Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena – hands-on

Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was one of the most visually stunning games to hit the original Xbox. It's also one of the very few movie based games that rocked. Given that gamers have been trained to expect sucktastic movie games, Escape from Butcher Bay was a surprising breath of fresh air. It built upon the mythos established by the films, gave us a meaty story and it was damn fun to play. Now developer Starbreeze is attempting to recreate the success of the original with Assault on Dark Athena. After playing around with an early build, we've put together the following list of reasons why we’re cautiously optimistic that Dark Athena is going to kick ass.

1) Double the Diesel – it's a remake AND a sequel

Assault on Dark Athena actually started life as an enhanced remake of Escape from Butcher Bay. After realizing that there was no way to get the original game working on the Xbox 360 via backwards compatibility, the team at Starbreeze wanted to redo the original. Once that was done, they started working on extra content which eventually evolved into a full title in its own right.

When you fire up Assault on Dark Athena you are given the option to start at the beginning with Escape from Butcher Bay or jump right into the sequel. If you've never played through the first, it's a must.

2) You don't steal weapons, you steal enemies

Riddick is the world's ultimate badass. He's a mercenary who cares for no one. But you can't just claim to be a badass. You have to prove it. In Assault on Dark Athena, the primary weapon is a cyborg drone made from the bodies of captured prisoners. Think of them as dumb versions of the Borg.

Since they're cyborgs, Riddick can't steal their weapons – the guns are actually part of the drone's arm. If you want to arm up for a firefight you have to actually pick up an incapacitated drone and carry it on your shoulder if you intend to use its weapon. While carrying the drone, you can move side to side and backwards, but cannot move forward. It's an interesting mechanic that allows for some intense gunplay while still forcing you to think on your feet.

3) Stealth is always an option

So you're one of those gamers who thinks Halo sucks and Metal Gear is the end all of gaming? Well, you're in luck because you can play through Assault on Dark Athena any way you choose. If you prefer the aggressive "kill them all" Rambo-style approach, feel free. But if you enjoy a little sneak in your step, Riddick has no problem being stealthy.

All lighting in the game is dynamic, which means you can shoot pretty much any bulb if you want to darken things up a bit. Move into the shadows and the screen gets a blue tint. Aside from looking cool, the blue tint is the game's way of indicating that you are completely in the shadows and cannot be seen.