Halloween is almost upon us. When I was younger, this time of year meant watching horror movies, trick or treating, and, of course, trying to scare the crap out of anyone I could with haunted whatever trick I could come up with. Of course, this is a tradition that has somewhat been modified as I have grown, due to mainly the law that says I can’t trick or treat anymore. Alas, I have filled the void of going to random people’s houses to ask for candy or “decorate.” The filler is video games.
With the increasing popularity of games that like to scare us under our covers, I am glad to see a big name in fright arrive on this interactive medium. I am referring to Clive Barker. Some call him sick, others call him deranged, I call him a genius at crafting gory horror. Most of us know him as the man that created Pinhead, the devilish character from the Hellraiser franchise, but could we now start referring to him as the man behind Jericho?
Jericho tells the tale of a special ops force with certain supernatural abilities. There are seven members in your rag tag group – Lieutenant Black Corporal Cole, Captain Jones, Father Rawling, Sergeant Delgado, and Sergeant Church, all lead by Captain Ross. Each one of these characters has their own unique ability and weapon of choice. This comes in handy when you are faced with the levels of pure evil that you will face in the game. The basic gist of the story revolves around an element of demonic nature has broken through into our world and threatens to taint the entire world with the blackness of its “soul.” In the center of all of this lies a Middle Eastern city, Al-Kahli, built on top of ancient ruins. All communication has been severed from inside the city and now it is up to the two separate squads of your team, Alpha and Omega, to get in and find out what is going on.
The great thing about this game is the ability to select from any of the members of your team very early on in the game. Instead of having you achieve certain objectives, you will be flipping back and forth between your various capabilities in no time flat. It is also a great strategic method. Learning how to control the different characters and when it is best to use them and their abilities will come in handy. However, there are more than a few problems with the switching of characters. You will literally watch as the A.I. decides to do whatever they wish. This becomes a severe annoyance no matter what level of player you are. Another annoyance will be the extreme amount of clones you will face in the game. I know that usually a game will have similar enemies or even the same creatures over and over, but here it is just ridiculous levels of monotonous repetitive objectives and enemies. I was really expecting more.
In addition to the faulty moronic nature of your squad, there are the issues of the squad mechanics of the game. In other titles, when you give a squad command, more than likely they will react and listen to you. Here, not so much. There are more reasons for court-martials for disobedience than there are in your traditional military based horror films. If that annoyance wasn’t enough for you, how about the actual shooting of the game? After all, this is a shooting game. I prefer games with a certain level of easy, but here it is almost pointless to get frantic about a mission or scenario when you end up just gunning your enemies down. There’s way too many aspects to the game that will make even the toughest instance seem like a walk in the demonic park. One of these instances has to do with Cole’s Infinite Loop. It might be just me, but the ability to slow down time has been done to death, and here it just seems to be getting another foot deeper in the ground, a burial that it may never fully climb out of.
In a number of encounters, your squad will be separated and you will have to travel solo and figure out puzzles and other various tasks in order to make it back to the rest of your squad. More often than not, you will have to survive a context sensitive situation. I know it is extreme God of War-ish, but the visuals and the sense of dire peril really aid these into an evolutionary step. There’s also the ability of Captain Jones that allows you to posses certain enemies. While this is a great concept, it sometimes become a little idiotic and trivial.
The highlight for me were the graphics. Not necessarily the character models because those were a little off at moments, but rather the environments. Dripping with gore from every orifice, Jericho gives horror fans exactly what they want. The graphics honestly made me really like the game more. I could look past the nature of the gameplay and other faults as long as I was looking at the various dark demented creatures and settings from the mind of Clive Barker. The sounds also play on the horror appeal. The gruff voice acting is a bit conventional and overdone, but the score does appeal to the senses in a few ways. It even, on occasion, reminds me of the score from Hellraiser.
Jericho doesn’t really bring anything new to the gaming world. It does blend the gory horrific mind of Clive Barker and a shooter game. Just in time for Halloween, this will be a game to remember and help fill your night with the required amounts of gore On the other hand, if you are looking for a horror game with a deep gameplay experience, this is probably not the next must buy game.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
The gore and monstrosities will please every gore horror fans. 3.8 Control
Surprisingly effective considering the different characters you will control. 2.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A score that comes close to meshing with the gore horror feel of the game. 2.4 Play Value
Incredibly short game. You’ll play through again to makes sure you caught every ounce of blood. 3.0 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.