Pariah

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Description official descriptions

You play Jack, a doctor on a transport ship. The ship is transporting a woman who suffers from a previously unknown disease and who've been put in stasis to be taken to a research facility. On route the ship is shot down and you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with hostile people coming at you. In the standard first-person shooter setup you battle to uncover the truths of the disease.

Spellings

  • Pariah. Изгой - Russian spelling
  • 弃民 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

185 People (153 developers, 32 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 68% (based on 52 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 30 ratings with 3 reviews)

A derivative shooter which moves very well, and simply works on its own terms.

The Good
This game was fairly well panned by game critics upon release, and admittedly some of the blows hit the right targets in truth, but from a different viewpoint there are some otherwise unassuming positive aspects that make it a worthwhile look. This is the developer of the Unreal Tournament series first stab at creating a single player campaign oriented outing, while there is a small degree of teething visible, despite this, it remains a solid effort.

Of course, the UT game engine is employed here, and while not at the time the bleeding edge of tech, it is a darn fine engine, well scaled in particular, and this sort of scalability makes it a good choice for older systems, and I can attest to having played it using an old Geforce 3 Ti with only 64 meg onboard, and the game ran as smooth as you like.

The game-play is your average one-man army against all odds scenario, with a paper thin story line which is of little consequence in truth, but in a straight faced shooter like this, the obligatory plot is only stapled on to give the action some sort of coherency, and if there is something interesting here it is an added bonus. So, what we have here, essentially a fairly slick looking textbook FPS, and of course there has to be some kind of gimmick thrown in as a hook, and here it is weapons’ upgrade. Hardly original right? , Well yes, Gunman Chronicles went a similar direction a couple of years earlier, but it is still a good inclusion, and well implemented. More on that later.

I suppose what makes up Pariah, are the developers took all the things they liked best from various shooters and packed it all into their own game, which isn’t much of a stretch, as it has been rampant since the inception of the genre. One fairly obvious title that is liberally “borrowed” from is Halo, a game, in my opinion which is far over hyped, and simply received a surplus of attention because it was release on the fledgling machine amongst only a handful of weaker titles, and there was no real alternative, but that’s not to say it isn’t an above average shooter. If Microsoft hadn’t of consumed Bungie, they would have simply released it on their home platform, Apple Mac, and it would have developed a fervent fan base there, but the world most likely wouldn’t have cared less. I also believe the games title, which denies its Marathon roots, is to make it seem like there is no connection to the past Mac titles, as Bungie ardently claims, but it’s a pack of lies I think, to make Halo, and sequels seem completely uniquely original, which just isn’t so.

So I’m getting off track, but I had to get that out my system, anyway there are many cool vehicles, mounted weapons and other interactive stuff here that makes this a lot of fun, such as three-wheeled buggies, that handle like, well . . ., something with three wheels, needless to say it takes some practise getting the hang of it, but it makes for an interesting ride nonetheless. Others include more convention, and very Halo-esque four-wheel contraptions suitably covered with roll-bars, ready to rock and roll (literally). There as some certain bits on rails, as is fashionable of late, where here you take control of a cannon on the back of a moving vehicle, while another drives. I like it when these sorts of bits are peppered in, as it gives you a nice change of pace from the standard style of play.

The enemy AI here isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, with chiefly just some general ducking, weaving and hanging back to force you to make the first move, but ambushes are fairly common, so this side of things keeps you firmly on your toes. In terms of weapons, you have the usual assortment; a machine-gun, shotgun, plasma rifle, rocket launcher and sniper rifle, the last of which has a particularly neat upgrade, in the form of thermograph imaging, which is an interesting visual effect, and of course makes for a handy way of quickly spotting the enemies. Upgrades are simply collectables that can be found scarcely throughout the various landscapes and structures, but add a personal touch to the play, as you can pick and choose which weapons to upgrade according to your preference. Health kits are collected as for weapon ammo, and are used like a pressurised injection, and this facet of the game is taken from the more little known Russian FPS Kreed, as is much of the visual style of the weaponry, incidentally, whereby they are quite chunky and sport colourful overtones in some instances.

Overall visually, there is a bunch of nice effects thrown in, such as the haze effect of burning fire, and the motion blur after a health booster, and the usual assortment of fogging, lighting and particle effects. A particularly notable, albeit subtle touch, are the way flora gently sways in the breeze, such as plant life and tree leaves, which adds a kind of believability to the game world.

The Bad
Not a whole lot of niggles, and none genuinely disastrous. There is a general lack of variety in enemies classes, so things can get a bit repetitive in this area. Other than that, as long as the game has the final definitive patch applied, everything goes smoothly.

The Bottom Line
The play in essence basically sees you constantly moving from one point to the next, in and out of ground installations, blasting scores of enemies, and getting around the huge outdoor environs utilising the various cool vehicles, and the action rarely stops, coupled with the great UT engine, makes for some aesthetically pleasing, straight out action extravaganza that is hard to fault in terms of sheer entertainment value. Highly unoriginal, sure, with a “yeah, me too” quality, but it plays very well and certainly has its moments, so is definitely worthy of some attention.

Windows · by Nick Drew (397) · 2007

The most enjoyable first-person shooter since Halo 2.

The Good
Well...pretty much everything.

Graphics The game's graphics are better than in Doom 3, using the trusty Unreal 2 engine for the visual effects. Once you start looking at the astounding outdoor environments, it's not so hard to figure out why this game was cancelled on the PS2.

Audio Aside from the repetitive enemy taunts (which is typical for this kind of game), the audio is every bit as top-notch as the graphics: footstep noises that largely depend on what you're stepping or jumping on, cool futuristic noises when using objects or upgrading weapons, great voice acting, and a movie-quality musical score by Tim Larkin (the same guy who composed the music for the Myst games).

Gameplay The most important part of any game, the gameplay in Pariah is the icing on the cake. The weapons are just plain awesome. You have a Bulldog (a machine gun), frag rifle (a shotgun), a sniper rifle, a plasma gun, a grenade launcher, and a rocket launcher. "What, only six guns?" you say. Don't panic. You can pick up weapon energy cores to upgrade your already excellent weaponry. All weapons can be upgraded a maximum of three times. The first upgrade will require 1 WEC. The second upgrade will require 2 WECs. The third upgrade is the ultimate upgrade and will require 3 WECs. Upgrading a gun still retains its basic functionality, it just makes a gun more powerful in a certain way. For example, upgrading the Bulldog once will increase the rate of fire, upgrading it twice will increase its accuracy, and upgrading it the third time will increase the damage that the bullets dish out. Upgrading a rocket launcher once will make the missiles heat-seek, upgrading it twice will increase the damage of the rockets and have it fire two rockets at once, and upgrading it the third time will make it fire four rockets at once. You get the picture? However, most of the WECs are hidden in secret ares (with a few exceptions), so only the most keen-eyed player will be able to fully upgrade all of the weapons. All of the weapons are utterly satisfying to use, thanks to the realistic weapon sounds and appropriately rough gamepad vibration effects. As such, the game is an action-packed blast from start to finish; the action will never stop for a tedious puzzle or a boring item search, so those who didn't like Half-Life should feel right at home with this game.

Your health bar consists of four blocks. Partially full blocks will refill about 5 seconds after taking damage. Doesn't that remind you of Master Chief's shields in Halo? Anyways, to increase your health, you don't pick up generic "med-kits" or "boosters" or whatever. Since your main character is a doctor, he always has his healing tool handy. It's a useful device that injects materials into you that will increase your health. The game's interface uses it as a weapon, and each "clip" contains 4 blocks worth of health. Injecting too much of it at once results in visual blurriness. The healing tool can be upgraded with WECs; the first upgrade will make it inject quicker, the second upgrade will increase your health capacity to five blocks, and the third upgrade will increase your health capacity to six blocks. Sprinting in Pariah will also cause visual blurriness, and you cannot wield your gun while sprinting. As in Doom 3, sprinting for too long will cause you to stop sprinting for a few seconds, and you will hear your heartbeat after you stop sprinting.

As in Halo, there are vehicular action sequences where one person will drive a vehicle, and another person will use the car's guns. If only the driver is in the car (which is the case most of the time in the single-player game), he/she can just put the pedal to the metal and run over an enemy.

The game's Havok-powered physics are also great, as well. They allow you to do a lot of other cool stuff to the game world, like pushing dead bodies around and destroying objects. After all, nothing is much more satisfying than killing an enemy and then pushing his dead body off into the water...or shooting a pillar that will then fall onto an enemy, killing him...or watching an enemy run past an exploding barrel, just for you to shoot it, blowing him into the sky...or shooting a barrel full of toxic gas that'll poison the enemy...

Artificial Intelligence Pariah's AI does not disappoint. In addition to shooting at you (of course -- how else would they be your enemy?), these guys circle-strafe, duck, and run like hell in an attempt to find some cover to hide behind (they can even run backwards!). You will likely miss some of your shots when battling some of these enemies, but they are still very possible to take down.

The Bad
Nothing! It rocks!

The Bottom Line
Pariah mixes the perfect ingredients together to make a completely absorbing first-person shooter that makes Doom 3 and the first Halo look lame by comparison. It isn't really a Halo 2-killer, but it's definitely right up there. Don't just sit there...you should actually be at the store buying this game by now, right?

Xbox · by Spartan_234 (425) · 2006

A splash of imagination wouldn't have been wasted

The Good
Pariah is set in in the future, year 2500 or thereabouts. Which is nicely far away to show off sci-fi stuff but still close enough so that they don't look too weird. Trouble is, if you look at the world 500 years ago and compare it to today, it looks very different. If you look at Pariah's world and compare it to today's it really doesn't. And this despite the fact that the speed of changes has accelerated enormously over the past 100-150 years. This lack of imagination is typical for the game.

But hey, this is a first-person shooter so let's not get too involved with the background. Let's look at the most important stuff. Weapons. We got the sub-machine gun, the shotgun (but with a more sci-fi name), the rocket launcher, the grenade launcher, the sniper rifle and um.. did I mention the world looks eerily similar to ours? Apart from the plasma gun (which is like an assault rifle but with slower rate of fire) (original!) the only real sci-fi weapon is only seen in last chapter and it's not very interesting nor original. Thankfully the weapons are modifiable, but unfortunately modifications are not really that original. More damage, bigger clip, heat-seeking missiles, thermal imaging scope.. Only the plasma gun has original(ish) mods, but I never used them as they seemed pretty useless. On the plus side, I liked the weapon effects (loading the shotgun in particular is cool) and the exaggerated effects when you hit the enemy look good. Although a bit of gore would have been better than just being thrown ten meters in the air after being hit by a grenade.

There is quite a lot that reminds of Halo (except that Halo had some original ideas), especially some areas reminded me of it. The colour palette wasn't quite as good as in Halo with Pariah leaning towards yellow/brown colours and not having any really large outdoor areas with multiple routes. In Pariah, you go (almost) exactly where the developers want you to go. Detours are few and not very long. Most strikingly it reminds Halo in it's enemies. They are semi-intelligent and sometimes do some quite clever tricks, and sometimes, like in Halo, something really stupid. One specialty is the rocket launcher guy behind a rock. He keeps on hitting the rock rather than moving so that he could hit the player. Also, in some areas you see two sides fighting each other (just like in many games before). Trouble is, no matter how long you watch, no-one ever dies. Developers could also have given the enemies more lines. You get to hear some of the lines a few times too many.

Finally, the script. Being an FPS game you never except too much. Well, Pariah surely doesn't surprise. You are a doctor escorting a cryogenic woman somewhere in a military plane. Plane is shot down over hostile territory. You loose woman. You find woman. Woman runs away. You find woman again. Woman runs away again. You... get the picture. On the plus side, you won't be shocked by the originality. There is only one plot twist that surprised me but having said that, it's about one more than in your average FPS. Unfortunately the game doesn't milk this twist enough.

Having said all that, Pariah isn't a poor game. Quality overall is good, graphics are maybe a bit boring, but look pretty good as do effects. Some of the areas are pretty good and you find you still have use for more than one weapon even late in the game. The enemies aren't bad either. The game is mostly pretty easy, which is good considering the lack of free saving. There were only a few locations that I had to try more than two times.

All in all, a game to help in FPS withdrawal symptoms, but nothing to write home about.

The Bad
Unimaginative throughout, no reason to play it again. Too short (I finished it in a weekend). Saving is only done in set places (console heritage?) which is annoying in a few places.

The Bottom Line
A well-made hamburger. Tastes good, but ultimately there is nothing new. If you like these kind of games and haven't played one in a while, well worth picking up from the discount shelf. Rather enjoyable, albeit the experience is short-lived.

A game that was obviously designed by looking at other existing games (Half-Life 1&2, Halo etc) and picking some of the better ideas from them but adding nothing new. Mixing the pieces and coming up with a game that technically has no major faults.

Windows · by Marko Poutiainen (1151) · 2006

Trivia

German version

In the German version, all blood was removed and killed enemies disappear instantly.

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Related Sites +

  • Pariah
    Official multilingual website

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 17642

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by atrahasis.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger.

Game added May 13th, 2005. Last modified September 3rd, 2023.