Posted on Apr 22nd 2021 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under vin diesel, vin diesel

If you do an internet search for "original XBOX hidden gems," chances are you'll see The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay mentioned on most, if not all of the lists you read. This game is often noted for its high quality in spite of being a movie licensed game. Although I do have an XBOX copy of this game on my shelf, I decided to play the remastered version on the PS3, which is included on the disc of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, also developed by Starbreeze. Butcher Bay is a first person stealth focused shooter with action-adventure elements. As Riddick, voiced by Vin Diesel, your goal is to...wait for it...escape from the high security prison known as Butcher Bay.

While the first thirty minutes or so of the game is a soft tutorial, the game really gets going a few hours in when the character gains the ability to see in the dark. While this helps with the sleathiness, it makes me think of my biggest gripe with the game. The detection of your character by the enemies is very inconsistent. In one section of the game I dropped in clumsily behind a character to the point where I collided with him, but I was not detected. In many other instances, I was spotted and instantly fired on by a distant enemy by barely turning a corner into a new room. It's a bit of a cliche, but it was definitely a case of "try to be stealthy for two seconds and then massacre everybody because you got detected right away."

The weapon selection is pretty sparse, which makes sense contextually because you are a prisoner. Melee is surprisingly effective but the guns in this game are the least accurate I have ever encountered. While there is not ironsight aiming like a Call of Duty, you can focus slightly by clicking the right thumbstick. The assault rifle is woefully inaccurate so I found myself relying on the shotgun a lot.

The game unfortunately takes a turn for the annoying in the final third. A story event where you explode a bomb in a deep cavern releases small two-legged creatures into the environment. The little bastards are not hard to kill with the shotgun, but this part of the game requires a lot of back and forth travel and they just keep attacking you while you're trying to get your chores done. While I had enjoyed the game decently up to that point, once the creatures were introduced I began hoping for the game to end. I was enjoying the role-playing elements of the sidequests of the middle part of the game. I won't say this section felt rushed, but it definitely made me want to rush through it.

Mercifully the game ends with a pretty easy boss fight where you can angle yourself in a way to not take too much damage. It felt like cheesing it but I was ready to roll the credits. As much as I enjoyed this game, it was not enough for me to wish to play the main event on the PS3, Assault on Dark Athena, so I went ahead and sold the game on eBay. If you have Butcher Bay on your shelf, I would recommend giving it a spin, as it holds up exceptionally well for a game from 2004, just be prepared for some minor frustrations.

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It's been a long time since I've played this one, but I remember really enjoying it back in the day. I think I rented the original Xbox version when it was first released but never finished it, but later came back and finished it on the PS3 remaster. I remember really enjoying the early-mid parts of the game during the prison, but like you I felt like the later areas were kind of a drag comparatively. I'd like to revisit this one sometime, but it's not the most accessible game since it's not a backwards compatible title for XBox and not available anywhere digitally that I'm aware of.

I will say that I also played Assault on Dark Athena on my PS3 copy back in the day, and yeah, you're not really missing much with that one. If I remember correctly, it's more or less a generic action game and leaves out pretty much everything that made Escape From Butcher Bay an interesting experience.

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