Chronicles of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena – First Look

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Anyone who had ever played Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay on the original Xbox or even the PC will know that the prospect of a sequel or even a polished up version of the original is an exciting one indeed.

Levels of excitement have no choice but to shoot through the roof though at the idea of having not one, but both of the above mentioned titles packaged together. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also coming with multiplayer?

Escape from Butcher Bay is easily one of the absolute best movie license games ever made, if not the best, and impressed in so many ways that I finished the game nearly confused at how much game developers Starbreeze had actually gotten right.

We just recently had the chance to get a first look at the upcoming sequel Assault on Dark Athena with our own eyes.

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Those of you who missed out on Escape from Butcher Bay are in for a treat, and the fact that you will be able to jump straight into the sequel is just plain unfair on those who had to wait so long.

While the title of the original does a pretty good job of summing up the plot, Assault on Dark Athena is a little more cryptic and surprisingly, has nothing to do with Vin Diesel mugging a greek woman in a dark alley. The press release gives a pretty good summary of what we can expect, which goes a little something like this:

In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena the player takes the role of Riddick, as played by Vin Diesel, using stealth and action to overcome the merciless crew of the predatory Merc-ship Dark Athena which awaits its prey in the dark reaches of space.

Cheating death through a series of spectacular battles and events, Riddick will fight for his life amid a storm of malevolence and horror. The Chronicles of Riddick series of games takes the player deeper into the universe of Universal Pictures’ films The Chronicles of Riddick and cult classic Pitch Black, which first introduced Vin Diesel as enigmatic anti-hero Riddick.

It’s a little difficult to explain exactly what type of genre the Riddick games fall under, which is also one of the reasons that the first title was quite a pleasant surprise. It’s first-person, which we are all quite used to, but also has quite a few walk-around-and-talk-to-people kind of elements, including little tasks and quests, so add a dash of RPG to the mix. The action, specifically the hand to hand combat can get incredibly furious and in your face, but a lot of the game is spent doing what Riddick does best, hunting. So in essence, it kind of falls under the FPS-Action-Stealth-RPG genre, or something like that.

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While I can’t say too much about what we saw recently, I can tell you that the new graphics engine is looking really great and improves on the originals in every way, and the framerate stayed very smooth and consistent. Even though the Escape from Butcher Bay has been ported directly to the new engine as well, all textures and other elements have been recreated from the ground up.

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As we all already know, Vin Diesel makes a return not only as the character of Riddick, but more importantly, the voice. You have to give it to the big guy’s voice, it adds an incredible amount of power to the character and many people goose-bump ridden after the trailers and introductions were done.

Multiplayer is looking pretty exciting as well. More specifically because of a mode called “Pitch Black”, but I will get back to that in a bit.

The game is going to feature 12 player multiplayer and will comprise of your standard modes like deathmatch and capture the flag, as well as something a little different called Butcher Bay Riot and will ship with 20 multiplayer maps. Butcher Bay Riot has three teams ( guards, mercs and prisoners) each consisting of four people, fighting over the activation of a central power cell and mixed things up a little by having three teams duke it out instead of two.

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Back to Pitch Black mode. If you were ever lucky enough to play the “Hunt” mode in Aliens vs Predator 2 (apparently also similar to a mod for Half Life 2 called “the hidden”), you will have a very good idea of what this mode is about, and will probably be as excited about it as I am.

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In Pitch Black mode, one player gets spawned as the almighty Riddick, whilst everyone else is spawned as a normal player. As you all know, Riddick is an incredibly efficient killing machine, especially in the dark. This basically means that if you do not spawn as Riddick, that you should probably wear a nappy. If you are lucky enough to kill Riddick, you get to spawn as him in the next round and so on. If this mode is anywhere near as fun as the Hunt mode in AVP2, then be prepared for some awesome gaming memories, especially when you successfully get one of your buddies to drop his controller out of sheer terror.

Look out for Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena on shelves when it launches in March on the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 platforms.

Last Updated: February 11, 2009

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since ’08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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