Pariah (Windows)

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Written by  :  Marko Poutiainen (1160)
Written on  :  May 09, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars2.86 Stars

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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.