Have just finished Clive Barker's Jericho.
Universally panned when it first came out, I could see that it was something a bit different and I'd enjoyed Clive's previous game (Undying), but I wasn't going to pay full price for it, so I waited until I could pick it up for $20.
So how was it? A bit like the curate's egg I think - good in parts.
I like FPS games as much as the next man, but I'm not a great fan of team shooters. Indeed, I feel a twinge of guilt in that this is holding me back from trying the Brothers in Arms series - a definite lapse in gaming judgement I know. However Jericho has team mechanics aplenty and although the game did a reasonable job of leading me through the basics, my confusion levels continued to rise as I played. Part of this is the sheer number of abilities to remember with seven teammates each with varied weapons attributes and special abilities. In fact it was only when I had a better handle on who each team member was and what they could do (and that was a good way through the game), that I started to enjoy things. It was at that point I went back and replayed the earlier levels and I'm glad I did, because it was only then that things really 'clicked' for me and I could see what the designers were driving at. That's not to say that everythng became golden - too many times gameplay devolved into constantly healing characters in an attempt to outpace the damage they were taking.
The game also features the hated quicktime events. Luckily they're not too plentiful and although they're sure to bring a grimace, they're not too much trouble.
The graphics were detailed and effective and the hellish denizens viscerally disgusting. The graphics have attracted criticism for being too 'brown'. I think this is a trite argument - the setting is supposed to be a box outside of reality, a depressed eternal prison and so the colour pallette reflected this. Many of the levels had a massive sense of scale which had me looking around in appreciation. On the other hand, the lack of a direction indicator and the often samey foreground scenery sometimes caused me to backtrack without realising.
Storyline was convoluted but reasonably interesting. The basic premise that God made a 'box' for his first creation was intriguing, even if I'm not that keen on religious mythology in my games or horror movies. Trouble was, it was overlaid with that 'special ops A-team' cliched bollocks that game designers seem to love to adopt. I felt nothing for the characters, they were cyphers. Indeed the only moment where one of the characters showed compassion for another and thus began to engage my empathy and interest, the game designers chickened out and killed the other off within ten minutes. Way to go . By the game's end I didn't care what happened to any of them.
So all in all, an interesting diversion on the FPS genre, but not quite sucessfull. Worth a play though for the setting and imagination on display.
Next up the 'Tarr Chronicles'.