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The Chronicles Of Riddick Assault On Dark Athena XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 7.8
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.5
Value 8.0
Developer: StarBreeze Studios
Review Date:
April 2009
Edwin Millheim


The Chronicles Of Riddick Assault On Dark Athena
(Available PC/360 & PS3)

Even if you played the original Escape From Butcher Bay, you may well be thrilled to play it again. The 2004 game has had a remastering update and is now included on the same game disk as the new Chronicles Of Riddick Assault On Dark Athena.  



This latest outing kind of slips into the realms of a standard first person shooter in many respects; it's the inclusion of the original that makes this a real adventure experience for the player. Having both games makes the game Assault On Dark Athena seem more complete, how ever it came about it was a masterful move to include both games.

The Chronicles Of Riddick Assault On Dark Athena picks up right after Escape From Butcher Bay, so playing the original first actually makes things so much more complete, even if you played the original years ago.  The original has gotten a full next gen treatment so its look and feel more than compliment this new adventure.

The bounty hunter Johns once again has Riddick at the start of this new installment, and of course something goes awry with the ship. Enter the Dark Athena, it soon hauls our anti hero and his captor in via its tractor beam.  The Dark Athena is filled of course with all sorts of not so nice people, slavers and really nasty and yet almost forgettable female villain. But hey, most movies are meant to be enjoyed, not teaching the meaning of life or what have you. So while the story here is not going to win any awards, it does its job more than enough. It sucks you in just enough to tell you what's going on. The only other criticism I would say about the Dark Athena story, you may never really feel a part of the events that take place around you.


With out dropping too much of a bomb here, Riddick is captured and trapped aboard The Dark Athena and has to escape before he is killed in some horrible way. There seems to be some underlying things going on, but unless I am just really dense, it's never really expanded on, nor revealed.

 At the start of this new chapter Assault On Dark Athena,  you get to step into Riddick's shoes and feel what it's like, because the shadows and the dark are your friends. Armed with your blades and keeping to the shadows, you get to take out your unsuspecting enemies in rather satisfying and brutally finality. All of the sneaking in the shadows, using Riddick's skills is a blast only skill soon falls to the way side and running and gunning soon becomes more important.  All the tense stealth action is sorely missed.

I suppose I can't really complain, originally Assault On Dark Athena was just some venture that came into being because the visuals on Escape From Butcher Bay where being cleaned up. So it only makes sense to have both games together and looking so awesome. Character models are very well done; one can see some range of emotions leak through. The surroundings are equally pleasing, from outer space, to the sand blasted environment of Butcher Bay, and of course The Dark Athena's bulk heads and corridors.  There are some graphical glitches here and there to be seen. Such as ammo clips and bladed weapons that fall and float in the air several feet from the ground. This can be found in all versions and in the 360 version an incident where a gun falls from a dead enemy and hits the ground but continues to fire.  None of this is so annoying to degrade from this epic adventure though.  Marry all of this with the sound effects, the music tracks and the actually excellent voice acting and Assault On Dark Athena is a sci fi  must have gaming experience.


Now, let me talk a bit more about the gaming content itself and making it through this adventure. While you do soon find yourself using more fire power than stealth, thinking out some general strategy is highly recommended. Especially in the Assault On Dark Athena portion. There are times when our hero can get over run and over whelmed by too many enemies to handle in a stand up toe to toe fight.

So trying for stealth, and taking out enemies when you can one on one is a lot better than trying to handle several at once. You may find yourself watching the reload checkpoint screen a lot, the nanomed stations that restore Riddick's health are sprinkled through out both parts of the game of course, but sometimes the one you need is just after a particular nasty area where stealth just may be your best benefactor.  Again, I would have liked to see stealth be more of an option through out the game, nothing like sneaking around and taking an enemy out by surprise. Try jumping on them from a height for an almost instant takedown. Nice, very nice. Having Riddick in stealth mode causes the character to crouch down, when hidden in the shadows there is a blue tint to the world and you know you're fully hidden from view.


Stealth kills are of course Riddick's trademark. Sneaking up on an enemy and using the appropriate button for the version your using (Be that PC/Xbox360 or PS3) Riddick performs a stealth kill.

There is a multi player option for Chronicles Of Riddick Assault On Dark Athena. For the most part it's the average bag of multiplayer tricks with some cool stuff sprinkled here and there. The Pitch Black mode is one of my favorites, and in my humble opinion is the only breath of fresh air in a rather drab rehash of multiplayer gaming. In Pitch Black multiplayer, at the beginning of each round, one player gets to be Riddick , every one else plays a mercenary on the hunt for Riddick. In a very dark environment with only the flash lights mounted on the weapon to aid them. Now the wicked cool thing is, the more powerful the weapon is, the less powerful the flashlight attached to it. Talk about a grand time.  So both sides get to have a full Riddick experience, sometimes playing as this sci fi antihero type and then also knowing some of the exhilaration and a bit of fright hunting this killing machine in his element. The dark.


The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena is a well made action title. Though on it's own it falls short of the full Riddick experience.  Having the Original Escape From Butcher Bay included makes for a nice book end experience. With everything in the package, The Chronicles Of Riddick Assault On Dark Athena is must have for any sc-fi gaming fan.

Have fun, play games.

Edwin Millheim


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