Video Game Review: “Clive Barker’s Jericho”

Looking back at some of the most famed names in horror, names like Wes Craven and George Romero, Stephen King and the completely different Richard Bachman, or James Wan and Leigh Whannell, one of my favorite names connected to horror absolutely has to be Clive Barker. I mean, just look at his name, Clive Barker, … how cool is that? Not discounting his work with Nightbreed and Candyman, I think his best work as to be the Hellraiser franchise. I mean, I mostly disliked every movie except for Hellraiser: Inferno, and he had absolutely nothing to do with the script, but that’s besides it. I did like the Hellboud Heart though, also, when I went to Comic Con, I bought ten or so of the Hellraiser comic-books and I have enjoyed them a lot too. Whatever the case, Clive Barker’s dark and demented imagery is something that I draw a lot of influence from as a writer and he’s someone that I am always willing to give a chance if it presents itself to me. And so, imagine by excitement when I found out about Clive Barker’s Jericho.

For those that aren’t aware, Clive Barker’s Jericho is a first person shooter psychological horror video game with a premise provided by Clive Barker. It was developed by MercurySteam and published by Codemasters for Microsoft Widows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2007.

The story tells the tale of the Firstborn, one of God’s creations that disturbed God so badly that he banished it into the Abyss. Afterward, God started anew and of course went onto create mankind. Surprisingly, however, the Firstborn showed itself as being too powerful for even God to completely rid it from the world and thus, the Jericho Squad is sent to Al-Khali to keep someone or something from opening the breach and allowing for the Firstborn to escape the Abyss and unleash itself upon mankind once more. The game-play spreads itself across various different characters that you must alternate between in-order to advance throughout the campaign. Some of which are particularly worthwhile to play as, while others feel more like a complete and utter waste of time. Everyone of them is different though.

Let’s start off with talking about the scenery and thereby some of the more ‘horrifying’ components that help create Jericho. I think that you can definitely see a lot of Clive Barker’s influence with the story and the imagery, but there’s something about Clive Barker that I have noticed over the years. His style is more demented than scary. I don’t say that as a criticism because I think there is definitely a place for that, but I have noticed that he isn’t necessarily trying for ‘scares’ and he isn’t really aiming to make individuals jump out of their skin, but instead, he seems more interested in creating a monstrously depicted atmosphere filled with depravity and desolation. He succeeds in that, and a lot of the violence comes off more stylish and thematic than it does scary. The graphics themselves are fine as well, there isn’t a whole lot of hiccups or things like that to take away from the experience. They check off everything across the board in the visual category, but everything else is worthy of a little more critique.

The storyline is interesting, with biblical elements that are manipulated to further everything about it. If there is anything that I disliked about the first couple of Hellraiser films, it’s the fact that they tried to have too much happening. (Especially the fourth one.) In the end, that only takes away and the reason that I say this is because Jericho is similar. They incorporate so much little tidbits into it, and I wonder whether or not it ultimately damages some of the enjoyment that is to be with the premise itself. I wouldn’t call it extremely convoluted but I think maybe that it’s more convoluted than it needs to be. The characters aren’t anything special at all. It isn’t anything about the voice-acting that bothered me, but that the characters either seem over-the-top or just other-wise generic. The ability to switch between characters is an interesting feature that brings a certain novelty to it all. 

By the end of it all though, a lot of me wishes that I would have been heading through all of this by my own. The difficulty level is self-explanatory, you have multiple characters, and therefore, you should be able to take on more than what you would be able to handle with one character. This is true, but there’s a tedious fact when it comes to the A.I., and that’s the fact that they suck. They aren’t ‘average’ or ‘mediocre,” but instead, they downright suck. I spent more time reviving the characters on my team than I did anything else. They didn’t offer anything when it came to assistance, all they did was twiddle their thumbs and anticipate being shot at, and that made it occasionally difficult to carry on throughout the campaign. The shooting mechanics also aren’t very appealing, the fact is, nothing about Jericho ever really strikes me as appealing while I am venturing out into the actual game. They stick with a very linear style and before very long it becomes extremely tedious and difficult to enjoy. There is only so many times that I can shoot at enemies without eventually wanting something else to add to it. If it wasn’t for the ability to switch between characters, a lot of me wonders whether or not I would have been able to pull through the entirety of this experience.

Clive Barker’s Jericho has a lot to say in-terms of demented depictions and demonic creatures, but in the end, it feels more like a very linear and conventional shooter without a whole lot else except a blood-soaked coat of paint slathered over it.

Thanks for reading…

Rating: – 2.6 out of 5.0