E3 07: Codemasters

by: John -
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When Chuck asked me to go to Codemasters, I couldn't help but be excited to finally check out Clive Barker's Jericho. Seeing the game up close, I'm really anxious to get my hands on it. So the basic premise is you are a leader of a squad who was killed but still linked to them. With that, you are now a ghost who has the ability to possess each of the six members of your squad. Each squad members have their strengths and weaknesses. As you progress through the game you'll face sequences where the squads are split up and some minor solo action. The main emphasis is on squad combat though. The AI in Jericho is pretty good and you won't have to babysit them as they will be able to take care of themselves. Like Gears of War, your squad members won't die and you can revive them by running over to your fallen comrade and pressing a button. You do have a priest in your squad that will automatically heal your fallen soldiers as well as offer greater healing capabilities than if you were to revive them yourself. The game is over when all your squad mates that are controllable in the current mission are incapacitated.

Each of your squad mates also have some unique ability. The sniper can shoot a bullet and control the direction of where it flies in slow motion. You can shoot through three enemies with one bullet and as you pass each enemy the bullet slows down a little making it little easier to turn. The abilities of your squad members can also evolve giving you some new abilities to use as you go through the game.

The game isn't all run and gun as there are some mini games that help break up the action. You'll encounter areas where you have to mimic certain button presses to achieve success, similar to God of War. I like the variety that this offers in an all out action game as you can't always have an intense firefight for the whole game. These mini games also offer a different way to scare the gamer with the way thecinematics are handled.

All the enemies have their weak points and you can use one of the squad mates to identify what they are. Some will be obvious of course but using soldier to find the weak points can make it easier to take down the enemy.

The graphics are incredibly well done with some great HDR and smoke effects. The landscapes are modeled extremely well offering great detail and very nice textures. Character models and special effects from their powers are also beautifully rendered. The monsters are detailed and well designed.

Clive Barker's Jericho will be coming out for both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 with the PlayStation 3 version utilizing the Sixaxis controller for some functions.

The last title I saw was DiRT for the PlayStation 3 and if you played the 360 version you'll get the same content with the PS3 version but the game is more refined. The graphics are better and there are some tweaks as well. All the multi-player options such as leaderboards are in the game. To help with the authenticity of the game there are licensed cars, authentic tracks, and realistic physics. The damage model on the car are quite extensive as I was shown one crash where the hood of the car broke off to expose the engine and parts underneath. You could see the individual suspensions working as the car raced around the dirt road.

With rumble coming to the PlayStation 3, I asked if the DiRT supported that feature. I was told the option was in there so that when Sony does release a controller with rumble support DiRT will take advantage of it. No Sixaxis support for the game though and I can see why it was left out as you need such quick and precise control over the car I don't think the Sixaxis would be able to do the game any justice.

Overall, two good titles from Codemasters but Clive Barker's Jericho is definitely the one I really want to play.
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