Just in time for Halloween, Clive Barker, the modern master of the macabre horror leaps onto the Xbox 360 with Jericho. With the help of Codemasters and developer Mercury Steam. They hope to bring to life the very twisted imaginative world of Barker's devising in this squad based horror shooter.
The game follows the exploits of the Jericho Squad, part of the armies occult warfare division that have been fighting a secret war down through the ages against God's first creation, aptly titled: The Firstborn. This ancient evil has broken through into our world and ground zero for the event is the Middle Eastern city of Al-Khali. The game picks up with Captain Devin Ross' dream of a giant sandstorm out in the desert and a mysterious child like companion.
Soon the player is thrust first-person into the role of Devin Ross as the Jericho Squad are sent to investigate the city. You arrive during the prophesised sandstorm and the team are set down in Al-Khali whilst their transport beats a hasty retreat. Things aren't normal and fairly soon Devin Ross' group must face those horrors that only Barker could dream up.
The game is a squad-based first-person shooter that takes place in nightmarish environments deep within Al-Khali. The gameplay in Jericho might seem at first like a run of the mill shooter but if you preserve with it and continue to follow the story to the first major event you'll find that it drastically shifts and introduces new elements that expand the range of tactical options.
Unlike the GRAW style series of games you're able to switch from squad mate to squad mate (in a unique manner) when the team's leader - Devin Ross who has the power to heal by touch meets his untimely end in the first segment of the game. Unknown to Ross he can transfer his spirit from member to member and ride shotgun in their heads.
The squad command system is simple enough, the D-pad controls your orders and the game teaches you by doing, so any new ability or element is brought in carefully and presented so that you can apply an example of it to the current situation. Early on you'll learn about some of the characters and their psychic/magical abilities (they are all fairly unique and useful). Sometimes these are revealed as part of an in-engine cut scene or dialogue between the squad members.
There's no jump button to worry about and the A button controls all kinds of context sensitive actions. I actually found the control system to be a breeze to use and after around 10 minutes of play I'd mastered the basics of keeping my team mostly alive. You can die in Jericho and the game's difficulty ramps up the further in you go. Ross can heal fallen team members as long as you can get to them and tap A.
Father Paul Rawlings is the man you want to keep an eye on in combat, he can bring you back (as Ross early on) and other squad members back as well. Should the whole squad go down barring Rawlings you can use him to get everyone back on their feet fairly quickly - should you all go down then the flies take you and you've lost the battle against the Firstborn. Well, you'll go back to a checkpoint if you want to try again.