You have seen the screenshots, you have read the previews, gosh you may have even watched the film, but now you are going too be astonished and amazed by playing the game Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
Now we all know movie tie-ins have been in the past forgettable experiences due to some developers just cashing in on the movies’ expectations almost guaranteeing good sales.
This has always put me off reviewing these type of titles for the Xbox however having heard some of the details I was compelled to give this game a chance in restoring some faith.
You are playing as of course Riddick, apparently the most wanted man in the Universe. Not just being an A class celebrity across this universe Riddick also has a few enemies to contend with, oh and when I say a few really I mean pretty much everyone you encounter. It is your task to escape from a prison called Butcher Bay which will require your full attention, stealth and of course all out blood and gore abilities.
If you were concerned that time was wasted in making yet another movie tie-in you would be seriously missing something here. Ordinarily I would agree with this premise but graphically this title pushes Xbox harder then most games available to date. Texture rich scenery with atmospheric lighting and bedazzlements that can only be shown by the screenshots and not by the mere use of text I seriously cannot do this game justice in the medium.
Sitting comfortably and waiting anxiously for the main menu I set up my game and off I went on an adventure. It has been many months since I last looked around a game just admiring the scenery. Maybe the last time was playing Halo on the release of the Xbox and before that Unreal on the PC. Admiring the bump mapping, the lighting reactions with the characters and objects feeling extremely impressed at being the proud owner of an Xbox.
You cannot help but relish the flash lights as the guards look for you lurking in the shadows. The overall feel is tremendous and will be hard to equal for other titles.
Vin Diesel who plays Riddick is portrayed very well and you will notice many little scenes in the game like climbing a ladder, receiving health and operating valves in which you will have an external view showing off who you are controlling in the game. Not all is perfect though as when the characters speak there is no synchronizing with the voice. Spoils it a little when you are still recovering from the splendid graphics to have this obvious detail missed out.
The story is quite a nice plot enabling some conversation between the blood and gore to break it up. This is essential to learn what tasks are required to get through and eventually escape the prison. There is also the incentive of unlocking extra content, no not online download content although the game is live aware and you can check your friends list through the game, but you can unlock images from the film and other little bits of interest. The game is made a little easier with the help of a map and a good reference for tasks you need to complete.
Hand to hand combat is included in the Chronicles of Riddick, in fact it works so well you can enjoy every meaty impact with glee. Seeing your opponent react to each individual punch could be classed as art as you view the blood spitting out from their mouth. Pretty gruesome I know but scarily entertaining.
This title is very much an adult game with some pretty gruesome moments, but this is not overly gruesome to make you feel slightly sick as I am not in for the all out grossness and instead prefer some restraints. Some of the weapons like the screwdriver are a little personal for combat although it does require some skill creeping up behind the guards and doing your nastiness. Rifles and shotguns and, nearer the end of the game, the great mini-gun which reminds me of the good old days of Wolfenstein 3D all those years ago.
The music is alright and is triggered by events in the game rather then a consistent theme in the background. This works well however a little repetitive, but you will be so drawn into the game you will be unlikely to notice this. Character voices are fine even if Vin Diesel sounds a little too gruff requiring the subtitles to be displayed to follow the conversation.
If all movie tie-ins were as well thought out and executed as Chronicles of Riddick Escape from Butcher Bay, we would be all leaping for joy. A truly refreshing title that has earned my respect for being one of the best experiences on the Xbox.