Lots of teammates almost all the time, but abundant use of uninteresting, overly strong enemies in small waves.
Villimax wrote this review on .
The team is awesome. They all have significantly differing powers, and they're all interesting as characters. They all talk a lot, usually to eachother, which is great. The only downside of their dialogue is that they re-use too many generic lines too frequently. Rawlings says "By the grace of God" like eighty times a second.
The graphics are great. Most environments are pretty spooky, the only thing that sucks is they're all extremely small. It's really odd how they would make a team-based game, but make the levels so small that the seven-man team (six later in the game) can hardly even fit in them. Still, I'd rather have the six teammates in the tight-fit corridors than none at all.
Sounds are pretty good, and the voice acting is nice and fitting. There's hardly a thing to complain about, though it wouldn't have killed them to use some more creepy ambient sounds to go with their creepy ambient lighting.
Though the graphics and sounds are great, the game is just loaded with flaws. No, not that kind, the game is bug-free as far as I can tell. All of the flaws are just the conscious decisions made by the designers themselves.
Where to start? Well, when moving forward, or forward at an angle, the player goes full speed. When moving backwards, he goes slower. Not just slightly slower. He goes half his full speed.
What's really bad is that the player strafes at the same speed that he moves backwards. What? It's really annoying when I'm fighting an enemy, and moving forward at an angle to the right and I'm going really fast, then I try to walk sideways and I start creeping along as if I wasn't in any danger. The speed is cut in half, so if I try to dodge an incoming rocket or something, I'm totally screwed because my character walks to the side extremely slowly, though if I changed by one degree forward, I would start going super-fast.
Overly slow strafing is hardly the destruction of Jericho's fun.
Like I said above, the levels are small, CRAMPED, even. There's nowhere to go. The AI (mainly only the player's team) will take cover and run around and do fancy stuff that makes the AI relatively good (certainly not bad), but there's no place they can move to so they all have to stand really close to eachother and fire away at enemies that they can't run from.
I'm just so surprised by how they decided that the player would get teammates, so very many at once for a horror game, but then they made the levels really tiny.
The tiny corridors are at least really long, making the sniper rifle a really useful weapon in virtually ever situation. The game also contains a number of wide-open areas, but for some reason those contain the least amount of enemies and usually have no cover. Not that there's much to take cover from.
The player, once his squad goes down to six, can possess any of the teammates at any time and use their unique powers. When the teammates are AI-controlled, they'll use their powers by themselves, though the player himself will have to utilize some of the powers. I mean, one of the guys can use a fire shield to protect himself from fire, but he never uses it when he's getting attacked by a guy with a flamethrower, which is the ideal enemy to use it against. Some other chick will never use her time-slowing power by her own accord, even though it would be possible for her to do because she'd just look really fast to everyone else.
Members of the squad will just randomly get powers without any explanation, like when the time-slowing chick gets her ability to give the whole team fire bullets, nobody says a thing about it. A little hint pop-up just says that it exists and what it does and of course the player must use it, the time-slowing girl will never use it by herself.
Teammates can be ordered around, but it's rarely ever useful, since they reliably follow the player and usually walk around in front of him anyway. There's also no room to order teammates anywhere but forward, and it's usually unwise to make them go around by themselves since they rely so much on the player to revive them.
The level size isn't really that much of a problem. There are some sizeable areas, so getting cornered is not the downfall of allies.
The game makes enemies way too strong with too much health that do too much damage and come in too small a number.
Lemme go step by step. The game gives the player a big number of teammates, which is surprising and totally awesome, but the game hardly gives the team anything to fight. Enemies will usuaully come in twos, perhaps threes. The player, his five Jericho squadmates and two extra British dudes all team up to fight against the enemy. However, all they ever fight is guys that shoot rockets, guys that have flamethrowers or guys that have machine guns, all of which are pretty big and much too powerful. Especially the machine guns. They only fight two at a time to top it all off. You've got eight goodguys stomping around ready to kick some ass, and all the game can offer is overpowered pairs of enemies. Not a huge wave of enemies asking to die, but instead two enemies at a time, endless in their two-man waves, who can kill the entire team by themselves.
These big enemies which all eight guys have to fight have tons of health. Every enemy in the game has tons of health. Every enemy also does way too much damage. The entire team can be taken out with great ease by one enemy if the player doesn't kill it quickly enough. The machine gun guys do way too much damage at any distance, even on Easy, and have too much health to boot.
The worst of the enemies are the suicide bomber guys. They're inserted in huge amounts at every possible opportunity in the game, are extremely difficult to kill, and because teammates have to bunch up in the small levels, one kamikaze guy can easily kill the entire team by his lonesome if he isn't stopped fast enough.
Obviously, the game would've been more fun with large amounts of enemies that are relatively easy to kill and had more challenging tricks up their sleeves, seeing as how there's so many teammates. They clearly made the wrong decision for the entire game. The enemies are extremely easy to hit and have pitiful attacks, so they give them a huge amount of health and make their attacks do tons of damage.
Teammates, upon their defeat, will kneel with skulls floating above their heads. The player must revive a teammate by running up to them and pressing the use button. It's really quick and easy to do, but it leaves the player exposed for a second. Also, the player must revive his teammates ALL THE TIME 24/7 THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE GAME because enemies are so insanely strong and teammates refuse to spread out, and they love getting too close to flamethrower guys. There is one member of the Jericho team who can heal allies up close like the player, or shoot a ball of healing magic at allies so he can heal them from a distance while keeping himself safe, but it takes like ten seconds to do when the player does it, even though the AI-controlled buddy can do it instantly, which means it's extremely unwise for the player to play as him.
The enemy design is most disappointing to me, out of all the problems. Enemies are supposed to look threatening and horrific, but every enemy is really stupid-looking. They're all so unbelievably unimaginative. It took me the longest time to figure out that the half-naked guys with knife hands were actually the evil cult members the player is up against. I thought they were just random enemies. Turns out EVERY enemy is an evil cultist or evil human soul, which makes no sense and is never explained. I mean, how did all of the normal human cultists turn into monstrous creatures? They're even undead, which just makes even less sense, and they're in every era in the game. The game has multiple eras by the way.
The first time enemies appear, it's pretty neat as a dialogue sequence, even though the dialogue sequence seems inappropriately cut-off since nobody says "Open fire!" or anything before the fighting starts. The ending of the sequence is lame because the team never mentions the strange appearance of the enemies, or any enemies in general. Also, the girl with all the techno-gear says that the enemies don't have any life signals (making them zombies), which makes the fact that they're human cultists even more ridiculous. I mean, the cultist leader, who gets to the lost city shortly before the player (he also has a crazy-deep voice), looks perfectly normal when they show a picture of him on a laptop screen. However, when he actually appears, he's a freakish demon that can fly. I couldn't even tell it was him until I saw the monster's lips moving with the evil guy's speech. He got there, then suddenly turned into a crazy demon, and nobody ever makes mention of how he turned into a crazy demon. I mean, the Jericho doesn't wonder even a little? How did they even recognize him?
Oh, yeah, I mentioned how lame enemies look. Almost every enemy is really lame, both in their appearance and what they can do. The player starts off in some ruins fighting zombies with knife hands. It kind of makes sense, but then the player has to fight the overly-difficult-to-kill suicide guys, which don't really match up with the zombies with knife hands. Did I mention every enemy is really stupid-looking?
The only thing that makes zombies with knife hands cool is that they can shoot their knife out on a rope and reel it back in. Otherwise, the fact that they're entirely melee-based makes them pretty uninteresting after fighting fifty of them, and it's even worse since they're the most common enemy. They're also really easy to kill, despite their huge amounts of health, so they're almost always backed up by suicide-bombing exploder guys. There's nothing cool about the exploding guys.
After the ruins, the player gets to some World War 2-era place, consisting of German bunkers and trenches. You'd think that this era would come with a brand-new set of enemies who all match the era and are really kickass. I mean, come on. Undead World War 2. Surely there should be crazy zombie Nazis with gas masks and rifles and submachine guns. Surely a devil tank will come rolling over the hill, shooting rockets made of souls and spitting napalm out of the machine gun on the front. No, the player still has to fight zombies with knife hands. They finally introduce enemies beyond the zombies and the exploding guys, but these enemies suck even more. They're huge and bumpy and misshapen. They're also very plain-looking and have absolutely nothing to do with World War 2 or any other war. What's really annoying about them is that they're the guys that have tons of health and do too much damage. They finally make enemies with ranged attacks and they totally screw them up. Instead of making badass Nazi zombies who have German uniforms and weaponry, they use these big, misshapen losers. I can't possibly stress enough how they have nothing to do with World War 2 and aren't even slightly soldier-like since they lack team tactics and don't look human or use human weapons. They're supposed to be Nazi zombies. But they're just big piles of suck and they totally botch the era's theme. I mean, the only person who has anything to do with the war is some (female WTF?) German leader who looks like all of the other zombies, only she has a fancy officer hat. In the World War 2 era, the player at least runs into some really badass-looking British soldiers who represent what the Germans should've been. They even call the enemies Jerries, which is the only real hint that the big, moldy foes are supposed to be Germans.
There's a segment in the WW2 era where you have to destroy some machine gun turret things, which are human-sized pillboxes with machine guns sticking out. It's kind of weird how these could exist since none of the Germans could possibly fit in them since they're so oversized. There's also some anti-tank guns set up around the levels, but they do absolutely nothing. That's especially terrible since they're sometimes set up in a place where, if they were useable, they could make the player's life easier.
Enemies hardly ever get better (flying demons, that's always original), though they at least begin matching their eras. In the Medieval era, enemies wear chainmail and tunics and carry shields and have replaced by axes (they might have swords, too), but they're not much more fun to fight than zombies with knife hands. They're at least backed up by some cool-looking-and-sounding zombies with crossbows of doom, who are really dangerous, but satisfylingly easy to kill. It's never quite explained how one of the Crusaders was human and living, even though everyone else in the era is a zombie. The vast line of spears, representing an army marching into the castle the player is about to enter, also never gets anywhere or does anything. Plus, where are the "infidels" the Crusaders are supposed to be fighting? I at least assume they're supposed to be fighting, as there's a whole army marching into the castle, and according to the story it's where a bunch of "infidels" held against an army of Crusaders. Or something. It's so confusing. WW2 got some British guys, would've been nice to run into the enemies of the Crusaders.
The Medieval era does have one cool foe: An army of zombie children. They have tentacles for arms and they float around with their guts dangling since they have no legs. They're about as cool as common enemies get, which isn't saying much since they look so stupid. They first appear as ghost children in huge groups, floating around without legs, then they materialize, screaming and flying around and stabbing with their tentacles from a distance, which is actually pretty badass. The Medieval era also ends on a good note, a dramatic boss fight in a dreary church against the man who led the army of children to die, which means that the player must fight the army of zombie children AND the crazy jerk who led them, but they hate him so much that they fight him more than they fight the player.
The Roman era goes back to having crappy enemies. The Roman guards actually fight in a pretty cool way. They hide behind their bullet-proof shields, and they use their super-strong throwing arms to hit the Jericho team at any distance, and since they have a bunch of spears hung up behind their shield, they just grab another so they can fight face to face. They also peek above their shield, which is just something interesting to notice, and is also a good time to get a headshot. Sadly, these guys are only a step above Crusaders, as they look really, really stupid. They're just naked guys, much like the cultists, and they have no face. Their helmet also looks like it's a part of their head.
It would've also been nice to have a higher amount of long-range foes, since every Jericho member is able to fight at a distance, but generally the only enemies in the game able to fight at long range are the dreadful WW2 guys.
Let's review: Slow strafing. Teammates don't use their own powers enough and they love to die. Levels are too small and make the teammates crowd eachother. The game is loaded with small amounts of endless waves of overpowering enemies who easily kill teammates and make the player revive more than he fights. Every enemy is crappy-looking, as they're supposed to be scary but end up being stupidly lame, especially in the World War 2 era.
They even had the cojones to make a segment where Delgado, the character who just sucks at close range, has to fight endless waves of melee-based guys and suicide bombers in endless waves, and they don't make it very obvious that the player is supposed to just run past everyone, since virtually every battle in the game forces the player to kill everything before he can move on. I died like five times trying to kill all of the knifehand zombies and exploding guys before I realized I was supposed to just leave. This is the most frustrating segment in the game.
Despite these painful problems which were all choices by the designers that could've been fixed and the game could've been way better, the game is overall COMPLETELY worth playing. It's fast-paced, team-based and pretty fun, despite the frustratingly cheap enemies who are too insanely strong and are no fun to fight or look at. It's still pretty satisfying to use weapons and powers against them.
The game lacks a co-op mode, for some ridiculous reason, so I would never, ever pay for it. Ever. Well, not because of no co-op mode, but because of all the other problems combined with no co-op mode. It doesn't need some cheap, run-of-the-mill competitive multiplayer like so many games have, but it could've definitely used some co-op, especially since the game is so team-based.
I'd probably buy the game if it was like ten dollars, which it isn't. Still, the game is %100 rental-worthy, and playing it from start to finish is an extremely appealing idea, even with all of its sucky features.
Delgado is just like Rico from Killzone.
OMG SPOILER ALERT
If you're unfortunate enough to play the game all the way to the ending, it's totally going to piss you off. First, you bring back some guy who's supposed to seal the rift between the Firstborn and "your world". He spouts some obvious lies, which Delgado plainly sees, and the team decides that instead of just sealing the rift like everyone before them, which obviously didn't work out so well for any of them, the Jericho squad should just go through the rift and kick the Firstborn's ass, after killing the guy they just assembled to close the rift.
It's a pretty dramatic scene, and makes it seem like surely the other side of the rift will be epic. Everyone ends up in some water, which somehow has like two dead guys floating in it, and they swim swim swim until they get to a cavern where it's completely closed in, except for a big opening with light pouring out. Also, the big, bad cult leader is for some reason chained to the wall or something and he doesn't do or say anything.
The Firstborn suddenly comes, instantly kills Cole and Jones in the cheapest way possible (for some reason he doesn't kill the other Jerichos in the same way), then the fight begins, as some really crappy, barely audible music plays in the background. It's pretty lame and cheap until the player knows what to do, in which it's then really easy and still pretty lame.
Upon defeating the Firstborn, the big, bad cult leader suddenly breaks free (I would assume he's chained up, anyway), says "I STARTED THIS SO I'LL FINISH IT", then he grabs the Firstborn and whisks him away into the opening with all the light pouring out so he can pull out the Firstborn's entrails or something. Y'know, 'cause the evil villain who had like two lines the entire game has suddenly turned over a new leaf.
The light from the entryway starts flashing, then the cavern starts coming down, no surprise there, so the last line in the entire game is "Jericho, head for the water, and swim deep!" The Jericho squad swims back to where they started, then they surface, showing a clear, red sky, then the screen fades to white and the camera just shows a static view of the ocean without any of the Jerichos visibly or audibly present, and the credits roll.
Or, to put it simply, "Everyone dies."
The team got through the entire game intact, even Ross in all his ghostly glory. Then suddenly, Cole and Jones die super-fast, and the four remaining team members (five if you count Ross' ghostly spirit) are forever trapped in the endless ocean of the Firstborn's realm or something. Or maybe they got to the lost city, back in "our world", and the lost city was replaced by an ocean since it was no more and they'll soon swim ashore and be safe and happy except for Cole and Jones who died. It's not really explained, and all you can assume is that the ending is really crappy. Once the final battle started, there wasn't even any scripted dialogue. I was really disappointed. CRUSHED, even. The characters were all interesting, even though they never really developed and the plot was really thin, so it's just frustrating when they try to end it in such a confusing way where the fate of two characters is stupidly awful, and the fate of the rest is unexplained.