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Clive Barker's Jericho (Xbox 360)

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Manufacturer: CodeMasters / Genre: Action & Adventure

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    4 Reviews
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    • More +
      22.05.2009 15:53
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      Worth a look if you're a Barker fan

      I've always been an avid follower of Clive Barker's work, especially the Hellbound Heart and Nightbreed, so I was awaiting Jericho with suitable anticipation. Although the game did not quite live up to my expectations, I found it rather entertaining nonetheless.

      You play as Jericho, a seven-man team of wizards, psychics, telekinetics and muscle-bound arsonists, who are sent into the forgotten city of Al Khali to face an ancient and ungodly enemy: the Firstborn. The Firstborn, being the supernatural equivalent of a rejected script in God's waste paper basket, was the Almighty's first attempt at life. Unfortunately he got a little carried away, and made something so terrible its very existence was a threat to all creation. Fearing the Firstborn's immense power God sealed it away in the Box, a hellish inter-dimensional armpit, where it still lurks to this day. Once again the spirited little beastie is trying to wriggle its way back into the mortal realm, and Jericho has to stop it. Easier said than done.

      Although the game play can be somewhat linear, following a 'go here, kill this, now go here' style of gaming, Jericho still manages to be quite varied and entertaining. Although you start out controlling Captain Ross, the team's leader, a rather unfortunate accident gives you the ability to possess the other six team members, all of which have their own unique abilities. Of course, not all of them are useful. To be honest some of them are a waste of pixels, but telekinetic bullets, luminescent fire spirits and crazy ninja blood powers more than make up for the rest of the team's failings. The game also makes use of 'survival events,' where a certain combination of buttons has to be pressed in order to save the character from an incredibly unpleasant death. This stops the game becoming too sterile and arcade-like, although they can sneak up on you.

      Sadly, it isn't all roses in the world of Jericho. On more than one occasion the game's linear storyline can become quite repetitive, and the constant leaps between various time periods can make the game quite hard to follow. And although the enemies are the ravenous grotesque rejects of reality and we come to expect from Clive Barker, there tends to be little variation between them, often sending waves of the same antagonist over and over again. On the positive the enemy AI is suitably sparky, and dispatching them back to the netherworld is always a challenge. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Jericho's AI, as the computer-controlled players are often as thick as concrete marmalade.

      Although Jericho won't stand out as a miracle of FPS survival horror, Barker's imaginative storyline and gruesome creature designs make this a worthwhile purchase in itself. All the same, I wouldn't spend too much money on it.

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      • More +
        10.04.2009 04:28
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        An excellent shooter, for fans of survival horro and Clive Barker

        Available fror Xbox 360, PC and PS3:
        From the brilliant mind of horror genius Clive Barker comes this innovative and utterly playable supernatural survival-horror shooter. This dark and sinister game takes place over many different locations eras in history, including Nazi Germany, The Roman Empire and Ancient Sumeria.

        The player is part of the Jericho team, a top-secret government group of seven elite soldiers well-versed in occult warfare, all possessing some unique and creative magical, psychoactive and combat skills as well as individual weapons such as customizable pistols and a katana. Each member has a fascinating backstory, notes on which can be unlocked by completing certain levels on various difficulties and in certain ways.

        The games main protagonist is Captain Devin Ross, a Jericho soldier with the ability of possession. In turn he is able to take control of any member of the squad's mind at any time in order to utilize their skills to defeat enemies such as zombie cultists, gargoyles and huge beasts composed of the flesh of thousands.

        The game is arguably a little easy, and very linear, but although this particular example of "on-rails" gameplay leaves little room for role-playing elements and detracts from its re-playability to some extent, it can be forgiven for making for an exciting and heart-stopping gaming experience.

        There are a lot of different kinds of enemies, however many are similar. Nonetheless its excellent physics engine means that you never get bored of killing them in a seemingly infinite number of ways; slashing throats, blowing off limbs, incinerating and gunning down with the chaingun.

        They have button-tapping cutscenes in the game, as seen in God of War, which fit in well with the standard gameplay and subscribe to its arcade-like feel.

        The game forces a tactical approach to killing hordes and hordes of enemies running at you from different directions, a gaming element which has scarcely been since since the days of Doom I and II! It also embodies a visceral and gorey feel that is reminiscent of the Quake II.

        I would recommend this to any fans of survival horror, and especially Clive Barker. (For the unenlightened, he was the brain behind Hellraiser, Candyman, Nightbreed and The Midnight Meat Train.)

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      • More +
        25.08.2008 15:51
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        Reasonable

        Clive Barker's Jericho is A horror themed first person shooter for the Microsoft Xbox 360 games console.

        This game story is created by the horror writer Clive Barker, and it will take you to many different Eras in time and each are truly terrifying, mainly because the locations are very sinister and dark.

        The action game is A first person squad based game, you can take control of any of the squad members in your team. Some are equipped with heavy weapons like machine guns, some are light equipped with light machine guns, swords and so on. A nice touches most of your team have special abilities for instance slowing down time.

        This game is pretty repetitive as the monsters in it just take too long to take down. The game also has a button press sequences in the cut scenes like God Of War, but they do not seem to work so well in this game.

        The shooting in this game is not so fun, because the masses take so long to die every gun seems underpowered.

        You can get this game for about £30.00 but I only recommend fans of Clive Barker to pick this one up.

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          03.03.2008 16:23
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          A missed opportunity.

          There are some games that try to be ambitious and combine many elements of gameplay. But more often than not, they're so ambitious that they usually fail. It's like trying to combine cats with dogs-it is just a bad idea. Usually, they are trying to please so many people that they end up displeasing everybody. Clive Barker has returned to the world of video gaming after his solid game from 2001, Undying, to release Jericho. Jericho is a squad-based tactical shooter, mixing elements of horror as well. There are various design ideas in Jericho, like the ability to revive your people, eight different playable characters, and even quicktime events. Is it too ambitious, or does everything come together cohesively?

          -(The Story)-
          It turns out that humans were not god's first creation. It seems that the first thing he made was the Firstborn, a sexless creature (sexless as in he isn't man or woman, by the way) who was a mistake in gods eyes and he locked them away in an alternate reality. Then he created human, the Firstborn got jealous, and they keep trying to escape. But they're always banished thanks to seven mystics who never return after. Now Team Jericho, a squad of mix genders with wizards and witches, is travelling back in time to end it for good. It sounds good on paper, but the execution here leaves something to be desired. This is mostly due to the characters, which aren't bad in personality, but are ruined by awful voice acting and dialogue. It also doesn't help that the ending is one of the worst in gaming history. It's a cliffhanger, and it's the worst kind with an abrupt ending that just sucks.

          -(The Controls)-
          The game controls well. You move with the left stick, aim with the right, shoot with the right trigger and shoot your secondary fire with the left trigger. You also crouch with the right trigger, reload with the X button, turn your flashlight on with the Y button and melee attack with the B button. This is like most shooters, but there are a couple of differences. You can perform an action, switch your character to the person your facing and heal a downed character with the A button. You can hold the A button and select a specific member to switch to. You can order your team around a bit as well. Pressing up on the D-pad will make your members follow you, pressing down will command them to hold and pressing left and right orders either Omega or Alpha team to the position. You can use your powers with the bumpers.

          -(The Gameplay)-
          Jericho is a squad based tactical shooter, which means you can command your squad to follow you and order them into position. It's nowhere near as robust as Rainbow Six: Vegas so you can't command them to open doors for you and stuff like that. In fact, you can't even open doors yourself in Jericho, thanks to how linear the levels are. Another problem with the levels is that they're horribly cramped. Long hallways and tight areas are Jericho's main level types, and boy are they tough to fight in. This affects the A.I., which wasn't the best if in an open area. They can't really take cover in an area without much cover, meaning they're out in the open. They need a miracle to take down enemies, and they're usually taken down before. It's annoying when they're all dead with you alone to fight.

          Thankfully, you can revive downed team-mates, but this turns out to be one of the biggest flaws in Jericho. When a team-mate is down, you can run up to them and press A to revive them. Team-mates are usually out in the open though, so when you revive a couple of team-mates, you get blown up yourself, which then means you possess another character, rinse and repeat until the respawning demons stop respawning. The tactical play is kind of irrelevant when enemies will respawn behind you if you order your team to push ahead. The enemy A.I. isn't smart either, though that's okay as demons aren't meant to be clever. In fact, when you see a demon taking cover, it's the weirdest moment in the game. But really, this doesn't make for a very good tactical shooter, so don't go into this looking for a tactical shooter in the ranks of Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon.

          It's the elements outside of tactical play that mostly succeed. If you haven't guessed, you can possess one of eight playable characters in the game, thanks to one of the main characters dying at the beginning. Each of the playable characters has unique weapons and abilities. Frank Delagado holds a Mini-gun and a spare pistol. He can also use his arm which is possed by a fire spirit, which can set people alight. Abigail Black has a sniper rifle, and she can use Telekinesis to move objects and guide one of her sniper bullets when she shoots it, a la Stranglehold. You get the point-each character is unique. It's fun to switch between characters and use their abilities in battle. Unfortunately, the developers had an idea to throw puzzles at you, but these are weak considering you're pretty much told how to solve it before you even reach it.

          Also annoying are the presence of Quicktime events, paying homage to God of war, Shenmue and Resident Evil 4. In case you don't know what they are, its when you press the button of the icon that comes onscreen, so if it says press A then you must press A before it's too late. What is weird about this game is that because this is a first-person shooter, there was no real need for these events. The game does cut scenes in real-time, so why couldn't these just be cut scenes. It also doesn't help that the button commands are a little too small, and that they randomly come at you. They can occur at any time, as sometimes enemies will grab you and an event will start. They are a bit visceral, as fighting off an enemy who is trying to kill you in first-person is cool, but they are unnecessary.

          There are lots of annoying things about Jericho. The level design is cramped, and when you have to avoid an enemy that is about to explode when it reaches you, it's a nightmare. There are a couple of levels where you must go alone with one character, but these aren't much better than when you are with people. Once you die, you must restart from a checkpoint as there is no one to revive you, and when you're in a level with a slow moving guy by yourself and an exploding enemy is coming your way, you will get frustrated. There are also problems with long visual animations. Basically, you be performing a move that requires about ten seconds of visual animation when you're dead because you were too busy doing a move. For example, a character called Rawlings specialises in healing, and this means he can heal from far away. It takes about ten seconds to heal someone from afar, and it's annoying when you're about to finish, only to be cut off by an enemy attack.

          Yet, there are a few levels where you could see Jericho's untapped potential. These are the levels when the game gives you room to breathe by making the levels large. These are the best moments of Jericho, as your team is a little bit smarter, there is a better chance of avoiding an exploding enemy and you can manoeuvre around more. Another highlight is the boss fights in the game, aside from the pitiful last fight which requires as much brain as a donkey. They are mostly on a large scale, and they immerse you quite a bit thanks to no health meters for the bosses. Unfortunately, the game suffers from Devil May Cry syndrome. What I mean is you could fight the same boss about five times. For example, I fought a giant creature that looked like a skinned dog with a mask, only to fight two more after, only to fight another one after that, and only to fight one in another level. In fact, the game suffers badly from respawning enemies, which are a bad attempt to artificially pad the game's length.

          The game is rated 18+ for strong bloody violence and horror, according to the back of the box. What is weird is that, while there are lots of blood and gore, as well as some F bombs, the game is actually lacking in the horror department. While there are a couple of scary moments, like when you're trying to climb down a hole, only for a demon to push you down to the ground and try to eat you with it's scary face, and its in first-person so it was immersive, the game doesn't really have a lot of jump scares. And aside from the moment I just mentioned, the jump scares won't keep you up in the night. It's disappointing to say the least.

          -(The Graphics)-
          The graphics in Jericho are one of its best things. The mind of Barker must have been working, as his sick and twisted thoughts were translated very well into Jericho. The monster designs are sinister, with humans completely skinned, giant flying beasts, huge creatures with large blades in their arms and more. The lighting helps make the experience tense, as a part of the corridor completely pitched out in darkness makes you wonder what is in there. When you use your flashlight, it merely highlights a circle of an area, sometimes showing off the bloody ornaments in the background. Some of the environments are a little weak, like the deserts outside of the tombs. The frame rate runs at 60 frames per second, and it does it mostly well, with the occasional dip for a few seconds. It's not as smooth as the impressive CoD4, though.

          -(The Sound)-
          The sound in Jericho is average, mostly due to the acting and dialogue. The game constant throws one-liners at you, as if trying to outdo Devil May Cry, but fails. Liners like 'Praise the lord and pass the ammunition' are just some of the god awful things spewed out of characters mouths. The acting isn't better either, with one of the characters having a poor Mexican accent and another sounding like a robot. The rest of the sound is decent. The ambient effects are nice, with water dripping in the distance and other chilling effects, though nothing here really scares you. The guns sound like most guns do in games, and explosions are a little weak. The music quietly plays in the background, giving you a tense experience though not a very scary one.

          -(The Replay Value)-
          Jericho's value for money is the weakest area of the game. The main single-player is short, at about 7 hours of gameplay, most of which is thanks to respawning enemies and frustrations with your stupid team-mates. There is little reason to replay the campaign, thanks to how annoying it can be, even with the harder difficulties. The game has Live support for downloadable content, but that's it. The fact the game has no multiplayer can be forgiven, but no co-op is unacceptable in my eyes. There are eight people to play as, meaning it could have had eight player co-op. It doesn't even support co-op, which is a sign of laziness in my eyes. There are 42 achievements in Jericho, which are all earned in single player, because it's the only mode of play. You get it for getting a number of headshots or melee kills, completing the levels on hard and...that's about it really. There isn't really any stand out achievements in Jericho.

          -(The Score)-
          Controls=8-Switching between team members is easy.
          Gameplay=5-Poor A.I. and cramped levels sucks the fun out of an otherwise decent shooter
          Graphics=8-Gorgeus monster designs and environments.
          Sound=6-The bad one-liners will grate.
          Replay Value=4-Short, and there is little reason to go back.
          Overall Score=6.2

          -(The Ending Comments)-
          Clive Barker's Jericho had real potential, and it sometimes showed. In the level where you're in a huge arena fighting sometimes large demonic creatures was great, as the level was for once huge instead of cramped. Unfortunately, that's where most of the fun is. The game suffers from bad A.I. from your team-mates (not such an issue with the demons), meaning they're constantly getting killed. And this means you're spending more time reviving than shooting, leaving you exposed. This isn't helped by the cramped level design. But the biggest crime with Barker's game is the lack of horror in Jericho. Only a couple of times were I scared, and even they didn't keep me up the night. It's also short and has little replay value. If you're a fan of Barker's work, or have nothing to do for six hours, find it cheap. Everyone else should get Condemned for scares.

          -(The Extra Info)-
          This was published by Codemasters and developed by Mercury Steam.
          This was released on October 26th 2007 and is also on PS3 and PC.
          This is available from Amazon for £24.96 or £29.96 in special edition.

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