Review by Bkstunt_31
Not scary in the least, but still a good game!
Clive Barker's Jericho is a mixture between a first-person shooter game and a horror game, although for me it's hard to be scared in any FPS game when the ammo is plentiful and the baddies can be killed. I first picked up Jericho in the bargain bin, which didn't surprise me too much since I've heard the general assessment of the game to be more or less "meh", but after playing through the whole game here's a quick idea of what I thought of it:
First of all, no game is truly complete without a good story. Jericho's story is rather interesting, as it is basically centered on a governmental group of occult fighters who combat paranormal threats. The threat in this case is the Firstborn, which was apparently God's first failed attempt at creating life, which he rejected and banished to a separate dimension. However, an ex-Jericho member, Arnold Leach, is attempting to create a breach to help the Firstborn escape.
Not a bad story concept, really. As you play, you'll get to know your teammates personalities, and while I could tell that several of their back stories could be very interesting, none of them are ever really explored. Coming as no surprise, the main quest, sealing the breach, quickly turns into hunting down the Firstborn. To do so you'll have to travel through several time periods to reach it, defeating bosses along the way. Besides giving you a brief glimpse of what time period you're in, and sometimes meeting the occasional ally, the story is pretty much nonexistent. The only interesting bits of story come between game play segments (or chapters), and are quick little gee-wiz bits focused on the time period you're in.
You start the game out as the leader of Jericho, Captain Ross, but things don't stay that way for very long, as Ross ends up getting killed by Arnold. However, Ross's spirit hangs around, and he is able to "jump" into his teammates and control them, leading to the real draw of Jericho's game play: controlling the team. I won't even bother with describing a first-person shooter to anyone, but I will tell you that each member has different weapons and skills which you'll have to use. The way you kill the enemy isn't too important, but each member has two different weapons for you to play with, and you'll soon discover your favorite.
Each member also has two different skills, which you'll often have to use to access new areas, so as you can see there's a lot of room to experiment with what works for you. Personally, I liked playing as Church (the girl with the katana), as I got addicted to using her blood magic spell to hold the enemies in place while I sliced them up. Oh, I should also note that certain team mate's weapons are even customizable, such as being able to select different grenade types and ammo types, so keep that in mind as well.
The game play runs smoothly, even with six team members to keep track of it's pretty easy to jump between them. The ones that you don't directly control "usually" try to crouch behind cover (I say "usually" on purpose, read more about the games AI). Whenever one dies, you can use either Ross's latent ability to resurrect them or use another team member to do it from a distance (Father Rawlings). You can also tell your team members to hold up in a certain spot or advance. One thing that did need improving (which I've also read other people complain about) is your teammates AI. They'll often stand right next to a suicide enemy (who blows themselves up when they get next to you), instead of making any attempt to escape. Yeah, they aren't that bright... so you'll often be playing doctor. It isn't bad enough to ruin the game, but you'll definitely adjust your play style (targeting the suicide enemies first) to try to stem the deaths.
The art direction in Jericho is fantastic. Character designs were memorable (and fit the various personalities) and enemy designs were very unique, in a rather sick/horror-ish type of way (as is to be expected with Clive Barker). Make sure to check out how mutilated certain enemies and NPC's appear every now and again! Level designs leave something to be desired, though, as they are often nothing more than just linear hallway after linear hallway.
Overall, Jericho was a fun experience. Switching between team members and using their skills was fun, and I also particularly enjoyed the voice acting. The lack of teammate AI can be a little frustrating, as can the game's linearity, but overall Jericho is worth a play through. I played it on the PC, but you can also find it on the PS3 and Xbox 360 for very cheap. Have fun and keep playing.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Clive Barker's Jericho (US, 10/23/07)
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