Clive Barker’s Jericho Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Clive Barker has already brought his unique brand of horror to books, films, and yes with Clive Barker‘s Undying a game even bared his name. Clive Barker’s Jericho is his second dabble in games and it’s hardly a surprise that there’s not a fluffy animal or sunny meadow in sight, it’s all ghoulish creatures and dark oppressive environments with this one.

The game begins with you and the other six members of the Jericho squad riding in a helicopter to investigate a disturbance in the crumbling city of Al Khalid, which you’ll eventually discover to be the work of the Firstborn (Gods first and failed creation, who is more than a little annoyed at us humans). Suffice to say, whether it be the twisted creatures (of which there are many) or the Barker penned narrative, if you’re a fan of the authors work, there will most likely be something here for you.

Jericho is a squad based FPS, where you’re able to switch between all members of your team and bark out some limited commands in the hope that it will keep them in order.

Initially, the game appears to be a somewhat mercifulness one, throwing hordes of enemies at you, with checkpoints straight from the school of nightmare design. Progression becomes smoother, once you learn of the optimal moments to unleash the unique (and sometimes awe inspiring) powers of your squad.

Each squad member has two weapons to spill the blood of freaky things with and two unique abilities, some of which will only become available to you as you advance through the game. Of course, they also have their own personalities, though these do come from the rather bulging bag of clichés. We might have found their wisecracking funny, that’s if we hadn’t of already met their kind a million times over in a host of other games and entertainment mediums. It’s certainly safe to say that characters aren’t a strong point of Jericho.

The abilities of these characters certainly leave us with something to remember them and Jericho by for once the game is done and dusted though. Cole can slow down time (had to be somewhere, didn’t it?) and strengthen the attack of her team-mates, Black is able to fire a slow motion bullet, which you can steer into and pop the heads of up to three enemies (beautiful, gory fun!) and can utilize telekinesis to move heavy obstacles that are blocking your path. Then there’s Church (It has to be said that her powers are triggered by slitting her own wrists of all things) she can paralyze enemies and then proceed to take them out with her knife, secondly she can unleash a circle of fire, useful to incinerate a group of enemies with. Jones is one of the less exciting members and can possess enemies to solve puzzles, Rawlings can revive fallen comrades and curse enemies, to regenerate some health of his team-mates. Finally Delgado can hurl fireballs from his hand and trigger a fire barrier to protect himself from (come on, take a guess) fire.

You can never really get too comfortable with an individuals abilities though, as the Jericho squad is at times split into two teams and on occasion, you’re forced to control a particular character. A nice touch, as it means you’ll use characters that you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise, and as a result, you’ll get more out of the game.

The abilities also come into play for puzzles, but these are usually so simple that they serve as nothing more than a breather from the incessant battles. It’s largely just a case of switching to the right character and opening a heavy gate with Delgado’s brute strength for one example, or using Black’s telekinesis to remove items from your path.

The AI of your squad is for the most part non existent. They’re all too often content to just stand out in the open, firing their guns, whilst an explosive enemy advances towards them. Once, they’re killed you can revive them, but you’ll find yourself doing this incessantly during your time with the game and the squad commands are pretty ineffective to say the least.

Other problems include an absence of any form of multiplayer, which is bad for those who are looking for something else to do, other than playing a harder difficulty or trying to unlock all the achievements that they may have missed on their initial play through.

Jericho may have some significant problems, but it’s shooting and spell chucking facets are hugely enjoyable, even though it can’t be denied that its nightmare checkpoint system and dim witted squad AI, do sometimes take away from that enjoyment. In spite of this, Jericho is still an underrated gem that could have done with additional polish to make it shine even more brilliantly.