Clive Barker’s Jericho Review

I like a good scary game. The experience of playing one just offers something other games can’t — the feeling of your hair standing up on the back of your neck. Clive Barker’s Undying is a true gem in the thriller genre. Its atmosphere was intense, and the game was largely written by Barker himself. So when I heard that he was working on another story for a different game, Clive Barker’s Jericho, I was immediately interested. With that comes Jericho from developer Mercury Steam, whose only other game was the rather mediocre Scrapland in 2004.

You can read all about Jericho’s storyline in my preview. Basically, it’s a group of elite badass soldiers named Jericho squad going into a decimated Middle-East castle where much supernatural and creepy stuff ensue. Unfortunately, I was expecting an over-the-top horror experience; instead, I felt Jericho featured more on an overabundance of gross stuff in some dark levels.

I enjoyed the visuals. In fact, I thought they were completely awesome. Since you’ll be wading through some muck, I compared the visuals to the Strogg missions in Quake IV — which I also enjoyed. There’s plenty of bump mapping to punch you in the gut, so prepare for your shiny and gross substances flowing on walls. Character models and textures are also sharp and crisp. I definitely enjoyed the motion blur and depth of field, which are slowly becoming staples in the FPS genre.

Somewhat devoid till recent times, the first-person view “feel” is coming into bloom in many FPS. You know what I’m talking about — you look down and you see your legs. Great, Halo 3 had it — next! But wait! Jericho takes it a step further by incorporating many cutscenes that incorporate your view, which I think is an awesome game presentation technique.

For example, you’re in a helicopter with the rest of your Jericho squad, you’ll see your arm and hand gesture as you describe the impending mission to your team members. Another example is during the first scripted button-tapping event, when you fall into a pit; the screen will slightly shake since it’s pretty nerve whacking and you can see your arms reach up for hand positions. All of these little moments really add the game’s immersion, and Jericho does a great job with that.

The worst thing to come out of Jericho is the infuriating control-sensitive, scripted button-tapping events. I have to say, this is one of the worst things invented in gaming history. I swear, I rarely get mad at stuff like this, but Jericho had me pretty angry. If you don’t know what I’m referring too, there are in-game segments within Jericho that require you to tap keys or buttons at specific times, or you die.

It’s just so unforgiving because you have about 1 second to respond, and if you’re just even a millisecond off, you die. There’s no leeway at all, and you have to be 100% accurate in timing the buttons, so prepare for plenty of deaths in this painful trial and error sequence. The sequences themselves are cool, but I have to friggin’ look at buttons instead! I’m sorry, Mercury Steam, you blew it with this feature.

Jericho also suffers from some lame console techniques, namely no jumping, chopped up and shorten levels, the referring to a ‘start’ button in the main menu (even on the PC version, guys?), checkpoint saves and the complete lack of ammo gathering. I’m sorry to say, but I’m not buying these shaved-down techniques when playing a PC game. Call me fickle, but I want to be entertained when playing a game, not confused, angry or bored. They work with the console versions (and hey, if you play console games it’s what you expect) but the PC version of Jericho feels too much like a console-to-PC port.

There’s also no multiplayer whatsoever, so that’s a heavy chop at the game’s replayability. But if you really want to, you can play again and sample different characters. One of the big things in Jericho is the ability to seemingly invade your Jericho squad members. Each badass soldier has their own distinct weapons and abilities so you have 6 other main characters to “play”.

Their AI is a mixed bag, though, since I saw both good and weird quirks. A good moment was just the AI pathfinding; the squad doesn’t bunch up and took appropriate places during a battle. Sniper in the back, big guy in front. But for a weird moment, take all I said about the good movement and cram that into a tiny level. If you have your squad, or just even a few guys, in a cramped level, they’ll bunch up. Ugh.

While there are some problems with the game, I think the good outweigh the bad in this scenario. Jericho offers standard FPS fare in a Strogg thrilling atmosphere with some cool soldiers and a nice camera view. Still, the game suffers from some poorly implemented tactics which work against the game, along with a completely useless gameplay mechanic. It would be good for a rent or a low-budget pick up, but it’s hard to justify paying full price for this game when there are many better titles out there.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.