Cliver Barker's Jericho has long been on many gamer’s hit lists since it was announced for the XBOX 360, PS3 and PC. The concept, conjured up by critically acclaimed mythmaker, novelist and filmmaker Clive Barker, is an interesting one that mixes together supernatural horror themes with First-Person action and unique visuals that aim to thrill and scare even the more mature gamers. While its story is intriguing and deep it was always going to be a question as to whether the gameplay could live up to the originality of a story that had seemed quite terrifying from the get-go. Clive Barker is known for his wicked and scary story telling, but whether or not his imagination could be successfully transformed into a good game is highly debatable.
First things first, the Jericho story is great. It is able to pull you in from the beginning and it successfully captures that eerie feeling we all expected from countless trailers and screenshots. You control Captain Ross, the leader of a special secret unit called Jericho that consists of unique, weapon wielding individuals who all have their own special abilities. There has been a strange occurrence in the desert and, leading your team, you head off into the sand-storm to discover a rip in time that brings upon a new evil called The Firstborn, a species that was "disregarded" by God in favour of a more emotional and pure being (can you guess who that is?).
The game progresses quite quickly and you'll find that as you move along you'll be unlocking new magic for your initial seven Jericho members. Each member has their own magical abilities that are important to your success and you'll find that particular characters are useful in particular areas. The whole Jericho team-member basis is an interesting one and adds to the intriguing story and is one of a few positives to come out of the title.
There are certain moments in gameplay where you'll have to push a set of buttons to progress, much like the system used in Resident Evil 4. For example, the ground might suddenly begin to crumble underneath you and you'll be thrown into a synchronized and timed setting to push the buttons that appear on screen and avoid falling to your death. The good thing about this is that it happens almost always without warning which adds a bit of excitement to the gameplay and if you fail you'll be immediately thrown back to the beginning of the sequence instead of back to the beginning of the set level.
There are particular parts throughout the game that are particularly gruesome and fall in perfectly with the theme of the story and you'll find them to be very Clive Barker-esque, especially if you're a big fan of his work. Some enemies burst and splatter all over the place when you shoot them and the boss fights are incredibly cool to look at - if only to make up for the poor gameplay.
You know the feeling you get when you complete a really long, challenging game? Like Resident Evil 4 or God of War? Well, you're not going to get that feeling with Jericho. This is mainly because it's as linear as you can get. It's so straightforward and direct that once you finish this game (if you choose to actually play all the way through it) you don't really feel as though you've accomplished all that much, mainly because you've been practically pushed in the right direction the whole way through.
Beyond the fact that the game is as straight-forward as you can imagine, the moments in the game where you can play as other characters is rather useless considering how moronically dumb the AI is and how repetitive and easy the enemy encounters are. On top of that any team-commands, such as taking cover, that you can use in this game are as pointless as a street-directory on a boat. The linear gameplay almost immediately makes the directions you order to your team obsolete, as the enemies will run straight into them anyway.
As in reference to the AI, your teammates just don't seem to know the basics when in comes to battling an evil and gruesome life force. It too often feels as though you're fighting on your own as your team-mates will just be shooting into absolute nothingness and they also tend to run off on their own and battle enemies that explode and kill anyone within close proximity. This will happen over and over again and is incredibly frustrating.
One aspect that just doesn't seem to have been thought through at all was the ability to resurrect. Two of your team-mates can resurrect, Rawlings and Ross, and while this is welcomed considering that you won't have to start over again if one of them dies, if you're playing as either of them you half the resurrecting capabilities and you'll be starting over a level more often considering how often your non-resurrecting team mates die.
The shooting in Jericho is as plane and boring as you can get, and adds absolutely nothing to the FPS genre. In fact, it seems to take a step back and the game plays like a poorly designed shooter for people who are completely new to the genre. The enemies seem to crawl at you, giving you plenty of time to react and place yourself appropriately to kill them. You can use certain characters abilities, such as Cole's Infinite Time Loop, which slows time to make it even easier to take down enemies, and if it wasn't for your teammates dying all the time you could blast through this title quicker than most other FPS available.
While the story on its own seems rather scary and intriguing, the way it's pulled off around the gameplay is anything BUT scary. It doesn't even come close to the thrill of F.E.A.R and even Halo 3 has scarier moments than Jericho, which is disappointing considering its premises and plot.
Jericho had enormous promise. The storyline is great, the enemies look gruesome and cool and there is no doubt that when you first start to play this game you'll be deeply intrigued by the characters and direction of the gameplay. The graphics are OK, neither good nor bad and don't stand out on either platform the game is appearing on. The game is far too linear for its own good and the aiming system is too simplistic for a title with as deep a story line as this.