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Pariah Review

Pariah Box art
Publisher:Hip Interactive
Developer:Digital Extremes
Genre:First Person Shooter
Official Site:http://www.pariahgame.com/
Platform:PC
Multiplayer:Yes
Release Date:May 6, 2005
Reviewer:Shane Lacey (Felon)
Buy now at Amazon.co.uk

I'd been keeping an eye on Pariah for quite some time, it definitely looked promising. And as Digital Extremes have had a long involvement with Epic and the Unreal games my hopes were high. The fact that it was due on the XBox at about the same time did worry me however, console shooters do not make PC shooters and in some cases vice versa in our opinion.

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Graphics

I've just recently upgraded my PC I thought this game could be a perfect chance to put it to the test. But no, not a chance, Pariah is hardly state of the art graphically. Some of outdoor environments look ok and there's some nice scenery but nothing to really push a half decent PC. You do have semi destructible environments and the occasional nice use of volumetric fog effects though, it's by no means an ugly game. The one redeeming factor of this lack of advanced graphical ability is that Pariah does run very smoothly.

Pariah does have a few nice touches here and there, for instance, if you happen to shoot one of the many underground pipes, steam will pour out but as a whole there's nothing to get too excited about. A little tired and dated would be my assessment.

Can I just add that I'm sick of enormous weapons that nobody could even carry never mind fire effectively, they don't even look good, they just look daft! Please developers, stop it!!!

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Sound

When Pariah loaded up for the first time I was blown away with the sound and the intro music full of so much deep bass, after that though it was pretty much downhill all the way. Weapons don't sound like they pack a punch at all, which considering their ridiculously large size is quite disturbing. It's bad when a gun reloads with a more punchy sound than when it actually fires. To put it mildly, sound is average at best.

The game's soundtrack gets the job done and sets the right sort of the mood but that's about it, no minus here. Voice acting too isn't all bad, though some of the accents seemed a little out of place to me.

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Gameplay

The game puts you in the role of Jack Mason, a medic on a mission to transport a woman named Karina in a cryogenic chamber. Karina who is apparently carrying an unknown virus. Now obviously the story would be a little short if the mission was a success so of course Jack's ship crashes in an area that is crawling with an army out to capture Karina and harness the virus she is carrying for some evil purpose.

Pariah's gameplay doesn't deviate from any other FPS I've played. If you boil it down, its just another shooter. The weapons aren't really innovative, you got your basic shotgun, grenade launcher, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, etc. The one original element to Pariah is the ability to upgrade your weapons – for better or worse in some cases. If you take time to explore the environment, you'll find weapon energy cores that can be used to upgrade weapons like adding an extra warhead on the rocket launcher or suppression for the assault rifle for instance.

In other cases like the grenade launcher, upgrading will garner you a remote detonator which can be more of a hindrance than a help. Despite the setbacks of upgrading some of the weapons, it's a welcome addition to an otherwise bland game. Towards the end of the game though you'll get stuck with a super powerful, yet annoying weapon that requires almost constant recharging from stations placed throughout the level. This may add some strategy to the game's final battle, but it's enough to make you yearn for the game's more conventional weapons.

Players can also command various vehicles throughout the game but they don't really add that much and can be overly similar to Halo, if a little trickier to control.

Gameplay is also extremely linear, requiring little thought, this contributes to the general ease of the game. Enemy AI shows little intelligence, they'll only occasionally duck behind cover and mostly just run at you Serious Sam style, but without the comedy.

Multiplayer consists of the usual formats. Capture the flag, deathmatch and team deathmatch, nothing new here either, considering that it's based on the Unreal technology, I found the multiplayer side of it quite laggy and frustrating, I suppose it's possible that I just didn't find a good server but it was however very tedious, can't blame the server for that.

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Summary

We have a rule at gameSlave, all games we review must have been played a minimum of 20 hours or completed at least once, Pariah was done in 8 to 10 really rather boring hours and I ran out of patience with the laggy and frustrating multiplayer before my full 20 hour quota was up. Ok, I admit it, I'm a slacker, but it just wasn't any fun!

A funky intro and an excellent map editor are just about the only positives I have, and unfortunately I feel the map editor is somewhat wasted in this game.

Graphically it looks jaded and tired which might not have mattered had the story been really gripping and intense, but it's not. To be honest the sound isn't up to scratch either. I'm trying hard not to be negative here, it's not that bad a game, it just isn't a good one.

And finally, Pariah is yet another example of a game that was obviously created for the current generation of dated consoles and hasn't been tweaked to use the extra power of a modern PC. Had we been reviewing the console version, it might have made a better impression but it doesn't quite reach par for a modern PC first person shooter.

Good stuff

  • Good map editor
  • The occasional nice touch

Not so good stuff

  • Stupidly big guns
  • Jaded and tired looking
  • Linear
  • Short
  • Average sound


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