I’ve been playing Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena this morning. Except I haven’t. Instead I decided to check out the remake of Escape From Butcher Bay that developer Starbreeze has generously included on the same disc.
To my shame, I hadn’t played the Xbox original of Butcher Bay. I’d heard it was good, so I was keen to see what the fuss was all about. Two aspects immediately stood out: the sheer quality of the voice acting and the fact there was so much character interaction.
Having gone in expecting a first-person shooter/sneaker, the opening prison sequence came as a huge – but welcome – surprise. You spend much of your time unarmed, just wandering around talking to fellow inmates and prison guards, picking up “quests” and working out how to escape, almost like a town or hub section in an RPG.
Combined with the excellent voice acting, this section serves as a great way of establishing a sense of place. By allowing you to explore and backtrack and just generally soak up the atmosphere – all before throwing you into the shooting and neck-snapping action – Starbreeze presents Butcher Bay as a real prison rather than just a game level to pass through.
I’ve just escaped via the infirmary and am keen to experience more. Did you play Riddick back in its original incarnation? Are you looking forward to the re-release and the new Dark Athena content?