very much.
I loved a lot of the dialogue in Jericho since it fit perfectly with the horror setting, but the characters repeated some lines so many times that it became annoying really fast. The score is pretty great and fits with the setting nice. Creepy voices come out of nowhere and while they're not that scary, they are still freaking weird. The sound syncs nicely with the game overall, so Jericho does pretty well in the sound department.
Another major drawback of Jericho is that the game just isn't that long. I mean, it's long enough to be satisfying, but not long enough to provide very many compelling reasons to want to go through the story again. Honestly, the only reason you'll want to go through the game's levels again is to do it on a harder difficulty in order to earn achievements. There are some extras to unlock (which you unlock by getting achievements) but they really aren't that compelling. Jericho would have had been much, much better if it had cooperative or even competitive multiplayer components. Honestly, when a game is banking pretty much entirely on achievements to provide replayability they falter greatly.
Clive Barker's Jericho draws ideas from popular games like Rainbow Six and, to some extent, the popular Call of Duty franchise, but adds its own flavor to the mix. Sadly, its some of the features that Jericho took from Rainbow Six that ended up being one of the game's downfalls. I know Clive Barker wants to be Tom Clancy, but if the developers took more of a chance with the gameplay design then I think that Jericho would have excelled and proved itself worthy as a significant game as the seventh generation continues.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 04/08/08
Game Release: Clive Barker's Jericho (US, 10/23/07)
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