2005 Reviews

Pariah

  • Review Date: 2011-01
  • Release Date: 2005-05
  • Developer: Digital Extremes
  • Rating: 6.0

Wow, another sci-fi first person shooter. Having just completed Rogue Trooper and talking about how similar it is to every other sci-fi shooter from Halo to Unreal 2, Pariah is identical again.

According to the story you're transporting an infected prisoner when your shot down by scavengers into a wasteland that was once Earth. If this game is supposed to take place in wastelands, then the designers failed miserably. Instead we have a mix of outdoor terrain and enemy bases. The Unreal Engine 2.5 looks like it's starting to date in Pariah; there are other games with much better graphics. The level design is a real mix; the indoor areas are often nicely detailed, high-tech and look quite good. The terrain is also fairly decent looking, but doesn't have anywhere near the crisp detail of Far Cry. However some of the bigger buildings can feel quite blocky, especially from the outside.

The gameplay is a little weaker than the design. Unfortunately it's another checkpoint system game so no quicksaves. I didn't have to replay too much of the game because of this, but it does force me to play very carefully. The two end battles were too difficult and long considering you have no quicksave. As were the on-rails sections which included a couple of vehicle levels and train levels; all of which were terrible. Perhaps it was my configuration, but the vehicles were steered using the mouselook instead of left/right keys. So if you want to go left, move your mouse left. This meant trying to shoot enemies from the vehicle was extremely difficult, and forget about attempting reverse.

The first train level just seemed to go on forever; repetitive wouldn't be a strong enough word. While the other had you completing a massive jump, which I failed the first two times because I didn't use the quickrun key, only to find the game didn't bother to add a checkpoint before this jump so I ended up playing half of this level 3-4 times over. Once was already too much.

Your enemies aren't too bad, they do provide a bit of challenge and fun. They are, naturally, all the same humans. Little variation apart from a slightly different human model/skin and different weapons and health. What spoilt the gameplay a little were the poor weapons. The shotgun was useless, the machine gun seemed to spray bullets all over the place and lacked power. Your also have a plasma gun which you're forced to use quite a lot since most of the ammo pickups are for this gun. It's not a fun gun... the firing is slow and at an annoying angle which takes some getting used to.

I guess it should be said that I liked this game enough to play it almost all in one sitting (just one coffee and cake break). That being said, it must have only been a 5-6 hour game. Overall, average gameplay and design/environments that we've all seen before; only pick up this game if you really love the sci-fi/base theme.

Digital Extremes' next release, Warpath, was originally a sequel to Pariah hence many similarities. But due to Pariah being a commercial flop, it was turned into a different game. However it was an even bigger flop than Pariah.