Review Price £19.59
Clive Barker's Jericho - Jericho
Worse, this is a game that doesn't need to get any more repetitive. The one major criticism of the art design is that each zone of ‘the box' re-uses similar architecture over and over again, and that the game as a whole uses a very limited colour palette. It's all very grim and gothic, but after a while black, red and brown get stale. Worse still, the game is structurally repetitive as well. It's stupidly linear, and basically comes down to ‘squad enters new area, squad beats back hordes of baddies, repeat until level ends.' It's no coincidence that the times when the game takes wing are the times when it's daring enough to ditch the formula and set up a more interesting encounter or a big boss battle. It's like all the imagination went into the powers, leaving too little for what could and should be done with them.
And, please, please, please, please - can we have no more games ruined by Quick Time Event sequences. Jericho has one within the first five minutes that sets your teeth on edge, then sporadically throws in more to make you grind them as the game progresses. The speed with which the button icon flashes on and off and the quickness of response required make each and every one a nightmare. Most annoyingly, at one point you're forced to kill a creature you've already downed twice by other means using a QTE sequence just because the developers wanted to throw in a cinematic pay-off. Grrr…..
Now, I could probably live with some of these irritations, but the final problem Jericho has is atmosphere - it just doesn't have enough of it. You're clearly supposed to be intrigued by the game's mythos and horrified by its dark visions, but after a while all the blood and viscera merges into the background, and you're left focussing on the mechanics of getting from one battle to the next. Perhaps it's not fair to compare it to survival horror titles when it has always pitched itself as a thriller, not a chiller, but Jericho never drags you into its weird netherworld in the way that a Silent Hill or Project Zero would. As an FPS, meanwhile, it's nowhere near as nerve-wracking as Bioshock, Half-Life 2 or - ironically - Clive Barker's previous game project, Undying.
The end result, then, is a game packed with good ideas and boasting some impressive graphics, but ruined by poor execution and bad design. If you're a huge fan of scary movies and of the Liverpudlian horror auteur and you absolutely must have it, my only advice is to persevere; the game does get better the more it goes on. However, my real advice at the moment would be simply not to bother. When you look at what's out or coming out in the FPS genre, we've never had it so good. Good for us, tough for Jericho. However, even without the likes of Bioshock, The Darkness and The Orange Box around, I'd be hard pushed to give this game my whole-hearted recommendation.
The design documentation was probably a great piece of work, but the minute-by-minute experience of Jericho is a let down. While the game does improve as it goes on, it's too flawed and annoying to be worth your money.