Earlier today, or yesterday depending on your timezone, the demo Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena debuted on Xbox Live. I took the opportunity to give it a once through and take a few notes about my impressions of the very short demo. I won’t bother putting a spoiler warning, because it’s a ten minute demo. Nevermind that I think I just did with that remark.
First off, I’ve already read complaints about the controls, namely the aiming, through a few online sources. I haven’t encountered any problems aiming. What I will say is that the context sensitive actions will take a bit to get used to, though you don’t get to use them much in the demo. Things like dragging bodies and usings the drone’s corpse-guns all use the Y button with you selecting which you want to use with the D-pad while the body is highlighted with your crosshair.
The demo looks beautiful – if dark and dank spaceship corridors are your thing. Luckily, they’re just my kind of thing. The darks are dark, the lights… are dark. And the eyeshine (night vision) makes a night and day difference. Other nice touches were environmental scarring from my stray bullets and bored wall slashing with my ulaks. I thought the way blood splattered on Riddick’s hands and weapons after each brutal melee kill was pretty neat, as well, adding to the atmosphere the game is aiming to portray.
The demo as a whole, is very short. For just above 600MB, I didn’t expect it to be very long, but damn is it short. It does a great job as a teaser I think, though. Letting you cut your teeth on the prospect of slinking around a ventilation shaft, picking off a platoon of mercenaries one-by-one as each dumbass goes to investigate the death screams of the last. I will criticize the demo by saying that if you’re never played the first Riddick game on the original Xbox, the short demo may not get your pants as wet as mine. Anyone who hasn’t played the first game won’t have the same memories flooding back the first time the game lets you stab the first guy you sneak up on in the eyeball with his own fingers before breaking his neck and dragging his corpse to a dark corner and waiting there for the next idiot to check on the sudden radio silence.
What the demo will do for the new blood, however, is hopefully get them hooked with the prospect of controlling the ships robot drone soliders, in a sequence I thought was very well done – use the robots to sneak up behind the mercs as they try to cut through the locked door of the room where Riddick is hiding. After that, it’s more sneaking around and picking off idiots one by one in the dark with knives.
To summarize: I’m very much looking forward to this game.