Review: The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Review: The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Dark Athena has Escape From Butcher Bay, brand new content, and the sultry tones of Vin Diesel. What more could you need?

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WhiteTigerShiro

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Sep 26, 2008
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I have to agree about the gun comment. A little of that would've been fine, but too much of it and it's like playing Halo Wars on the PC... just another bland game when there's better picks in the genre.

Also, loved the comment at the end. "Oh, I am gonna enjoy killing you."
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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WhiteTigerShiro said:
I have to agree about the gun comment. A little of that would've been fine, but too much of it and it's like playing Halo Wars on the PC... just another bland game when there's better picks in the genre.

Also, loved the comment at the end. "Oh, I am gonna enjoy killing you."
I chose not to show the line that really, really made me want to snap that bastard's neck, but I assure you...he totally had it coming.
 

Ancientgamer

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Jan 16, 2009
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Is wrong that I actually enjoyed The Chronicles of Riddick? ~meh

The atmosphere actually looks quite interesting, I'm glad it's more than just a generic movie tie in.
 

Doug

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Apr 23, 2008
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Hmm, I'd always assumed the Riddick games where ... well, movie cash ins, like the bulk of movie linked games. This one actually seems like its worth playing as a stand alone product.
 

Singing Gremlin

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I loved Butcher Bay. Loooved it. It really is a shame it was so underrated, but hey. When you say cleaned up, how so? Are the graphics any nicer, less bugs, or gameplay at all different? Or is it just really code stuff to make it backwards compatible?

And Butcher Bay had a mech sequence. I thought that was quite good. Is the new one on par with that?

Driving Analysis suggestion: Do not walk into things.
 

Keane Ng

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The year of Diesel continues. This is going on my "for a rainy day" list of games.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Singing Gremlin said:
I loved Butcher Bay. Loooved it. It really is a shame it was so underrated, but hey. When you say cleaned up, how so? Are the graphics any nicer, less bugs, or gameplay at all different? Or is it just really code stuff to make it backwards compatible?

And Butcher Bay had a mech sequence. I thought that was quite good. Is the new one on par with that?

Driving Analysis suggestion: Do not walk into things.
The most notable improvement is that the loading is far less aggravating. It looks slightly better, but it was always a damn good looking game.

The mech sequence in Dark Athena is really very short - a trip down a hallway, and another one across the hull of the ship. Seems rather pointless, to be honest.
 

brewbeard

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Nov 29, 2007
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The only thing holding me back from this is that, when I bought my 360, Escape from Butcher Bay is one of the games I wanted to play on it (what with the whole 'reverse compatibility' thing). Having never owned an XBox, I was quite disappointed, and I remain dismayed that it never made it onto the supported list.
 

LoopyDood

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Can't forget that this game was also released for the PC and PS3, and Escape from Butcher Bay was released for the PC a little later in the year after the Xbox version.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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brewbeard said:
The only thing holding me back from this is that, when I bought my 360, Escape from Butcher Bay is one of the games I wanted to play on it (what with the whole 'reverse compatibility' thing). Having never owned an XBox, I was quite disappointed, and I remain dismayed that it never made it onto the supported list.
This is why it never made the list. They've known for some time that they were going to handle the game this way, ergo, it never made the transition.
 

ElArabDeMagnifico

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The only good thing about the guns and the mechs I can point out, is that it stops things from getting too repetitive. You can only do the same thing over and over for so long, so the pacing is nice.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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ElArabDeMagnifico said:
The only good thing about the guns and the mechs I can point out, is that it stops things from getting too repetitive. You can only do the same thing over and over for so long, so the pacing is nice.
Ordinarily, I would agree with you, but it's just so out of character that it really pulls you out of the gameplay experience. I think the combat mixed with the environmental puzzles and stealth keeps it all fresh enough that the gunplay isn't necessary. Your mileage may vary.
 

TsunamiWombat

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Awesome game, Vin Deisels voice acting is so... well lets just say I grew an extra set of testicals.

As everyones pointed out, the run and guns sequences feel generic and out of place. Ironically Riddick shines when it doesn't try to shine. It's basic, tense combat, hide and seek, and environmental puzzles - such as, take out the two giant chaingun armed mechs. Oh, and you only have a knife. Good luck. These are awesome moments.

When the game tries to play itself up like an action movie is when it gets a bit blah.
 

Avatar Roku

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Doug said:
Hmm, I'd always assumed the Riddick games where ... well, movie cash ins, like the bulk of movie linked games. This one actually seems like its worth playing as a stand alone product.
I know. I'm getting more and more respect for Vin Diesel. First, he decides to forgo the easy cash of a cheap tie in, then it comes out that he plays DnD and WoW.
 

Bored Tomatoe

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Susan Arendt said:
WhiteTigerShiro said:
I have to agree about the gun comment. A little of that would've been fine, but too much of it and it's like playing Halo Wars on the PC... just another bland game when there's better picks in the genre.

Also, loved the comment at the end. "Oh, I am gonna enjoy killing you."
I chose not to show the line that really, really made me want to snap that bastard's neck, but I assure you...he totally had it coming.
I remember that guy. The most satisfying thing about killing that bastard was when he said "Lets settle this like men, put away your gun!" When he said this, I put away my gun, and he equipped fists, I then promptly reequipped my shotgun and killed him with one headshot...
 

Nerdfury

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Feb 2, 2008
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Susan Arendt said:
WhiteTigerShiro said:
I have to agree about the gun comment. A little of that would've been fine, but too much of it and it's like playing Halo Wars on the PC... just another bland game when there's better picks in the genre.

Also, loved the comment at the end. "Oh, I am gonna enjoy killing you."
I chose not to show the line that really, really made me want to snap that bastard's neck, but I assure you...he totally had it coming.
Note to self: Never stare at Susan's anything, or may have neck snapped.
 

Doug

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Apr 23, 2008
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orannis62 said:
Doug said:
Hmm, I'd always assumed the Riddick games where ... well, movie cash ins, like the bulk of movie linked games. This one actually seems like its worth playing as a stand alone product.
I know. I'm getting more and more respect for Vin Diesel. First, he decides to forgo the easy cash of a cheap tie in, then it comes out that he plays DnD and WoW.
I know! Its not fair, he's suppose to be a jock so we can feel all superior, but it turns out he's a muscle bound actor who's also enjoys nerdy stuff! Not fair ;)
 

Eagle Est1986

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Nov 21, 2007
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I played the demo and I wasn't impressed to be honest, I didn't find there to be too much difference from the original game, which I loved btw, I suppose I'll find myself either renting it or buying it if I can find it cheap somewhere.
 

WodashGSJ

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Doug said:
Hmm, I'd always assumed the Riddick games where ... well, movie cash ins, like the bulk of movie linked games. This one actually seems like its worth playing as a stand alone product.
In a reversal of the usual order of things, the Butcher Bay game was much much better than the associated movie.
 

Doug

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Apr 23, 2008
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WodashGSJ said:
Doug said:
Hmm, I'd always assumed the Riddick games where ... well, movie cash ins, like the bulk of movie linked games. This one actually seems like its worth playing as a stand alone product.
In a reversal of the usual order of things, the Butcher Bay game was much much better than the associated movie.
What next, a good Uwe Boll movie?
 

Liamsd

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Payed some dood to shine his eyes, FALSE!!!

Ahh, Riddick only told that to the girl as a story.

It's not actually true, he was one of those warrior race doods and that's why his eyes are like that. ;0
 

Jupsto

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lol video was really sassy and funny, but short. shame the videos here don't go much in depth, I don't like reading reviews so much.

PS: I actually liked the second film despite its more tacky sci-fi feel, but glad I saw pitch black first its much more genuinely bad ass.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Liamsd said:
Payed some dood to shine his eyes, FALSE!!!

Ahh, Riddick only told that to the girl as a story.

It's not actually true, he was one of those warrior race doods and that's why his eyes are like that. ;0
Yeah, we like to pretend the CoR movie never happened because, really...Necromongers? Underverse? Furians? Stupidity.

It is, however, some damn nice eye candy with some fun action sequences.
 

Doug

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Susan Arendt said:
Liamsd said:
Payed some dood to shine his eyes, FALSE!!!

Ahh, Riddick only told that to the girl as a story.

It's not actually true, he was one of those warrior race doods and that's why his eyes are like that. ;0
Yeah, we like to pretend the CoR movie never happened because, really...Necromongers? Underverse? Furians? Stupidity.

It is, however, some damn nice eye candy with some fun action sequences.
Ah, the Necromongers - how silly they where. And for some reason, it went from slow speed interstellar travel (i.e. Cyrogenic sleeper ships) to FTL jump ships...very silly!
 

Evil Scotsman

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Keane Ng said:
The year of Diesel continues. This is going on my "for a rainy day" list of games.
Well, if you lived here in Scotland, you would be playing it a lot...


and i mean a lot
 

GyroCaptain

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Doug said:
Susan Arendt said:
Liamsd said:
Payed some dood to shine his eyes, FALSE!!!

Ahh, Riddick only told that to the girl as a story.

It's not actually true, he was one of those warrior race doods and that's why his eyes are like that. ;0
Yeah, we like to pretend the CoR movie never happened because, really...Necromongers? Underverse? Furians? Stupidity.

It is, however, some damn nice eye candy with some fun action sequences.
Ah, the Necromongers - how silly they where. And for some reason, it went from slow speed interstellar travel (i.e. Cyrogenic sleeper ships) to FTL jump ships...very silly!
I've heard it remarked that it was Conan "in SPACE". I'd add "plus lava-like heat blasting and Armor-wearing goths".
 

Doug

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GyroCaptain said:
Doug said:
Susan Arendt said:
Liamsd said:
Payed some dood to shine his eyes, FALSE!!!

Ahh, Riddick only told that to the girl as a story.

It's not actually true, he was one of those warrior race doods and that's why his eyes are like that. ;0
Yeah, we like to pretend the CoR movie never happened because, really...Necromongers? Underverse? Furians? Stupidity.

It is, however, some damn nice eye candy with some fun action sequences.
Ah, the Necromongers - how silly they where. And for some reason, it went from slow speed interstellar travel (i.e. Cyrogenic sleeper ships) to FTL jump ships...very silly!
I've heard it remarked that it was Conan "in SPACE". I'd add "plus lava-like heat blasting and Armor-wearing goths".
Actually...yeah, pretty much - Although Conan the Barbarian was better! It didn't take itself so seriously, nor did it have the Vampire Space Goths with Gimps on leashes.
 

OblivionWolf

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I can never remember the story in any Van Deisel movies I watch. They just seem to be strings of action sequences to me.

But seriously? CoR is a stupid movie... and a plague of creatures of darkness on a planet with 3 suns is more plausible?
 

GyroCaptain

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OblivionWolf said:
I can never remember the story in any Van Deisel movies I watch. They just seem to be strings of action sequences to me.

But seriously? CoR is a stupid movie... and a plague of creatures of darkness on a planet with 3 suns is more plausible?
That's what we call a silly plot device, as opposed to a silly plot with silly plot devices. :D
But seriously, I still enjoyed both. Lowest common denominator me all you want, it was still good for some fun.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Oh, don't get me wrong. I still watch CoR whenever it comes on. But it's crap, plain and simple.
 

Kstreitenfeld

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orannis62 said:
I know. I'm getting more and more respect for Vin Diesel. First, he decides to forgo the easy cash of a cheap tie in, then it comes out that he plays DnD and WoW.
It caught me by surprise too, that's why this comic made me laugh :)
http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/4/20/
 

ryuutchi

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"Vin Diesel's silken gravelly voice"? I'm pretty damn awful at first-person shooters, but I may have to pick up the game just for that.
 

Samurai Goomba

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A while ago I watched Pitch Black and picked up the original Butcher Bay. Once I get my Xbox working again, I'll try to finish the game.

And yeah, the ONLY movie featuring Riddick is Pitch Black. Thus, the "shine job" story is the correct one. Besides, it's just a better-sounding reason than "plot device ancestry powers."

Gotta love Riddick's voice, though. I played some of the earlier prison segments in Butcher Bay (the first iconic series of melee fights included), and thought it was some of the most awesome stuff I'd ever played in a game. Of course, the aforementioned Riddick Voice {tm} makes everything that much more immersive and awesome.
 

jonnopon3000

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I'm sorry, but i have to say it.

I do not like your review style very much. I mean, sure u give a good perfoemance and show some good game footage, but there is no...liveleyhood. I mean, video reviews are compelling because they give information, a score, an opinion, and some great footage and a lot of the time a good voice to listen to. the only problem i had with this review was that it didn't have any action to the voice...it was dull and i found the review almost boring.

Good comments though, and i may buy the game...Sorry to be a critic, but that is the only problem i have
 

Hazy

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Keane Ng said:
The year of Diesel continues. This is going on my "for a rainy day" list of games.
This will end up being on your: "I have to finish work so I can play this one more time" list. It's definitely worth the money, in my honest opinion.
 

Mrsoupcup

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The game was very good until it made you use guns to much. The melee combat was loads of fun.
 

Joos

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Heathen, Chronicles of Riddick was an AWESOME film.

For some constructive criticism, your video reviews would be more pleasant to watch/listen to if you made full sentences rather than 3 second staccato sentences awkwardly jumbled into one. Also, try to breath a bit more deeply, this will make your voice more dynamic and more interesting to listen to.
 

UtopiaV1

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Dear Susan,

I've have been reading your reviews for quite some time, and I wanted to build up a little bit of reference material and evidence before I put forward the following statement: As a reviewer, you suck.

I will now go through a list of reasons why you are a particularly bad reviewer, evidence to support this, and then suggest ways to improve your reviewing style. I do not want to invite a flame war, or simply throw baseless accusations around, but I want to improve the way you review the games, so that you can advise gamers more helpfully on what particular games are worth playing.

Point 1: My biggest complaint is that you simply don't do a thorough analysis on the games good and bad points, and lack evidence to back up any criticisms you do make. All you do is simply say what you, in your own opinion, find entertaining and what you find annoying, and then maybe throw in a one-liner joke. Opinionated journalism may bring in a larger audience, but as a consumer, this gives me no actual insight into the games good and bad points, from a technical AND a gameplay standpoint. If you gave your reviews a more objective spin, saying what the game's strengths and weaknesses are according to a wider audience, then it would be much more helpful to people deciding whether to buy the game or not. Every time you write a criticism or comment about a game, think to yourself 'Is this what gamers in general will think, or is this what I think?'.
Evidence for this - In your most recent review (Chronicles of Riddick - Assault on Dark Athena), instead of explaining that there is a mech-driving section, outlining how it is or isn't fun, and how it does or doesn't fit in with the storyline/gameplay, your only comment was "...but in some areas you simply have no option but to shoot your way out, like in the mech sequence. (Apparently, every new game this year needs a mech sequence, whether it makes sense or not.)" Bearing in mind this is just one example, there were a few other moments where I felt your commitment to giving the game a complete and thorough review was somewhat diminished. (I won't list them all, just simply look at the end of some of the paragraphs, you'll spot what I'm talking about)

Point 2: I know it's only a supplement, but in your video reviews you don't say nearly enough about what is happening onscreen, or the game in general. Most of the time, it's an off-handed comment on how 'this sucks' or 'this is fun', without a shred of personal or technical evidence to back it up, despite the huge gaps of silence where you're not talking, which gives you plenty of opportunity to back up these claims. Please, I'm not asking you to do a Yahtzee and talk non-stop at high speeds throughout the review, but as any good video review will tell you, long silences are something to be avoided! All you need to do is describe the value of an asset or style of approach within a game, and then evaluate it's pros and cons. This is reviewing 101, and although it's an oldie, it's a tried and tested method that gets key information across quickly and accessibly, and it even gives you a chance to throw in a joke or two. In summary, no more long pauses after an unsupported comment, please!

I'm sorry if I seem mean or unfair, but I offer you a chance to give your own counter argument to my claims, and I hope you don't ignore my pleas for a better standard of reviewing. It just really gets me when someone doesn't review a game properly, not that they don't give it a fair chance (which is also annoying, but I'm definitely not saying you do it), but that they give no information to the receiver about the good and bad points of a game, and instead resort to calling something 'crap' without evidence, or even admitting it's a gut instinct. Please tell me if I'm wrong, or if you plan to change the style that you (and also John Funk, this is also directed at him) review games, because it's not only unfair to the developers, but deeply unfair to the readers and customers who leave the review as ill-informed as when they went in.

Thank you for your time.
 

NewGeekPhilosopher

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Susan Arendt said:
WhiteTigerShiro said:
I have to agree about the gun comment. A little of that would've been fine, but too much of it and it's like playing Halo Wars on the PC... just another bland game when there's better picks in the genre.

Also, loved the comment at the end. "Oh, I am gonna enjoy killing you."
I chose not to show the line that really, really made me want to snap that bastard's neck, but I assure you...he totally had it coming.
Gee Susan your reviews are getting darker. Is there any problems? Not feeling happy? Or just putting a darker spin on your usual cheerful "beddy-byes" voice acting?
 

Stuart M

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I'm so bummed out that I missed EFBB, but it's all the more reason to pick this up.

Nice review.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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NewGeekPhilosopher said:
Susan Arendt said:
WhiteTigerShiro said:
I have to agree about the gun comment. A little of that would've been fine, but too much of it and it's like playing Halo Wars on the PC... just another bland game when there's better picks in the genre.

Also, loved the comment at the end. "Oh, I am gonna enjoy killing you."
I chose not to show the line that really, really made me want to snap that bastard's neck, but I assure you...he totally had it coming.
Gee Susan your reviews are getting darker. Is there any problems? Not feeling happy? Or just putting a darker spin on your usual cheerful "beddy-byes" voice acting?
Actually, I was quite ill when I did the voice over, and as a result my voice sounds a bit off.
 

RebornKusabi

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I just played through this game and while I consider Assault on Dark Athena to be a weak link, Butcher Bay has held up surprisingly well by today's standards and a huge example of what movie games are capable of.

Other than that, great review!
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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RebornKusabi said:
I just played through this game and while I consider Assault on Dark Athena to be a weak link, Butcher Bay has held up surprisingly well by today's standards and a huge example of what movie games are capable of.

Other than that, great review!
Though I definitely see where you're coming from, I thought Michelle Forbes' performance saved Dark Athena. Your mileage may vary.
 

Gerazzi

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Feb 18, 2009
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wait, climbing through air ducts, shimmying along walls, jumping on crates?
Doom 3?
No!
Riddick apparently.

I might buy it, not really interested...
 

whiterabbit9

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May 27, 2009
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The only problem with the Riddock character is Vin Diesel. He also somehow made a terrible move out of Hitman, all the writers had to do is pick a plot from one of the games! Riddock simply wasn't as good as other stealth games that have come before it. Then it turned into a bad version of halo. The fighting is great, but that has been done before..... better. A very mild version of manhunt, but not as good.
 

Sky Captanio

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Not only do I agree with the gun comment but couldn't they have done something better to keep them forbidden? In Buthcer it's DNA encoded and in Athena they have them attached to the drones arms. The entire time they're rubbing guns in your face and especially when you need one most.