As it stands, that makes The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena a rather beefy package, including two complete 9-hour games and a multiplayer component.
The Chronicles Of Riddick follows the events of Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) and his inevitable escape from various prison-like scenarios. It's a futuristic look at the art of prison-breaking, taking the player on an adventure including stealth, shooting and exploration.
The best thing about Riddick is that you instantly get the impression you're not playing just "another shooter". Whether you start out with the beautifully remastered Escape From Butcher Bay or the new Assualt On Dark Athena, you'll need to use elements of stealth and exploration in order to succeed. It's not your typical run from start to finish shooter - you'll have to look around, backtrack and interact with the world and its people. That's what sets it apart from other shooters and thus makes it special.
The fact that The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena includes two complete games is testament to the amount of content available here. Neither of the games are "watered down half adventures" — they are both 9-hour campaigns with sub-missions and collectables. While it's a moot point regarding which campaign is better (we actually preferred Assault On Dark Athena), both include enough endearing qualities to make the package as a whole truly worthwhile.
While Vin Diesel's portrayal of Richard B. Riddick is the kind of loose narrative you'd expect from the video game tough-guy, his interactive counter-parts are truly fantastic. There is a section in Dark Athena where you must interact with a room full of prisoners, and goodness gracious are they the most frightening people we've ever come across in a video game. The characterisation and script is dark, so expect to hear some pretty disturbing stuff.
There are some holes we came across in both stories, but to be honest, Riddick tells a better tale than most games of its type. It throws you in at the deep end and allows the game to teach you everything you need to know. You learn about your own character and those around you through interaction, conversation and again, exploration.
Both games in The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena have some terrible loading times. Most subsections of the map require loading and passing between them can be rather painful. There's no option to install the game to the Playstation's hard-drive so loading is something that must be put up with. Sadly it does break the immersion somewhat.
While we're sure Riddick fanboys will maul us for saying this - we have to admit to finding the map in both Assault On Dark Athena and Escape From Butcher Bay terribly archaic. There are no objective references, no waypoints, no "you are here" markers, nothing. In fact, the map is overall useless. The environment does try to give you directions as best it can via sign posting etc but you will get lost. We guarantee it.
It's not only the vague map that causes problems in both Riddick games but also confusing objectives. Some objectives will do an excellent job of giving you clues of where to go, others simply leave you in the dark with an objective and no help. This could be overcome by allowing the player to converse with other characters in the environment for clues, but sadly, even that is lacking.
The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena has a complete multiplayer mode which we will go into more detail with at a later date.
The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena is a compelling package that mixes shooting, stealth and adventure. Sadly, its shortcomings lie in vague and archaic mission structuring which will leave you confused too often.