Generally favorable reviews - based on 84 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 84
  2. Negative: 0 out of 84
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  1. 100
    Enormously high production value adds to the pleasure of playing this game. It's no exaggeration to say that these graphics are the best you've ever seen in a console game...A masterpiece.
  2. A thoroughly immersive product, thanks to handsome level design, decent sound effects, an unnerving music score and lines delivered by real actors, including Diesel himself.
  3. The game has two great general strengths. The first is a simply spectacular presentation and attention to detail. Despite the grim environments depicted, this is one of the best-looking XBox titles I've seen. The details are breathtaking.
  4. Play Magazine
    This game is everything FPS and movie games need to be, chewing up and spitting out the vast majority of the competition. [July 2004, p.68]
  5. Computer Games Magazine
    The controls prove the best out of the recent crop of first-person shooters; the hand-to-hand combat system is spectacular. [Sept 2004, p.7]
  6. It's rare that a game of such impeccable design and ingenious execution is seen. It's paced wonderfully through an interesting story; features well-developed, appealing characters; and blends numerous gameplay types into one flawlessly executed adventure.
  7. The challenging levels, the variety of gameplay and the amazing visuals alone make it worth every penny. Dare I say (here comes the hate mail), it would be an even better game than "Halo" if it wasn't for a lack of multiplayer action.
  8. One of the coolest menu systems ever to be seen a video game. If I'm mentioning a game's menus in a review, then you know that they have to be pretty darn cool.
  9. The characters appear to have a depth I've never seen before.
  10. Not only are the visuals ridiculously sweet, the gameplay is unique and incredibly well-paced. Hands down, this is one of the best titles in the Xbox library. [July 2004, p.118]
  11. Official Xbox Magazine
    This cracking game also proves the Xbox truly is the only console capable of running games with this level of immersion...Riddick should be waved in the face of every PS2 fanboy with a taunting "nyah, nyah." [Aug 2004, p.72]
  12. 95
    From start to finish, it brings the player into the story and doesn't let go. Tremendous visuals, sound work and engrossing gameplay is just a short list of what this game brings to the table.
  13. This game is simply gorgeous. The lighting and mapping of the environments truly is a sight to behold.
  14. It's got more action than "Splinter Cell" and plays better than "Breakdown," plus you have the character of Riddick, crass, egotistical, and tough as nails.
  15. What essentially makes The Chronicles of Riddick such an excellent game is the awesome atmosphere that has been created.
  16. Innovative gameplay, rich story, and near flawless visuals.
  17. 94
    It is easily the best looking game to date on the Xbox and the gameplay is equally strong. I can't stress enough how shocked I am at the quality of this game
  18. 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.
  19. 93
    Every facet of the gameplay is brilliant, and it's wrapped in the best looking graphics on the Xbox to date. I've used the word 'immersion' in this review several times, and really it really is the aspect of Riddick that truly separates it from the pack.
  20. A terrific game. If you like action, combat, adventure, then pick this one up. Chronicles of Riddick as enough of each to keep you enthralled and excited.
  21. What's most interesting about even this game, though, is that in spite of its being single-player only, we're just as eager to go back and keep playing. With the exception of a few linear and otherworldly levels (which, by the way, out-Doom Doom), there are enough ways to try to escape from Butcher Bay that it's hard not to think about playing again.
  22. Chronicles of Riddick literally came out of nowhere to mesmerize us with its polished gameplay, immersive plot and unique gameplay elements.
  23. The only thing better than meat and potatoes is meat and meat (thank you Atkins), and that is exactly what this game does to gaming in 2004.
  24. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay has breathed new life into movie-to-game adaptations. It is the wonderful mixture of graphical beauty and seamless gameplay, that we've all waited for.
  25. A finely crafted gaming experience that will not soon be duplicated. The action, script and presentation are all worthy of the highest praise.
  26. Entertainment Weekly
    The gameplay is solid if a bit unpolished, but the awe-inspiring 3D graphics - the best yet seen on the Xbox - are what ultimately makes this adventure shine brighter than Riddick's eyes. The curse of bad movie-themed videogames is officially over. [18 June 2004, p.L2T 20]
  27. Usually a game with no multiplayer and running a little bit on the short side, I would have a hard time suggesting buying, but Escape From Butcher Bay is put together so well that a purchase is well worth it for anyone who enjoys first person shooters or action titles of any kind.
  28. Even though I was disappointed with no extra features, I was still extremely satisfied with the game as a whole.
  29. 91
    Beautiful hand to hand combat animations.
  30. Butcher Bay soundly defeats "Halo" and takes it's place as FPS of this generation.
  31. Merges both action and stealth perfectly to create a completely enthralling experience. Whereas it's a definite split between the two in most other titles, Butcher Bay fuses the two seamlessly, resulting in an entirely satisfying experience that plays wonderfully.
  32. An enjoyable semi-stealth first-person shooter game with good, gritty environments and only a few small glitches. A pretty darn good game.
  33. One of the most atmospheric, creative and technically impressive titles to hit any console in quite a while. An engaging plot, combined with the right balance of stealth and action makes Butcher Bay one of those classic games that any owner of the Xbox should have in their collection.
  34. Cheat Code Central
    This game will have you on the edge of your controller. You never know what's going to happen next. The gameplay never sinks into a predictable, redundant pattern. The blending of gameplay elements seems random; almost natural.
  35. 90
    It's simply too good and too tasty to ignore. Not to mention it's the first decent step towards next-next-generation visuals.
  36. CoR leaves you wanting more, not because it is short, but because it is good.
  37. 90
    Few games can match the amazing fusion of story, graphics and controls in Riddick. It's a step forward for not only movie-based games, but action games in general.
  38. An astounding game. It appears to be ahead of its time visually, and it couples this accomplishment with game mechanics so solid and well conceived that future titles will have a lot of work to do if they wish to compete.
  39. 90
    The game does a great job of combining stealth elements (centered on Riddick's ability to hear his target's heartbeat as well as see in the dark) with all-out, guns-blazing action.
  40. It's been a long time since I picked a game up and played it straight through to the end. Riddick is a game that once you start you won't want to stop, the action is paced perfectly with the storyline and it keeps you engaged the whole way through.
  41. The immersion factor is off the chart and is easily the best looking Xbox game yet.
  42. Sure, the game is only around 10 or so hours long (I timed myself the first time through at 11:57:49), but it was the best damn 10 or so hours I've had in a game world in a while. Besides, if a game can keep you playing from start to finish no matter how hard you need to pee, the developers definitely did their job and did it well.
  43. The average length of the game showcases the only real drawback to the game: its lack of substantial replay value. However, the open-ended structure, combined with the fact that every minute of the game is a satisfying experience, warrants at least a second time through.
  44. 90
    The voice acting is top notch and it's obvious that Starbreeze have taken steps to ensure that the lip-syncing is as well executed as the other aspects of the game.
  45. Challenging but rarely vexing, bleak and unnerving and technically extraordinary.
  46. A surprisingly tight blend of action, exploration and story. It's just too bad it's over so quickly.
  47. Riddick does lack in replay value, but the gameplay we do get is worth checking out.
  48. The Chronicles of Riddick looks great, sounds great and the gameplay is a perfect amalgamation of shooting, adventure, platforming, role-playing and stealth. Though I'm certain to be crucified for my blasphemy, this variety and skillful execution makes Riddick equal to, and in some ways, superior to the single-player component found in "Halo."
  49. Simply put, it's the most gorgeous Xbox game ever released. In fact, it's damn near photo realistic.
  50. Some may complain that the game is too short and lacks multi-player features, but grumbling seems churlish. Don't miss it.
  51. Xbox Nation Magazine
    Graphically exquisite and resplendently crafted, Bay is one of the best exclusive titles in the Xbox library. [June 2004, p.82]
  52. GMR Magazine
    It's a seamless and nigh-flawless experience that incorporates the best of what we love about gaming. [Aug 2004, p.90]
  53. Often masterful, rarely boring, and beautifully presented - from the minimalist HUD and maximalist visuals to the reactive Gregson-Williams-inspired scoring and conversational feel of the dialogue. It is a critical darling because it dares to keep changing and still manages to maintain a high standard in spite of this. It satisfies our lust for variation and our lust for technical excellence.
  54. An excellent game and a thoroughly enjoyable experience, but unfortunately the game is far too short. I don't say that too often, but I was left craving more out of the title.
  55. The different aspects of the game are so well-balanced that no single aspect ever wears thin or seems too prominent, and the game really lets you take on the challenges as you see fit.
  56. AceGamez
    It's not just the best movie-licensed game ever, but one of the best single player first person shooter adventures ever.
  57. Bleeding edge technology merged with an assortment of quality gameplay ideas, and topped off with well-utilized production values makes The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay one of the best, if not the best licensed videogame on the market on any console.
  58. The scripting keeps you glued to the game even though the main story is strictly a linear affair.
  59. This is the first stealth FPS I've played that actually works. From it's near-perfect melee controls and truly next-generation-level graphics to the pacing imbedded in its taut narrative, Riddick is a must-see, must-play, must-buy Xbox classic. [July 2004, p.100]
  60. I only have one small complaint in the gameplay department. It's a hair bit easy. I've went though the entire game without dying once on the standard difficulty.
  61. As a mature FPS experience it still comes highly recommended though.
  62. There are downsides to the game, though, the biggest of which being the absence of any form of multiplayer.
  63. Each non-playable character was highly unique in their appearance, voice, accent and behaviour which helps to get across the notion that the prison is truly teeming with life, individual personalities, groups of friends, rivals and enemies.
  64. 85
    An excellent hybrid of first-person shooting, adventure and RPG elements, stealth and combat... The equal blend of game elements is superbly crafted, and I am honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed the stealth and hand-to-hand combat.
  65. There are not many games that have a fantastic storyline with top of the range graphics and gameplay, but this is one of them.
    Bear in mind that these would be ten or eleven of the most stimulating hours you can imagine, filled with drama, action, fear, wonder and really quite the most intense violence any person should witness.
  67. One the one hand, the story is fantastic, presentation is amazing, the gameplay solid, and the visuals are some of the best to date. On the other hand, the game isn't very difficult, it is extremely short, there are no multiplayer modes, and there is very little replay value.
  68. Are we too battle-hardened to sense the full impact of Vin's Xbox debut? More likely the game isn't packing quite the dynamite as its potential suggested.
  69. Despite the fact that The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay is a somewhat short, linear romp with limited replayability, it's about as good as Xbox action gaming gets, from its fantastic delivery to its fun combat.
  70. Although Riddick may not be the longest game on the market and the replay value is pretty much non-existent with only Live Aware and no multiplayer to be had, for doubters and non-believers alike, Chronicles of Riddick is absolutely one of the best Xbox games ever released.
  71. Riddick is a brutally nasty game. From the opening neck-crack of the tutorial to the blood-soaked minigun shootout of the finale, if it's bordering on the pornographically violent, chances are it's included somewhere here. Rarely have we seen violence so shamelessly glamourised. [XboxGamer]
  72. 80
    A visual tour de force and quite comfortably the best-looking console game out there. The bar has been raised and then some, Bungie. All of which makes the game's length something of a letdown.
  73. The grimy and amazing graphics, plus gory, well-paced game play, wrapped in a worthwhile story add up to a surprise hit. If only Diesel's movies could be this good.
  74. 80
    It's a shortish ride, and dark -- pitch black, if you like -- but a great one.
  75. 80
    Great dialogue, visceral, vicarious violence, and a well-realized first-person experience might make you wish you could serve a little more of your sentence.
  76. The only time you see The Vin is in short cut-scenes and third-person sequences such as climbing up and down ladders and while healing at medical stations.
  77. Ironically this effort to strengthen the plot has the exact opposite effect, diluting its focus.
  78. games(TM)
    Sets a new standard for not only visuals but licences games in general. And we never thought we'd hear ourselves saying that. [Sept 2004, p.102]
  79. The fact that the game can be quite easily completed within 10 hours of play may very well put a few people off making the purchase. It has to be said however that these 10 hours of game play are some of the best you'll play in the last few years.
  80. The game controls are sluggish and difficult to use. Maybe this is a side effect of trying to do so many game concepts from an exclusively first person perspective or maybe its loose controller code.
  81. netjak
    Could have been a classic in the world of gaming if it had better AI and been quite a bit longer. Unfortunately, like most movie games, parts of it fell short. Overall, the game still presented an entertaining, story driven shooter that is well worth a rental.
  82. Edge Magazine
    It's not just a sense of humour and a flair for mayhem that Riddick shares with its star; it's a compact, muscular, single-minded piece of work, too. Flawed, yes, but so confident and independent that it's hard not to like. [Sept 2004, p.98]
  83. 70
    As immediately effective the game may be, look beyond the surface and the game becomes surprisingly shallow.
  84. Unlike many other games, there is little satisfaction in the subtle degrees between the player's success and failure, only the obstacles in the way of the next point in the plot.

Awards & Rankings

#7 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2004
#25 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 116 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 2 out of 116
  1. Jun 1, 2013
    Been a Riddick fan since the film Pitch Black and this game doesn't disappoint at all! Great stealth mechanics, good story, and an awesomeBeen a Riddick fan since the film Pitch Black and this game doesn't disappoint at all! Great stealth mechanics, good story, and an awesome prequel to the Riddick franchise! Full Review »
  2. Nov 7, 2020
    I just finished this on PS3 as it was included with my copy of Dark Athena. Did this not come out on PS2 originally? Maybe that's why I neverI just finished this on PS3 as it was included with my copy of Dark Athena. Did this not come out on PS2 originally? Maybe that's why I never played it as a kid.

    Anyways I was really impressed with how far ahead of its time this game was. It is a first person shooter/stealth game with RPG and platforming and survival-horror elements. It honestly reminded me of Fallout (years before that franchise went to first person shooter/RPG), Dishonored, and Prey. I was really impressed with the physics of this game. The dead body dragging stuff was really next level. I was impressed with the scope of this game especially considering it was a movie tie-in game that came out in 2004. They didn't have to go as big as they did but I'm glad they did. It's a fun game that moves quickly and there is a lot to explore. It's fairly linear but not wholly and it never feels like you are rehashing the same corridors over and over. Some of the graphical things were really impressive for the time too like how you will occasionally see Riddick's shadow based on the player movement and lighting.

    But overall the graphics don't hold up and the textures and polygons mostly look like crap now. I did like the colors and overall design of this game. The characters' mouths moving when speaking is probably the worst offender of "past graphics that don't hold up" in this game.

    The voice cast features plenty of actors/characters from the movies as well as a couple of big names from the industry. However, it felt like the game didn't get the most out of its cast. So many of the actors just sounded so sleepy during the whole thing.

    As impressive as the physics were it seemed like you never had to use the dead body drag mechanic all that much. The AI was smart, almost too smart. Any time I tried stealth they would spot you immediately. You would barely peak out of a corner and the guards would start blasting you. This caused me to basically abandon stealth all together and basically speed run the game. I liked that there were little RPG style fetch quest side missions, but I played the game fairly linearly and before I knew it I was escaping from Butcher Bay and the credits were rolling. I never got a chance to return some of the items I found along the way because the game didn't bring me back to the spot where I accepted the quest. I guess that's on me for assuming it would.

    Overall this was a really impressive game given the year it came out and the type of game it was. It reminded me of so many modern games I've played in the last 10 years or so. It was fun, interesting, and a breeze to get through. I'm really glad a copy of this was included with my PS3 version of Dark Athena because the obsessive compulsive completionist in me felt like I had to play the first game first. It's better than most movie games you will come across, but it's not without its pitfalls. Onto Dark Athena now.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 12, 2016
    Possibly the best FPS game ever made or at least a good contender for that title. Everything from the gameplay mechanics to the story and thePossibly the best FPS game ever made or at least a good contender for that title. Everything from the gameplay mechanics to the story and the art direction make EFBB an unforgettable experience that transcends the video game medium. Full Review »