It’s no secret that avid gamers are somewhat sceptical of games created around licensed properties, particularly big Hollywood movies, and there’s good reason for that. However, it’s starting to become the norm to assume that when developer Starbreeze Studios is at the helm, licensed games tend to turn out pretty damn good.
This might be because, rather than attempting to make a game that follows the script of a movie or comic, Starbreeze takes the characters and the universe and comes up with something new. Their first success was with The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay on the Xbox and PC, a title based on the Vin Diesel movie, and which was actually set well before the film, telling the story of Riddick’s incarceration in a particularly tough prison and, more importantly, how he got his ability to see in the dark. It was incredibly absorbing and it played well, which was unusual for a licensed game. Three years later, Starbreeze did it again with The Darkness for the 360 and PS3, a game bearing the license of Top Cow Comics’ dark action series about a young mob hitman who becomes able to wield demonic powers. Again, the game was incredibly polished and damn good fun to play, and by now gamers were starting to say, “Hey, these guys are pretty good at this…”
Now Starbreeze’s latest title, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, has just been released, and I’m glad to say that Starbreeze’s reputation for producing quality licensed titles is still solid. Assault on Dark Athena is a sequel to their Xbox and PC hit, the aforementioned Escape from Butcher Bay, and just like the first game, it truly immerses the player in the role of one of the most badass anti-heroes in recent film, Riddick. But as if that weren’t enough, included on the disc is a remake of TCoR: EfBB, which is essentially the same game all over again, but using the same updated engine and play mechanics as Assault on Dark Athena. This adds incredible value to an already impressive title, and is great for people like me, who never owned an Xbox or a decent PC and so never got to play it the first time round.
In AoDA, Riddick, having escaped from Butcher Bay, has feverish dreams aboard a transport ship headed for the ass-end of the galaxy, but wakes up just in time to hide before his ship is hijacked by a massive pirate cruiser known as the Dark Athena. After avoiding detection, Riddick follows his would-be captors onto the Dark Athena to teach them a lesson for trying to abduct him.