The best game of this generation. Despite some annoying flaws Riddick is back and better than before. (spoiler free)

User Rating: 10 | The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena X360
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is one of the most underrated games of all time. It successfully blended the FPS genera with stealth, action, and RPG elements. It had brilliant pacing that kept the game fresh and ever changing at all times. The story was good, the acting was excellent, and the graphics were unrivaled. EFBB was one of the very few singleplayer games I played through more than once.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena updates the excellent graphics from EFBB and gives you a full blown sequel and throws in multiplayer as an added bonus. The remake of Butcher Bay is just as good as it was in 2004 but with better graphics. While the graphics aren't as good as today's top games they are well above average and certainly do the job. There are a few minor issues with the graphics though. Lip-syncing on non-major characters is just bad. It's almost as if they don't even move there lips at all. Also, the issue with the original game where some of the seems on character models would break apart and show a black line is still present. Outside of those two minor problems EFBB is still the same great game it was in 2004 and actually still feels fresh.

The sequel, Assault on Dark Athena, in my opinion is just as good as Butcher Bay. The graphics are noticeably better than the already pretty Butcher Bay and none of the graphical glitches are present. Also the story and voice acting is just as good.

The game play is more "open" than BB despite equally linear level design. What I mean by that is the way you choose to attack (or not attack) is up to you. You can go in guns blazing if you want. That will work but you'll be going through health like crazy more than likely. You can stay in the shadows and get stealth kills. You can shoot one guard, hide, and when all the other guards are looking where you were attack from a new direction. The way you choose to approach combat is almost always up to you.

DA also does a good job changing the pace though not as consistently good as BB did. Sometimes the change of pace will be an excellent new approach to the game and sometimes it will have you wanting to throw your controller through the screen.

The biggest complaint that most people have that I've talked to is the second half of DA. The second half has you out in the sun in a town on some planet. This part of the game pretty much forces you to use guns more than stealth kills but doesn't eliminate stealth all together. You'll still have to plan your approach except this time you'll be firing loud weapons that alert everybody to your presence. If your smart, you'll be able to find a new way to use this to your advantage and develop a new stealth style that hasn't really been used in either EFBB or AoDA till this point. IMO, it's a very good change of pace and fits well into the Riddick games.

For me the two biggest weaknesses in DA are the boss battles and weak eyeshine. They're either too easy, WAY too hard (I could just be bad) or to similar to the last 5 bosses you just fought. Yes, DA does have you fight the same boss type at least 4 times and there's only one way to beat that boss. Eyeshine (Riddicks ability to see in the dark) in DA actually makes things HARDER to see than when you don't use it. Also, it only brightens up objects 10 feet in front of you which makes it pretty much useless (this isn't the case in the remake of BB)

Also included in AoDA is online multiplayer (no splitscreen). I haven't played too much online but my impression hasn't been a good one. It's generally a lag fest (also could be my connection but don't have that issue with Halo). Online animations are VERY jerky which looks stupid. The online modes are generic and average at best. The best part of online is the Pitch Black game mode. One person is Riddick (who can see in the dark) and the others are mercs trying to kill him with flashlights on there guns. The mode is okay but over all everybody moves too fast and it feels a lot like quake.

Overall this is one of the best deals out there. You get 2 games of legendary quality and replayability (finding cigarette packs and bounty cards unlocks some pretty cool art and vids in the main menu). Some people will surely find the online mode fun but this is no Halo or COD. So get the game for the single player. I'm now working on my second playthrough and the game still feels very fresh. I could not recommend this game more, even if your not a fan of the movies.

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