It's been a while coming and if you've kept an eye on this site and the previous reviews for the original, the Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was one of those games that garnered a high mark from virtually every game site on the planet - it was the movie tie-in game that proved that movie games didn't have to latch onto the story and could follow their own storyline without messing with the film or having to shoehorn in the requisite flying, driving, boring sections of films.
EFBB was a fantastic game and whilst it only clocked in at around 10 or so hours, it was a great ride.
Now it's back for the 360 and brings with it a brand new escapade, Assault on Dark Athena - along with some multiplayer too that has an old school Quake/Unreal Tournament kind of feel.Story
Richard.B.Riddick must escape one of the most brutal slams in the universe in the EFBB segment of the game and discover along the way, just how he affects the lives of others. In Dark Athena the game picks up after EFBB and pits Riddick against the mercenaries and crew of a massive sprawling pirate ship that picks up derelicts and spacers, transforming their crews into something less than human, meat-puppets that can be used as frontline soldiers, remote controlled warriors. Gameplay
Riddick is a game that plays from the first person perspective and switches to third for various events, such as climbing a ladder, hanging from a hang-rail and climbing up onto a box, using a Nanomed machine and many of the game's dialogue related exchanges/cut-scenes. It can feel jarring for first time gamers expecting a straight first person experience but doesn't harm the game at all in my opinion.
Gunplay (there are several pistols, rifles and so on) is not a requirement in many sections of the game and there's a fairly slick stealth system that allows Riddick to get the drop on his enemies, you can fall onto them and you'll automatically take out one of more closely packed bad guys or you can sneak around and quietly take them down with a single button press. Light and shadow plays an important part and you need to drag the bodies into the dark to hide them well. The screen tints blue to show you have effectively hidden yourself and you can use this to gauge good hiding places for stiffs.
The controls are simple enough to learn, there are in-game tutorials for the first time player and the various techniques you'll need to survive in both Butcher Bay and Dark Athena are introduced with a slow learning curve. Stealth isn't a requirement in either game; however, it helps to deal with some of the more tenacious enemies that Dark Athena throws at you and some of the more resilient opponents of Butcher Bay such as the Riot Guards.
Riddick's trademark eyeshine is there and helps when you douse the lights, either with a swift shot from your weapon of choice, or by a melee smash with the butt of a gun. It can work against you when the enemies shine a light directly in your face, fortunately you can turn it on and off with a touch of a button.
Along the way you're going to have to get used to melee, suitably improved from Butcher Bay and retroactively applied to the rebuild. Hand to hand can happen with fists or with various equipped melee weapons, from knives, shivs, clubs and maces in BB to the mighty Ulaks in Dark Athena, Riddick's curved knives from the movie. These weapons are a beast and they will make quick work of an opponent if you can get to grips with them. Hand to hand has suitable visual cues that indicate when you can counter an opponents attacks, usually this results in a bloody display of retribution as Riddick lives up to his name and skills. A melee weapon will glint, or Riddick's palms will open slightly if he's fighting bare handed.
Health works on a regenerating scale, as long as you can avoid losing a full block and find a safe place to hide, you can regenerate that block back. Once the last sliver is gone though, so is the block. There are various upgrade units around the levels that you can locate; these will permanently increase Riddick's health. Some are in out of the way places and can easily be missed. Explore everywhere, especially if you discover vents that don't seem to be in the direction you're looking to go.
There are also packs of smokes in BB that open up extras, as well as Bounty Cards for Dark Athena.