Thursday, April 02, 2009 User-Submitted Previews: The Chronicles of Riddick

Above: Vin thinks these commenters are riddick-ulous!

I am excited about next week's release of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, and not just because I can't resist Vin Diesel's smooth, gleaming scalp. Starbreeze earned a lifetime pass from me with The Darkness, one of my favorite games of 2007, and one of the few video games that ever truly moved me. Whatever they do next, I'm into it. But do the commenters at agree?

"RedCell Lives!" gets things started with this dispatch from Bizarro World:
I mean, if it's as awesome as the 3rd and final movie in the trilogy it'll be amazing, I mean it's freaking Riddick, but if its like escape from butcher bay (Terrible Game) then i'll be disappointed, because I would really like to c a great game about one of the most amazing Psychotic killers of the movie genre.

Not to form an opinion before I even play the game, but I have this sneaking suspicion that Assault on Dark Athena will, somehow, top the non-existent third Riddick movie. Unless RedCell Lives! is making the ironic comment that even nothing would be better than another game like Escape from Butcher Bay, in which case don't I feel dumb. (And not to form an opinion about another game I haven't played, but "terrible?" Really?)


"A Customer" is often wrong but never in doubt: first I saw that there was going to be a new riddick game then I saw it is being published and developed by The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena will probably be nothing like The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher's Bay..why you ask? The latter was developed by Vivendi Universal and published by Microsoft. Such a shame to see a great title like Riddick be sold off to the highest bidder.

Usually these previews are chock full of people's better judgment getting overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. But this is different. These guys are just making shit up. I haven't seen anybody lie with so much confidence since Bill Kristol had a column in The New York Times.

Alternate endings to the sentence "I haven't seen anybody lie with so much confidence since __________":

  • Colin Powell's presentation to the UN about Iraqi WMDs.
  • Denis Dyack posted about Too Human on NeoGAF.
  • I explained to my wife that spending all my free time writing a blog about video games was a sure path to financial freedom.

"Master Ninja 84" provides some semblance of normalcy:

Before i played the original on xbox, I never heard of Starbreeze. Now, after that game and The Darkness to me personally they are a household name. I'm always impressed with what these guys do, and will always be impressed. To put it simply (too late), I can' t wait for this game to be released on the masses. Once again, the guys at Starbreeze are proving to us again why their games are always worth the wait.

Okay, I have a confession: I am Master Ninja 84. I can't wait until Starbreeze releases this game all over me.

"Newnew008" feels the same way:

This is a really great game gonna pre-order right now. If you haven't already seen the demo for this on xbox live you NEED to check it out this will be in my top 10 for 2009 i just know it. Only thing to do now is. wait for release :(

I'm told the release is more satisfying if you make yourself wait for it. Doing math problems in your head might do the trick.

Sometimes it takes a user to cut through the bullshit. This time it's "starking," who knows exactly what the people want:

i loved the movie and this is definitely going to be one of the most action packed head bashing games of all time.... i mean come on... shoving a tea cup into a guys head is pretty freaking awesome.....

As always, there's nothing else I could say.


Simon Ferrari said...

Ooh do you have a link to something you wrote about The Darkness back when it came out (I assume you reviewed it)?

For me, the scene where you sat and watched TV with Jenny(?) was pretty unique; GTAIV trumped it with Nico's first blind date, but I really felt while playing The Darkness that we were getting close to depicting plausible relationships in mainstream games (perhaps because of the source material). Also, the WWI Hellscape was absolutely bril. Most expressive space I've seen in a game in a loooooong time.

Mitch Krpata said...

The link in the piece will take you to my review in the Phoenix. I actually don't think I ever really blogged about it, though.

Simon Ferrari said...

Ah, didn't check the link (I don't know what the hell I assumed it was to). Thanks!

Mr Durand Pierre said...

I'm a bit dismayed at the review process for a game like this. IGN, for example, gave it a 7.4 (not a bad score as many would assume), but it seemed as if the game would have received higher marks had they just reviewed the Butcher Bay remake and stopped there (as supposedly it's the definitive version of that game), as the reviewer felt Dark Athena and the multiplayer were a disappointment, resulting in a lower cumulative score than it would have received otherwise.

Many, like myself, never owned an original xbox and with Butcher Bay not backwards compatible, this will be our only chance to play it. Even if the new content is utter dreck (and that's a big "if"), I'd like to know if the Butcher Bay reboot is good enough on its own to purchase the game for. I sure hope so. The first-person melee combat in particular looks vicious and spectacular. I, for one, am really looking forward to it.

Mr Durand Pierre said...

On a side note, I had mixed reactions to The Darkness.

I felt like it had some of the best presentation of any game ever. The first-person, semi-controllable cutscenes were amazing and I agree with Simon about the hellscape being brilliantly realized.

Yet, at the same time, I felt like it had one of the cheesiest scripts I've heard in a game. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration (there are A LOT of cheesy games out there), but the script was far cheesier than the first-rate production values deserved.

I haven't seen The Chronicles of Riddick film, but I've mostly heard poor things and I didn't much care for Pitch Black. As a result, I feel like the folks at Starbreeze are first-rate storytellers who unfortunately keep making licensed games based on not especially good subject material, which is truly a shame. Hopefully Riddick will prove me wrong, but I somehow doubt it. Then again, I'm not going to be playing it for a good story. I'll be playing it because I like stealthily slaughtering space pirates in the most violent ways imaginable.

Unknown said...

If it's made clear in the review that the new content is what drags the score down then what difference does it make? I'm not sure that simply ignoring the new content is a better alternative. Better to just drop the numbered scoring entirely, but that ain't gonna happen.

Mr Durand Pierre said...

@ Ameshan,

I agree wholeheartedly, as I've never been a fan of number scores myself. I think that since the game is 3 separate components, it should warrant 3 different reviews: Butcher Bay, Dark Athena, and Multiplayer.

My issue is not with the score per se (as numbers mean next to nothing. A 7.4 is poor by some sites and rather good by others), but rather with the fact that it feels like the developers are being punished for giving you extra, albeit entirely optional content.

Michael Wynne said...

Glad you liked The Darkness and I hope you like Dark Athena when you get a chance to play it.

It is not just you who finds some of these previews a little on the crazy side. :)

We always smile (and cringe) when we see people just making stuff up.

Starbreeze MikeW (Speaking for myself tho')

Mitch Krpata said...

Without having read the IGN review myself, I agree that it's a little weird to penalize a game for having extra content, when the main game is good. But they're reviewing the whole package, which is probably what a lot of readers want. For me, if one aspect of a game stands on its own, that can be sufficient. In fact, that was the case with the Darkness -- the multiplayer was no great shakes, but the single-player was so good that I didn't care. That's a rare case, though.

Mr Durand Pierre, I thought the script was well done. The performances helped. Kirk Acevedo didn't do the usual overblown video-game thing, and instead presented Jackie as a quiet, reserved personality, which was a good counterpoint to the histrionics of the Darkness itself. There was so much care taken with all aspects of the narrative.

I swear I'm not saying this now that I know somebody from Starbreeze is reading (but thanks for stopping by, Michael!).

Mr Durand Pierre said...

The voice-acting was well done, but my issue lied with the writing. Most notably, I never really understood why Paulie thought Jackie betrayed him and wanted him dead. Maybe I missed something. I'd be glad if someone could correct me on that as it's been awhile since I played it, but I remember the plot and dialogue feeling rather goofy at the time. I'm not the biggest fan of Garth Ennis though, so again, I think my issues stemmed from the source material more than anything.