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.
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.