Cheap Ass Review – The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena
The unlikely antihero that spawned from a sub-par Hollywood movie, Pitch Black, somehow managed to find his way into a number of gaming titles including The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena. In case you haven’t already figured it out, you take on the role of hardened convict Richard B. Riddick, played by the testosterone fueled Vin Diesel.
Following the events of Butcher Bay, Assault on Dark Athena begins with Riddick and Johns drifting through outer space in cryogenic sleep. That is until they stumble upon the mercenary controlled space vessel, Dark Athena. What follows is sold as a stealth fueled adventure with Riddick doing what he does best, trying to survive. Oh, and of course the unlikely heroic actions that he always seems to pull off, despite his actual intentions.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena Review
Firstly, I have to mention the graphics before I talk about anything else. Vin Diesel has one of the most featureless faces in Hollywood; he plays the hard man perfectly and lack of facial expression is usually key to those emotionless Hollywood roles. However, in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena he looks terrible. Riddick has lips twice the size of his face, that look even worse once he starts talking, and any real immersion is avoided with those darn goggles. Outside of character graphics and textures the environment is good enough to create a decent experience, if only it wasn’t ruined by the gameplay.
It starts out promising as the game introduces you to the various systems via a tutorial. You’re taught how to take out your opponents with both firearms and melee weapons, as well as what the developers considered stealth take downs. In an era dominated by stealth perfection, thanks to games like Metal Gear and Splinter Cell, a game really has to offer fine tuned mechanics if it hopes to compete; put simply, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena does not.
Even the stealth tutorial itself results in Riddick being discovered. An enemy drone with its back to you, you’re told to sneak behind to get the kill. I tried this several times to ensure it wasn’t my own failure, but every time the droid turns and discovers Riddick for no real reason. This flaw spreads itself through the entire campaign, making stealth almost a complete waste of time. I’m familiar with stealth titles, watching an enemies movement habits before making a move, but my efforts were denied by the poor detection mechanics. I lost count of the times I was discovered when completely out of visual range of my enemy. The poor stealth detection completely destroys any unique factor that this game could have carried.
To make matters worse the only visual clue you have regarding detection is a change of color on-screen. So while hiding behind a box and peeking around the edge the screen would almost flicker with the separate colors, increasing the frustration even further.[pullquote]The poor stealth detection completely destroys any unique factor that this game could have carried[/pullquote]
Practically all of our reviews here at Gamers Heroes, even those in the Cheap Ass Review series, are based on games that the editor has completed 100% (bar collectibles and whatnot). However, in this case I just couldn’t pain myself to do it. After putting a few hours into the campaign I felt exhausted, tired of attempting the stealth approach when it was far easier to kill an enemy and then use their corpse as a weapon; but sadly the latter approach was as equally mundane as the first.
There are some cooler aspects that are worth noting, such as Riddick’s iconic Eye Shine. Using his shiny eyeballs you can see in the dark, it’s like a torch featured in every other game with dark corners, but with no hands! Imagine that..
Overall The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena is an experience I would be happy to forget very quickly. Maybe a big game player back in its day but when it comes to modern day stealth and gunfire mechanics, it falls short. Another Cheap Ass Review on a game that did not stand the test of time.