STAFF REVIEW of Pariah (Xbox)

Sunday, June 19, 2005.
by SilverOak

Pariah Box art The other night on HBO, I watched a concert starring the comedian Chris Rock. Funny as all get out, but the reason I bring that show up is the skit about married folks versus single folks. I?ll spare readers the HBO adult version, but Rock?s point was that married people get the short end of the stick when it comes to in the bedroom with their spouse, versus single people and their particular ?spouse of the week?.

My analogy, albeit a stretch, is with the new first person shooter ?Pariah? when stacked up with what will be the benchmark for the next year or so...Halo 2. Don?t worry Digital Extreme....they give medals for second and third place too!

It?s probably not fair to Pariah to judge its merit against other games, but being a first person shooter pits the game against some pretty heady company these days.

To their credit, Digital Extreme developed an easy to use map editor for the game, but quite frankly, the revolution stops there. To paraphrase the popular wedding phrase...nothing new, a lot of old, a lot borrowed, and a generous feeling of blue when you pop the game in.

The game begins with your character, Dr. Jack Mason, watching in horror as a rocket streaks across the sky to take down his spacecraft. His charge, the infected but beautiful Karina, has disappeared and a lot of bad guys stand between you and locating her whereabouts.

The single player campaign consists of 18 chapters of eliminating thugs with an annoying habit of speaking unintelligibly to you. I could have sworn my audio settings were off kilter, but nope, that?s the tactic these guys use to frustrate you to make mistakes instead of any kind of artificial intelligence they should possess. Just kidding of course, but seriously, these guys have no plan to defeat you with their ?stand close together? defense mode. The weapon of choice in such a scenario is a battle ready grenade launcher which Pariah gives Dr. Mason almost immediately upon commencement of hostilities. One well placed grenade shot, and you can bowl the bad guys over almost too easily. Amazingly, you can upgrade the launcher as well as other weapons through the acquisition of weapon energy cores making you somewhat invon of the fairly simple single player campaign allows you to spend some more time in the more enjoyable multiplayer part of the game, unless of course you and a friend don\'t want to spend some time in Co-op mode. Simply plug in another controller and get to playing with your friends.

16 player capable, the online portion of Pariah is predictable with the usual gametypes of Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch, and Siege, but they bring a new game type...Front Line Assault which can be pretty entertaining as well. Nothing groundbreaking, but then again, maybe thats what we like so much about our FPS games....predictability and gore.

As I previously mentioned, the map editor is quite easy to use and share with those on your friends list. See an open spot where you think trees should have been placed? Simply select the tree icon and plant as many trees as you wish. Same goes for making hills, valleys, towers, etcetera. Easy to design, but not as easy to share. Maps that you design can only be shared by those on your Friends List after you upload the map to the servers at Pariah.

Pretty cool feature that map editor, but it doesn?t help the graphics in the game. It seems to be eternally hazy in this world of Pariah. In a shooter game, I desire sharp images and a finely
detailed environment. The better to shoot from ya know. Oddly enough, leaves can be seen blowing through the air freely and realistically, yet the trees they fell from seem squashed down, and have no visible life to them. Detals are what we expect and seem to come up missing out on frequently. When this game was first released, frame rate loss being discussed as a reason to dismiss this game. I personally haven\'t seen that problem, but that could be due to the few number of massive gunfights I\'ve been in.

Ever see a rerun of the campy ?Get Smart? television series?Some of the episodes feature a device where the spies speak in their ?Cone of Silence?? No one can hear what they?re saying while secure in the cone...much like our game Pariah. There?s not much audio in the game whatsoever! Once again a game has been released that fails misreably with regards to audio. A distant drumbeat is heard frequently at moments in battle, and sometimes the gibberish of the enemy can be heard if they\'re close by. I don?t know...maybe it?s just me being me, but I want battle realism and bass busting from my surround sound speakers when I play a shooter.

An open note to ALL game developers, not just Pariah\'s:

Give us something new and revolutionary! Being in tight spots and having to fight armies of (insert any warm blooded mammal here)is getting tiresome. It\'s time to give buyers of $50-$60 games the content that we\'re paying for. It was fun for awhile but we want your best and newest now!

Overall: 4.8 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 4.6 / 10
Sound: 4.4 / 10


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