Review by RooCH
"Occult following? Not with this title - A RooCH review"
Clive Barkers Jericho is a squad based first person shooter, with an occult twist. The rough concept is that a secret city in the middle of nowhere has surfaced, and contains the "firstborn", which was a being god created before man. Generally speaking it's a good concept, and allows for a fair amount of story twists and interesting character concepts. But does this, a good game make?
Whilst not ground breaking, the graphics are still of a high level comparatively, and best of all maintain a relatively solid framerate, even in large conflicts. The games main hook is that Clive Barker has had a real influence on the characters, and it's very evident in the style of enemies you face. Like an S&M dungeon meets WW2, the enemies are usually leather bound, rotting psychopaths. They all definitely have realistic flesh textures, but their movement is often a bit off. But certainly the environment often sets the scene well, and you will occasionally find yourself looking around, just taking it all in.
This is where the game both flourishes, and suffers. Being a squad based shooter, the idea was clearly to make not an easy interface, rather one that allows you to do everything needed. So whilst the actual act of running and gunning is well done, and you feel the ability to pop heads with relative ease, the character selection, weapon refinement and power use can all be a bit stifling. As well as the heavy HUD, a problem I found quite often was the AI getting stuck. Three squad members into one small alleyway does not fit, as I am well aware, but the AI evidently is not. Several times I found myself having to back off, and order the characters around to free them. A regular occurrence, and a real annoyance. But on the whole, the gameplay feels solid, if a bit complex.
The sound in this game is both great, and annoying. Great in that it is obviously designed with the theme in mind, but it can sometimes be a bit too repetitive. The enemies all generally have the same scream, or weapon noise, so when you are attacked by a wave, you can sometimes wish the sound were a bit more varied. But the music is always maintained well, and rises and lowers depending on the intensity of combat. But the flesh squelch noise of the menu is nothing but annoying.
Overall, the game is a flawed, but enjoyable single player shooter. I generally prefer hard games, and always have the highest difficulty selected first, and this game did not disappoint. Many other reviews have complained about this, but I feel it gives you enough room whilst not making it too easy. But truly the AI related problems hold this back from being a great game. And another major flaw in my mind is the farce that is "Bonus codes". You literally have to phone a premium pay phoneline to obtain cheat codes, and frankly, I find the practice more than a little distasteful. Hopefully Codemasters will have learned from the bad press it has received not to try such tactics again.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 03/31/09
Game Release: Clive Barker's Jericho (EU, 10/26/07)
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