Monday, October 15, 2007

Clive Barker's Jericho (Xbox 360)

I played the Xbox Live single-player demo for Clive Barker's Jericho from Codemasters / Alchemic Productions / Imajica Productions, Inc. (not to be confused with the TV series).

Not bad.

It's a "supernatural shooter", and I think it will probably do a passable job.

I mean, I like Clive Barker. At least I liked the Nightbreed movie, The Thief of Always book, and the game, Clive Barker's Undying (perhaps the best sound landscape in a game).

And it's Clive Barker, so there's a deep mythos built under Clive Barker's Jericho.

The game doesn't look bad at all -- let's call it "gross pretty". Gameplay is a bit run-of-the-mill, with one "standard" weapon (with primary and alternate firing), and special / supernatural abilities.

It's a squad-based game, so each of the six squad members have different weapons and supernatural abilities, and you can switch between them on the fly (the demo lets you switch between just two).

The switch is supposed to matter, but after playing BioShock, having to switch between different people (where in BioShock all of my weapon and power options were in the same body) felt a little wonky.

Of course, it's going to depend on the gameply and level design. If the game is built in a such a way that switching between various squad mates matters, or if you can use different people to solve problems differently, this should work out. But if switching doesn't matter, the mechanic will likely feel contrived, and I will be irritated.

There are also button-matching "mini-games" (called "life moments" or something), where you need to match the on-screen buttons to survive gruesome attacks. Fail, and you suffer a gruesome death.

I'm mixed on these sequences (think an analog of the Frost Giant fight in Marvel Ultimate Alliance) -- I tend to not like them, because they remind me I'm playing a game, and take me out of the moment. But I do like the frantic urgency they invoke.

We'll see how it all comes together when Clive Barker's Jericho releases next week).

(You can also download the PC Demo.)

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