Review by Stabby
"While not without its flaws and despite what other reviewers will say, Jericho is a solid enough FPS."
With a release date so close to that of Halo 3, can anyone even try to like another game? While I easily could of it seems to me that Jericho has gotten bad press for simply not being Halo 3 as opposed to its actual substance. The games does well in what it sets out to do, bring the style of Clive Barker and mix it up for a satisfying FPS. Granted, the game does have its flaws but such issues are far from making it unplayable like certain reviews might want you to think.
Of course I won't be spoiling anything but as a basic low-down it goes like this: Before Adam and Eve, God's first attempt was deemed to powerful and so this "First Born" is hidden away. When it tries to break free, it is stopped by a band of troops but each time they do it takes that piece of time back with it. Trust me, it will all make sense once you've played it. The Jericho squad is the main focus of course. You'll get an incredibly diverse bunch of misfits from a gun wielding priest in a trench coat, fanatical ninja witch, bad tempered flame summoner off death row... even, as quoted from the game: "telekinetic lesbian sniper". Again, the game will do a better job explain this band, of which you'll get a good team of 7, each with different attitudes towards there final goal, even with some odd voice work which I will cover a little latter. You'll find most of them likeable and will even pick out a favourite, even if you don't find them the most useful to play as. The plot has a nice flow, each travelling from time to time slice under the bloodthirsty dominion of the Firstborn, which also hosts other inhabitants from different periods, also distressingly twisted but hey its Clive Barker after all. Also the game isn't actually scarey, but what you get instead is plenty enough which I'll also be covering later. However I will still say the ending is quick and leaves plenty unanswered, but if, and that's a big IF, they make another game, in the run p at least I'll know something will happen from it. Disappointing, yes, but once you've completed it; it won't make any other future play through meaningless if you care about game stories. Its no grand show with twists and that big of an in depth background like BioShock or Oblivion but as a rather straight forward FPS, it has more than most.
Being a triple release of the PS3, PC and 360, one would assume for the visuals to be cutting edge. Well that will depend on your previous gaming history and taste. Having played such visually spectacular titles such as Gears of War and Bio Shock, with massive depth and scope like Oblivion and Half Life 2, you will most likely not be taken off guard by Jericho. However, that being said, the graphics are enough to make it playable and still visually interesting. I won't lie to you though, allot of levels are filled with bland halls and painted on grit landscapes. You'll see the same structure throughout each level despite the promise of going through various "time slices", but you might as well be stuck in a 21st century theme park haunted house. There are however certain levels that do add more to the imagination. First off even though there is a great level of repetition in design, at least is grows in variety as the game progresses, sadly however the most visually pleasing of these comes at the last of the time slices but when you finally arrive you should be "wowed" by the large ancient fortresses, spires and golden hallways. So how can the graphics not be mediocre if I've just ranted against it? In short, it's the character models. Friend and foe come in all shapes and sizes... and skins... While many will complain about the lack of unique foes to each time slice, you can't deny that what you get isn't a feast for the eyes, no pun intended. While hordes of lumbering bleeding sacks of flesh, to skin mummified demonic skeletons, you'll quickly recognise the characteristics of Clive Barker, with a good does of Hell Riser in the "blood works", although if you've been around the horror based games, you'll already be familiar with the likes of Silent Hill and the Suffering which are full of the same vile corpses. But hey, at least you get to have a go at them with a new set of characters. Each Jericho squad member, while talking with mouth movement of a Monty Python cartoon sketch, the slick and shiny clothes and explosive firepower, which there'll be allot of, will make shore there's never a visually dull moment.
I'll skip out the metaphors and one-liners to try and sound professional, and just cut to the chase. The voice acting is not bad, but it's not great either. While some characters have little emotion and tension within their speech, others are just placed quickly to fill the gaps that's are the rest of the team. You'll grow fond of Rawlings' almost peachy tone and Black's constant "pissed off vibe" while you'll grow tied of Delgado's self imposed "hard man" status and Cole's quick yet feeble voice. Even sometimes you'll notice laugh at the cheesy quotes, both in the sense that they fit the situation, break the tension and/or impose a nice dose of irony and sadly in the sense of being just embarrassing and talking over it while someone passes by you playing it. As for the test, they never make an impact and Capt. Ross is neither here nor there, he just sounds like your typical military game character, although a note to many hypocrite reviews out there, to complain about Ross should mean you should complain about Gears of War, being its the same voice actor. As for the creature's growls, cracking grounds, ripping flesh and exploding bullets, its all enough to enhance the experience. The music can also help; giving you the vibe you got from Painkiller although it's still pretty forgettable.
What strikes me most about the gameplay is that its not broken or unbalanced like many reviews will say, it's challenging. After the first 4 hours I came to the conclusion that many reviewers just didn't know how to play the game. I mean fort example, and I'll make this bold and clear:
YOU DO NOT SPEND MOST OF THE TIME HEALING FALLEN TEAMMATES IF YOU APPLY ALITTLE STRATEGY TO IT! ITS NOT A RUN AND GUN SHOOTER, YOU HAVE TO THINK! IF YOU DON'T YOU WILL END UP WITH THE PROBLEM MOST REVIEWERS HAD!
You see, I got incredibly angry, not because I disagreed with the final scores, they do have some points to be made but the idea the game forces you to keep healing rather than shooting is false and I wonder how many other great games people missed out on due to false and even biased information? Granted Jericho is very linear but then again so is BioShock and Gears of Wars, I think it's just more noticeable being that the game is mostly set in small spaces and so it will become noticeable than others. As for the firefights, there's plenty of it. You'll get a good variety of different weapons, all easy to switch between and a decent set of commands for the rest of the party. The powers you'll also wield are both interesting and useful, however some more than others. For example, Rawlings' healing from a distance helps in sticky situations, while Church's blood magic to halt enemies helps when overwhelmed while Black's "ghost bullet" (the ability to control the direction of the bullet) is just plain fun to use. Jones on the other hand is only good for scripted situations while Cole's slow down time has been done before... ALOT of times. While I'll agree with Gamespot and also point out the great levels like the Roman coliseum, that's not to say the rest is dull. Even in small bland spaces, the freakishly high amount of gore and action makes Jericho a challenging experience. While it does seem rather familiar, what could be called "more of the same" is a great and enhanced "more of the same". You'll get a reasonable 6-8 hour run, although the higher difficultly settings can add to it and if you're an Achievement whore, the Jericho is for you, its loaded with great challenges. It could be longer and the aspect of no multiplayer is just heart breaking to some, but I have faith and can see downloadable options coming...
Jericho isn't a grand fright fest... or even that grand of a fest, but just a good old fun fest - as a FPS it is still a solid experience. With the interesting array of characters, weapons and powers, foes, twists and turns... Jericho is enough to recommend to Clive Barker fans and those looking for a decent enough shooter in a world of constant attempts to be the next big thing. And while it does have its issues, and certainly no Painkiller or Doom, I fail to see that main reason for bitterness by so many reviewers.
- Interesting story
- Range of characters and weapons
- Pure Clive Barker style
- Challenging gameplay
- Poor ending
- Some visual and vocal repetition
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/07
Game Release: Clive Barker's Jericho (EU, 10/26/07)
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