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The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena

by: Eric Stallsworth ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Following on the heels of its predecessor Escape From Butcher Bay, Assault On Dark Athena holds up well in some ways but not as much in others. It's a good title for sure, but there are a couple noteworthy things you need to realize before buying this one.

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    Butcher Bay

    The predecessor in the Riddick series has been revamped and added to this title. If you thought it was good before, you can imagine how great it looks with a new coat of paint. The game revolutionized the use of storyline and stealth in a FPS, and it still holds up well even after all these years. As the criminal Riddick, you need to escape a futuristic hellhole known as Butcher Bay. The darkness is your intimate ally, and your enemies need to beware when the lights go down. The visuals have been updated a great deal, and even though they do show a bit of wear, the overall experience is enough to justify playing through it again (or for the first time, if you've not had the pleasure).

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    The Story Of Dark Athena

    Assault on Dark Athena Now that you've escaped from that terrible prison, you're on your way to Dark Athena. Once again, Riddick is trying to get away from confinement - something he seems to fall into regularly - but unlike Butcher Bay, it sometimes feels like too much of the same thing. The storyline is merely okay in the end, but the exceptional voice acting throughout does raise the score significantly. Although the story is predictable at times, you won't seem to care as much because you will find yourself easily immersed in Riddick's world. There are elements here that lack the cohesiveness and ingenuity of Butcher Bay to be sure, but overall it's still solid in it's implementation.

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    Death In The Dark

    Whether we're talking about Butcher Bay or Dark Athena, the use of stealth in this game is phenomenal. Butcher Bay does it better, but there is still enough in Dark Athena to entertain your need for silent assassination. One noteworthy exception is Dark Athena's use of guns, which sometimes seem a little too overbearing for a game based on a stealthy criminal. The gameplay of Dark Athena is halting and stilted as well, not flowing as nicely from one scene to another like Butcher Bay does. Unfortunately as Dark Athena enters its final hours, you may find yourself wishing it were over due to the seemingly endless robotic foes - not to mention the fact that everything is lit much brighter than Riddick would prefer. After all, since we're talking about a man who thrives in the darkness, the game should appeal to that trait wherever possible. It's the man's calling card, and Dark Athena really hampers itself in the end by not utilizing it as effectively as the game could have.

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    Multiplayer...Riddick?

    One truly odd choice in Dark Athena is the inclusion of a multiplayer game. The premise of the story really doesn't lend itself to Riddick playing well with others, so having a multiplayer mode is just plain wrong. There are the usual DM, CTF, and TDM modes, as well as a Pitch Black mode. In the latter, one person gets to run around as Riddick while the rest try to find him with guns and flashlights. Sure it might be fun to be Riddick in that scenario, but playing as his foes is not really as enjoyable. The online community evidently agrees, since you may find it difficult to actually find a match. The developers should have foreseen this; Butcher Bay was incredibly successful as a single player game. Dark Athena - despite its subtle flaws - could also stand on its own in the same manner. Multiplayer for this game just seems to be an attempt to follow the usual trend, the idea that every game needs multiplayer.

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    Riddick's Still Got It

    Despite the fact that Dark Athena is not as good as Butcher's Bay, it's still a decent title. The fact that both of them are included together (especially considering Butcher's Bay has been enhanced visually) here makes this worthy of purchase. The voice acting in both is top notch, and - with respect to Dark Athena - it even helps immerse you deeper into the game than you might expect. The use of stealth is handled extremely well, and it's always possible a couple of your friends might (big emphasis on might) want to try a run through the multiplayer side of things. The game is a decent title, and a worthwhile addition to your gaming library.