Does hope really begin in the dark?
DO: You are Riddick, a man with a very high opinion of himself. For some reason, however, he keeps getting caught. He likes the shadows and is willing to stab the occasional obstacle in the head.
TYPE: Stealth/Shooter hybrid
PLATFORM: Xbox 360 (reviewed here), PS3 and PC
MEAT: There are essentially two games here. First, there’s a remake of the popular Xbox One game, Escape from Butcher Bay, where you control Riddick as he tries to break out of prison. Having broken out of prison, he finds himself a prisoner of sorts on the Dark Athena, a mammoth space ship. The second game chronicles your attempt to escape once again.
Escape from Butcher Bay concentrates on more of the stealth aspects of the game while Dark Athena is shooter heavy. Butcher Bay has some almost-RPG elements as you can complete missions for fellow prisoners (which basically boils down to punching people in the face) as you try to figure out a way to escape. The hand-to-hand combat is quite satisfying. The sneaking around has its issues and the shooting isn’t perfect. But for the most part, when it’s sticking to one or the other, it’s a heck of a game.
Both games have their problems, I’m not going to gloss over them. As I said, stealth isn’t perfect. If I’m hidden, let me stay hidden. If I’m caught, but can get away, let me have the freedom to move around without being spotted from across the room. The PITCH BLACK room. There are swear-off-gaming-forever moments of frustration. There are also exhilarating did-I-just-do-that? moments that make you forget the aforementioned downers.
It’s a balancing act, but in the end I enjoyed Riddick.
PERKS: Stealth kills are crunchy and will bring a smile to your face, whether you’re beating someone down with the “Peacemaker” or your stabbing them in the head with a screwdriver, it never gets old.
SCREAMS: That it would make up its mind! Either be a shooter or a stealth game, but don’t force me to do a shooter set-piece when all I want to do is hide until the badmen go away. The shooting is well done and fun. So is the stealth. But the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts. Stick to one thing and do it well.
VERDICT: Buy. I struggled with this one. After some of the frustrating moments, I would have said “Rent”. I would have said that it’s not worth the effort. Even after beating the final enemy, I wasn’t convinced. But looking back, taken all together, there is a really fun game here. It’s not a strong, 100% Buy recommendation, but I still feel confident that most buttonmashers will enjoy it.