Review by SireAzmodan
"Good idea, bad deliverance"
Right off the bat, I'm going to say I HATE this game; it has got to be one of the worst games I've ever played, and out of all the bad games I've played (a lot) this one manages to stick with me. First, let's start with the upsides:
Though lacking in the flare I expect to see in a next gen FPS, this game's graphics are flawless. Smooth textures, fitting environments, and a nice load of detail all around. However, for a supernatural FPS it left me wanting a bit more.
If this game had no cut scenes and no dialogue between the squad, it'd be a 10/10. The game itself delivers fully with screams, on-qeue gunshots, and it's the icing on the cake for the graphics in creating a dark environment-based shooter. However, the voice-overs are terrible, opting always for lame jokes and sarcasm in some dire attempt to keep you interested. I've got to say that it backfired, since you'll be hearing the same stupid things for the duration of the game. Remember Navi from Ocarina of Time? Yeah, it's that annoying.
This game gets a thumbs-up on what it's trying to do. You're able to switch between squad members (unlocking some a little bit later than others) at any given time. As it's a supernatural game, each of your squad members have unique abilities, from a hulking behemoth with a minigun and fire magic, to a woman with a carbine that can pinpoint enemy weak points, and even a woman with a rapid-fire pistol and a knife who can use blood runes to freeze her enemies in their tracks. It's impossible to beat the game without switching to these team mates, but you'll find that isn't too much of a problem when you get into their abilities. It does have some set-backs, however...
Now we get to the parts of the game that make it the abomination it is:
The enemy AI is near-brilliant; tactical, many times difficult, and often luring you into somewhat of an ambush. No flaws here, they're pretty difficult enemies all in all. Your squad, however, has the stupidest AI I've seen on a friendly party since the Marines in Halo: Combat Evolved. Instead of going for cover or even just simply strafing, these morons will just stand in one spot and shoot at your enemies, and by the time you switch out or revive your teammates one (if not both) of you will be incapacitated. The worst part about it is they're not too bad at the beginning of the game, but you'll find yourself asking "Instead of all the tacky jokes, can my squad tell me there's a guy behind me instead of shooting him and letting him blow up and incapacitate me anyway?!" The thing is that if you're even slightly skilled at first person shooters, this game would be far too easy if your squad was smart - the difficulty comes from needing to revive your team mates and putting yourself in the line of fire every ten seconds because they're too stupid to crouch behind their cover, and instead just take the frigging hits!
I like the idea, but the truth is it makes no sense. It raises so many questions and leaves them unanswered by the end of the game, and I fail to understand why supernatural creatures need to use heavy guns. Before they put this game out, did Clive Barker even look at this story? I can't expect much from the guy that made Hellraiser, a series which raises more questions than it does answers with every sequel released, but it's obvious endorsing this game was just a financial move and not one of sincere interest towards this game, and proves to the world how a hack attaching his name to a video game will help the game succeed by piggybacking on his/her success. Hmm, this sounds familiar to me...what's that other hack's name? Tom...Chancy? I'd also like to bring up that after the beginning there really isn't very much in the way of cut scenes. Instead the story is given to you in the loading screen. I have to ask a question: if you're going to force us to read, can you at the very least reward those interested in this game's terrible story by not having one letter come up every half-second? I swear my wireless's battery must have been depleted more by the text than by the game itself.
Controls aren't bad, all in all. Attacks work with the bumpers and triggers for the most part, and the rest is traditional to other FPS games....with a huge exception. How can you have enemies that hobble into you to explode and not have a jump button? The melee is also far too slow to ever be considered practical, and since most of your enemies can incapacitate you immediately in herds or if you lose the mini-game, you'll find range is the only smart thing unless your squad member specializes in close-quarters combat. Again, without the ability to jump this is still risky in many situations. It feels very sluggish, like your character is wearing a lead coat. Ere go, the maneuverability this game offers leaves a lot to be desired.
As far as FPS combat is concerned, this game does deliver. It's no Bioshock or Left 4 Dead, but if you're into mindless, gun-toting violence this game gets the ball rolling. The game eases you into the controls of the game, as well as the abilities of your team mates, and since there's a fair deal of things to remember, that's a very good aspect. In saying that, it also makes me feel that the game took a bit too long to really get going, because you could have figured out the controls with fifteen seconds of button-mashing. What I mean is that the levels are too short, and there just isn't enough combat throughout the game for the slow start to be feasible. The biggest flaw for me were the quick-action mini-games. It seems that ever since that masterpiece God of War graced us with its glory, so many titles have endeavored to do what it did and capture a more intimate gaming experience by never letting you ditch a cut scene to get a damn drink! God of War did it right, and the only other game I can think of that comes even close is Ninja Blade. As I said, the lacking team AI when compared to the enemy AI leave huge holes in the gameplay, and the seemingly-endless enemy waves don't help in adding allure, making replaying this game an inconceivable option. Despite the enemy fights, which are far and few between, they are somewhat difficult since they generally go on for quite a while, but aside from taking a lot of hits to kill, wielding weapons unfitting to the enemy and the game itself, your foes are usually pretty easy to deal with.
The game's achievements are pretty much all attainable with one play through, so it gets points for that since you wouldn't want to be caught dead playing this game after you've beaten it. Nonetheless, you have to ask yourself if 1,000 gamerscore is worth the frustration you'll inevitably endure with this game. If your answer is yes, then prepare to get some easy points. Otherwise, unless you're a die-hard FPS or Clive Barker fan and this review piqued your curiosities, stay away from it. It just isn't worth it in the end.
In summary, I just want to say that this game is a cruel joke, having so much promise but too many flaws. In retrospect I may have been a bit more lenient had I not just completed a play through of Bioshock before picking up this game. This is a game that has people both praising it and bashing it, and in both cases I can understand why, but if you have to check this game out, rent it, because I literally can't even give this game away.
Reviewer's Rating: 0.5 - Unplayable
Originally Posted: 12/16/09
Game Release: Clive Barker's Jericho (US, 10/23/07)
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