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The Chronicles of Riddick Escape

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay is one of those exceedingly rare types of games that delivers exceptionally high quality through and through and single-handedly ups the ante for all similar games. It's so unbelievably good that it almost feels like it was brought back in time, because most all of today's action games (on the Xbox or otherwise) just aren't in the same league. The fact that The Chronicles of Riddick also happens to be based on a movie franchise--something that's usually a bad sign for a game--makes it all the more incredible. You could call it a first-person shooter, but that would be selling it short. This ambitious game is played mostly from a first-person perspective and effectively and innovatively combines excellent shooting, hand-to-hand combat, stealth, and adventure elements with a solid story and truly outstanding, highly atmospheric graphics and sound. It's easily one of the most-impressive games on the Xbox and seems destined to be remembered as the most inspiring collaboration between Hollywood and the gaming industry yet.

If the actual game itself has any shortcomings, they're minor and worth acknowledging just to temper all of the well-deserved praise. The Chronicles of Riddick, despite its overall spectacular appearance, lacks a bit of visual polish. So, for instance, there are some barely noticeable seams in some of the character models during some of the dialogue sequences, and once in a while, when you're taking cover from enemy fire, you can see bullet tracers seem to jut through the wall. Also, the richly detailed environments of the game are relatively small, which may not come as a surprise since the setting is a claustrophobic prison. However, brief loading times will interrupt your progress through these areas fairly often, but (luckily) they are the only things that take you out of the experience of the game.

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