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Hands-on: Clive Barker's Jericho demo

Clive Barker's Undying still haunts us to this very day, so you can imagine what our expectations are for Jericho, the latest creation from Clive Barker's demented mind. Jericho is billed as a supernatural horror FPS, which is pretty easy to understand if you've seen any screens or videos.

Thankfully, Codemasters released the demo on the PlayStation Network earlier in the week, and we've had a chance to see if it lives up to its potential. The demo takes place about halfway through the game in an ancient Middle Eastern town, where the seven-member Jericho squad has been split up after several members fell into a sewer.

When the demo starts, you control the group's leader Capt. Devin Ross, but you'll immediately realize he's not your ordinary protagonist. Capt. Ross was killed in action several years before, but his soul burns on to lead the team. That means you'll use Ross' spirit and his ability to revive his fallen comrades to control your three other squad mates, each of whom have their own unique supernatural powers.

Gallery: Clive Barker's Jericho

Jericho Pic 07_19_06Jericho Pic2 07_19_06Jericho Pic3 07_19_06Jericho Pic 04_19_07Jericho Pic2 04_19_07

At first glance, these three members, Sgt. Billie Church, Lt. Abigaile Black and Sgt. Frank Delgado, seem like they're ripped right out of any ordinary squad-based FPS, as each one primarily uses a different ranged weapon. But once you play more, you'll realize how much diversity and usefulness each character brings to the fight.

Sgt. Church is a blood mage and can "draw" her blood to create several spells, one of which binds enemies and slowly drains their life. Lt. Black, on the other hand, has a sniper rifle that allows her to control the bullet's movement in mid-flight to maximize damage, and she can use her telekinetic powers to, not only stop bullets, but to also clear obstructed pathways. Lastly, Sgt. Delgado is the big guy of the group – armed with a chaingun and the ability to send forth fire demons from his arm to engulf his enemies in flames.

Leading the group through the sewers and alternating using each member's physical and supernatural weapon was a blast. Developer Mercury Steam has done a great job at keeping the character switching very fluid, and it just makes sense. The Mercury Engine's highly touted lighting system is a feast for your eyes to enjoy as shadows and the flicker of light from nearby torches really help create the atmosphere the developer was striving for.

However, for some reason, we were left a bit unfazed when the short demo was completed. Sure, there's a lot of blood, gore and nasty looking creatures, but there's just something missing in this level that didn't evoke the sense of fear we were hoping it would. It could be that the game's pace is so fast that it doesn't allow the player enough time to get spooked out by the creepy shadows, the pattering of feet behind a dark corner or your squad mate's own interesting dialogue.

Still, Clive Barker's Jericho is a fantastic FPS that features tight controls, great graphics and some of the most interesting characters we've seen in a long time. Jericho seems like a sure bet for any PS3 owner when it releases in a few weeks.

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1. I played the PC demo and I also felt the same way. I think the pace was just a little too fast for the demo so I didn't find it too scary. But it is a unique game that I'll probably end up getting.

Posted at 5:42PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Hashbrown_Hunter

2. This demo was honestly the worst FPS demo i've played in at least a year.

I got the exact same feeling as when i played the FEAR demo for the first time. This game has the same garish, harsh and ugly graphics and lighting combined with the over the top effects and shitty animations.

All in all, as i said to myself back then, and i'll say it again now.

"God, this is one shoddy ass FPS"

Seriously. This game reeks of half-heartedness.

(I played the demo on my PC and on my PS3, both were basically identical.)

Posted at 5:54PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Sam

3. Oh and another thing about the demo:

One of the most important parts of an FPS to me, is how the weapons animate and look in the players hands.

Some games just naturally look great in this respect and have a really good field of view over your hands, nice perspective on the barrel of the gun and smooth animations that certainly make it feel like you're holding that gun in front of your eyes, not like a gun model is floating at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

To name a few games that work well: Halo, Half Life 2, Counter Strike(Source), Far Cry.

Some games on the other hand, just manage to look horrible in this respect, and really detract from the gameplay to me. It really breaks the suspension of reality and annoys the crap out of me. This game is really awful in that respect. The guns dont feel like they're being held in your hands and they're placed at some really odd angles.

To name a few games that are particularly bad for this (off the top of my head): FEAR, Bioshock (Pistol especially), Counter-Strike (1.6).

If you still dont get what i mean, heres the worst examples i've seen in a long time:

I mean i loved bioshock, but man the weapon/hand models in that game were awful. Looked so unnatural and ugly.

Thats probably just a weird personal thing just bugs me the hell out of me.

Posted at 6:15PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Sam

4. I agree that the speed of the game means there isn't much time to feel freaked out....but I played the game in pitch darkness and I found the game quite nice overall. The graphics and the darkness means things don't really look all that good though. For the most part I'm looking forward to playing this game....though I'd love mouse and keyboard support.

Posted at 6:28PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Neil

5. This is honestly a mediocre game in my opinion. I thought that the controls were pretty bad, some of them just didn't make sense to me.

Posted at 7:06PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Joseph

6. I played the demo and it sucked, it wasn't even worth the time it took to download. It doesn't even allow you to invert the X/Y axis. The distancing between you and the characters seemed out of whack, like they'd look farther away than they actually were, and the graphics looked like total mud. The game is 10 steps back from Gears of War in terms of gameplay and 20 steps back from Bioshock in terms of actual scariness and inventive story/characters. I thought the story was cool, but the game doesn't have much to do with that story, it seems to just be tacked on and you spend most of your time just repeatedly shooting ugly pusbags that aren't even scary because they're too gorey and just seem like ugly cartoons.

Bioshock is the best FPS I've ever played, I didn't even mind the goofy looking character hand because the game/action/story/weapons/pacing is so brilliantly designed. I sold my 360 after I beat it because the piece of crap got the 3 rings of death twice and ate my Guitar Hero II disc, but sorry guys, there still aren't any FPS for the PS3 as good as Bioshock or Gears of War.
I love my PS3, and am happy with Heavenly Sword (not too short like or bad controls like stupid reviewers say) and Warhawk (tons of fun but half-assed graphics) but I hope some games show up soon that are actually as good as Bioshock or GOW.

Posted at 7:06PM on Sep 30th 2007 by LW

7. I quite liked the demo, but the frame rate was too low on the ps3 demo i played. I didn't mind the actual game, and i found playing as the hot girl with the katana was fun.

It's just, i won't buy the game until the frame rate is fixed on the ps3 version, because it just kept dropping way below 30.

Get it locked at 30fps and i'll buy it.

Posted at 7:33PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Naaiif

8. I hate button press sequences. Period.

Posted at 7:38PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Andir3.0

9. @6 & 7: The frame rate was fine on my unit and yes, you CAN set the vertical axis to be inverted. It's in the control layout above the image of the sixaxis in the options menu.

If any of you have played Undying you would get a little dejavu from this game. At least a little bit. I agree that the guns don't really look "real" as the player's view doesn't have the right FOV and that the pacing was a little fast, but the creepiness factor is there, the environments and lighting are awesome IMO, and it's overall fun to play- or at least for me.

This will most likely be a renter-the-buyer when it comes out- mainly because I want to see what the bosses are like.

Posted at 8:56PM on Sep 30th 2007 by OrganicShadow

10. 15 minutes to download= a long time
beat demo in 5 minutes= waste of my life
Deleting demo immediately after i beat it and hated it to save memory on a 200gig harddrive= priceless

Posted at 8:59PM on Sep 30th 2007 by will

11. From what I've read and seen of the game, it looked absolutely terrible. But the demo turned it around for me.

It's not without its faults, certainly, but if the ability to jump between characters maintains its appeal through the game then I'm all for it. Let's hope the timed-button experiences are a bit better though; they're extremely atmospheric but marred by half-assed execution.

Posted at 9:00PM on Sep 30th 2007 by JKPierce

12. Xbots please stfu the people here get tired of hearing the bullshit that spews from your asses

Posted at 9:49PM on Sep 30th 2007 by NoRRODhere

13. An honest question for anybody who's played both of the following games:

Does Jericho have gore similar to that in The Darkness? I downloaded the demo of The Darkness back when it was released, but didn't like amount of pure gore in it. Is Jericho similar? More? Less?

Posted at 10:07PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Joshua

14. Chris said it. Undying. That game left me jonesing for Jericho, but after playing the demo I am very disappointed. Although the graphic is quite beautiful it feels confusing and it is easy to lose direction, especially in the crawlspace cavern in the demo where I several times ended up staring into a wall because I lost the sense of depth and had to backtrack. The scare factor I've learned to love in Undying just isn't there at all, it's too hectic and full of frantic button mashing, and more often than not my team mates would be involved in a firefight with someone I couldn't see myself.

No Clive. The game might be pretty and have some nicely looking monsters but this time you only whored out your name to a mediocre product.

The most fun I got as a result of the game was Chris's confusing sentence:
"but there's just something missing in this level that didn't evoke the sense of fear"

Posted at 11:39PM on Sep 30th 2007 by Broken Haiku

15. Is this available on the Eu PSN? BecauseI dont see it.

Posted at 8:24AM on Oct 1st 2007 by Martyn Brook

16. 15: Are you like the last European without a US PSN account? Get one, it alleviates whining. :)

And yeah, there is something missing to this game. It's called "scariness". The only thing that scared me was my own inability to judge the distance from me to the enemy. Monsters that looked close enough to slice/melee were out of range, so that when I did hit the button to melee, I'd miss, then they'd hit me. No fun. Codemasters needs to play Resistance to get this aspect right.

Also the timed button press lame was that? I felt like I was playing Dragon's Lair or Space Ace. The screen flash when I got it right might have had something to do with that also. I liked the screen flash, it basically reinforces the fact that you got the button pressed on time...but at the same time, using those buttons to struggle down a well was just dumb.

An average FPS if you ask me. Not scary, barely creepy, and way too dark. Games like this really make me want Resident Evil 5.

Posted at 10:23AM on Oct 1st 2007 by Popfrogs

17. I thought the demo was great, the QTE portion was gorgeous. The demo was fast, full with style, and an overall sense of history+style+graphics+playability. What else do you need??

One thing tough: the introductory video says that Cptn. Ross is killer earlier in the game, not several years ago?

Posted at 10:58AM on Oct 1st 2007 by Sergio Vera

18. I hadn't read much about this game, but after playing the demo I wasn't that impressed. It just seemed cheesy to me. I didn't like the controls and the intro made it seem like a really bad scifi movie.

Posted at 12:20PM on Oct 1st 2007 by gumby

19. This demo blew me away.

The game mechanics are awesome! It looks like they put a lot of work into the balance of each character and their unique attacks/weapons. People say it's not scary enough, whatever, I haven't been scared by a game or movie in a long time. Silent Hill was just kinda boring to me.

People looking for a Doom-esque shooter with good graphics and a really cool, immersive, and complex combat system; look no further.

I'll be getting the PC version cause I hate using the sticks to aim.

Posted at 1:36PM on Oct 1st 2007 by Larz

20. I liked this demo... The QTE was pretty unimpressive though... But I liked the rest... Might pick the full game up depending on reviews...

Posted at 5:47PM on Oct 1st 2007 by Emophia

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