Hands On with the PC Demo for Clive Barker’s Jericho
The demo for horrormeister Clive Barker’s Jericho hit Xbox Live, the Playstation Network, and various websites on PCs today. I’ve become more curious about this game lately as more information is released for it. Besides the creepy setting and enemies, you have a whole squad of characters with different psychic abilities and skills that can be used to devastating effect. So I decided to sit down and run through the PC version of the demo to see if the full game might be worth picking up when it comes out.
An introductory video with the demo explains the story a bit more. The place your squad ends up in is actually the birthplace of God’s first attempt at creating man, before Adam and Eve. If you’re up on your theology, then you know God intended to make man in his own image. Well, apparently he also gave his first attempt some of his powerl too much in fact, and He eventually abandoned it. Now, the place where this creature was born is a city in the Middle East that has become overwrought with monstrous creatures. So a squad of psychic agents is sent in to investigate a series of underground ruins and tombs nearby.
In the demo, you have three squadmates to choose from: Delgado, Black, and Church, all of which have different weapons and abilities. Delgado has a minigun attached to one arm and carries a powerful pistol in his opposite hand. He can also open up a shield surrounding one hand to either shoot flaming snakes that set enemies on fire, or make it so any enemy that hits him will be automatically set on fire. Church, the most agile member of the bunch, carries a katana and a machine pistol. As a “blood scribe,” her powers involve cutting herself to either set all the enemies in the area on fire or create tentacles that shoot out and hold enemies in place for easy killing. My favorite squad member though has to be Black. She carries a grenade launcher/sniper rifle, which is the most effective weapon of all the team members’. Besides that, she also has the power of telekinesis, which allows her to shoot a bullet and guide it through multiple enemies, killing them all. There are few things more satisfying than taking out a wave of enemies in one single shot.
These skills come into play to traverse through the various caverns as well. Black’s telekinesis must be used to clear the rubble blocking a path at one point, and Church goes solo at one point, since she’s the only member of the group agile enough to climb a wall.
My one gripe in the demo, other than its short length, is a sequence involving timed button presses, much like God of War. Unlike God of War though, if you miss one button, you die and have to start the whole thing over again. I have to admit, the visuals during this sequence were some of the more frightening, but this wore off after seeing them a couple times due to a missed button press.
Other than that though, this demo was pretty fun to play through; so much so that I’ve run through it about three times. The setting didn’t grab me all that much, nor did the enemies really — both just reminded me a lot of Painkiller. The setup was pretty interesting, but I’m not sure if it will be able to stay interesting throughout the whole game. I was fairly intrigued by the characters though and really wanted to know more about them. But the thing that set this game apart was the different weapons and abilities. I don’t know how fresh they will stay after a few hours of playtime, but they should certainly provide some enjoyment. And I never thought I’d say this about an FPS, but it seems like the controls would work better with a controller than a mouse and keyboard. That may be aided with some tweaking of the game’s controls, but it just seemed like a controller would make the different abilities and actions more streamlined. I’m marking this one down as one of those games I’ll probably rent before buying when it comes out on October 23rd.