The Active Network

ActiveXbox Active Network | Announced Titles | FAQ | ForumNews 

  *  

 
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, XBox, Shooters

Product: The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Company: Vivendi Universal/Starbreeze
Website: Official Game Site
Estimated Street Price: $39.99/34.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

It seems like everyone has something good to say about "The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay" be it talk about the fantastic graphics or the excellent gameplay, Riddick is getting a lot of good press right now in the gaming world. The game isn't based on either film, it has its own storyline set before Pitch Black, back when Riddick supposedly gets his eye shine.

Set before the events of both Universal Pictures' upcoming summer release, The Chronicles of Riddick, starring Vin Diesel, and the 2000 breakout hit Pitch Black, which first introduced Diesel as enigmatic anti-hero Riddick, the game tells the story of Riddick's dramatic escape from the previously inescapable triple max security slam Butcher Bay, home to the most violent prisoners in the universe.
  • An intense original storyline reveals secrets of Riddick's past and epic destiny
  • Groundbreaking "Normal mapping" graphics technology creates vivid, ultra-realistic harsh environments
  • Revolutionary game design fuses frenetic 1st Person Shooter action, stealth and brutal hand-to-hand combat
  • Fight up close and personal with fists or knives or use stealth to defeat your enemies
  • Seamless transition to stealth moves and tactics for a deeper, more cohesive adventure
  • Riddick's trademark "eye-shine" enables players to see in the dark and provides a whole new element of stealth
  • Vin Diesel likeness and voice over

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"Wow, I never expected that a few years after the release of the Xbox we would see games that can still manage to look better than Halo did on launch day, well The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is one of those games. The first thing to say is that the lighting is fantastic, easily the best you will currently see anywhere on the Xbox"

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay plays like a lot of First person shooters around right now, even the controls are very similar to other games, but Riddick has a number of unique features that you won't find elsewhere at the moment. For a start The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay has some great hand to hand combat fighting, and for me to say that hand to hand combat can be good in any form, especially in a first person shooter is all credit to the people at Starbreeze who created the game.

The game blends stealth, action and adventure styles really well, the game begins with a dream sequence (hope I'm not spoiling that first level for anyone, but you can probably figure out its a dream as you get taken into the game far to quickly without any background on the place you are at etc) which then resolves itself into the first mission and your first entry into the butcher bay prison.

The game has a great atmosphere, this is not only due to the setting, but also because of script and story, its all great and you end up talking to all the characters in the game just to hear what they have to say to you. The action side of the game tends to either be hand to hand combat, which is controlled by moving the left thumbstick while pressing right trigger button, pushing the thumbstick in the varying directions causes you to do different moves, while the left trigger button is used for blocking someone else's fists.

Once you get into using the weapons in the game, they range from knuckledusters and knives to full blown assault guns, shotguns and more, at the start of the game you can't gain access to these weapons as each one is controlled by a DNA system, so if your DNA is not on the register, you can't get access to the weapon you have just picked up. This obviously changes later in the game as you move through the levels, but its quite cool to use your fists sometimes, especially with some of those silent kills that you can come up with.

The game has small sections of stealth, these parts are mostly based around your eye shine feature which lets you see in the dark (Just don't use it in bright areas, you'll see nothing!). Creeping up on guards who can't see you in the dark is pretty cool, but be aware of their flashlights! Now that we're mentioning the flashlight, some of the weapons you pick up during the game have lights on the end which you can use to view darker sections of the game, but these will help point out your location, so stealth can be the key sometimes.

The only problem with The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is the length of the game, if you are a hardened gamer you can probably get through the whole game in just two days play, while others will get a couple more days out of it, so it isn't the longest of games, but there is far more quality over quantity here.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay plays like a lot of First person shooters around right now, even the controls are very similar to other games, but Riddick has a number of unique features you won't find elsewhere at the moment."

Wow, I never expected that a few years after the release of the Xbox we would see games that can still manage to look better than Halo did on launch day, well The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is one of those games. The first thing to say is that the lighting is fantastic, easily the best you will currently see anywhere on the Xbox, but it isn't just the lighting that stands out, characters look great, the scenery can be superb, if dark with excellent use of normal mapping (which we will see more of in the upcoming Doom 3 conversion later in the year). One thing that stood out to me more than some of the more fancy features was that nearly all of the characters in the game looked different from each other, something that doesn't happen enough in games right now, not only this, but each one had a different voice over.

So now onto the actual sound, again its top marks, the voice over work from Van Diesel is excellent, spot on to the character he has helped create over the last few years. But Van Diesel doesn't get all of the credit as there are a lot of other excellent pieces of voice work in the game, even if the bigger names do only get a few lines of speech. The sound effects are spot on, with creaky areas, excellent gunfight sounds and more, the music is also very good too, gaining momentum in all the right places.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 90%
Gameplay: 91%
Presentation: 90%
Graphics: 92%
Multiplayer: N/A
Sound: 90%
Interface: 90%
Lastability: 82%
Price/Value: 88%
Overall: 90%

I haven't enjoyed a game on the Xbox quite as much as I have done The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay since I first played Halo. Yes it is a short game, but the quality that is here outweighs just about everything else. Graphically not many other games can touch it, sound wise it has some fantastic speech and great sound effects and the gameplay is top notch. If you are worried about the short length of the game, rent it, but either way you must play it.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 90%
Version Reviewed The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Excellent graphics
Great Gameplay
The Bad Points Too short
Xbox Live! Enabled? Yes (Live! Aware only)
Widescreen Support Yes
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Unknown


Return To The Xbox Section

 

  *  
  *   *