Pariah Xbox Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Retro Content, Retro Reviews, Xbox

Whether it’s cars that jump around in a seemingly excitable manner or recently deceased people who satisfyingly flip in the sky before resting in a crumpled heap on the ground, we love gaming physics here at Console Obsession. Fantastic Physics have undoubtedly done wonders for games, specifically in this generation of consoles, where you can’t seem to kill someone without a dramatic death routine taking place and there’s none more dramatic than those featured in new FPS Pariah.

The physics on display here are truly exceptional, allowing enemies to tumble down inclines and more satisfyingly to be propelled in to the sky where during their descent they will crash against any objects that happens to be in the way of their broken bodies. By handing you the grenade launcher, one of the games most explosive weapons almost right from the off, developer: Digital Extremes has made sure that you make the most of Pariah’s beautiful death motions. Though in doing so, the weapon pacing has been affected, therefore you’ll possess nearly every single gun upon reaching only the midway point of the game, this means there is little excitement of discovering new weapons for a large portion of the game, simply because already you have just about everything the game has to offer in your heaving inventory.

However the unique weapon upgrade system goes some way to improving this. Around the levels, and usually in not immediately obvious locations are Weapon Energy Cores. With these, you can upgrade any of your weapons, allowing you for instance to adjoin a remote detonator to your grenade launcher, or craft your Bulldog (the games machinegun) in to an armour piercing tool of death. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to concentrate on improving a single weapon, or whether you’d prefer to tweak all your deadly babies to create a well-balanced arsenal of destruction that could probably decimate a small country.

An obvious Halo influence is the fact that you can hop in to any vehicles you discover during the game. These however are destroyed all too easily and though still good fun just aren’t quite as satisfactory as Halo’s featured vehicles.

The Halo influence is taken further than this however. Not only did the locations you’ll transverse instantly remind us of our travels in Bungie’s game, but Pariah is also story-driven. The plot begins with Dr Jack Mason transporting a woman named Karina who has a deadly virus no less. Of course things go awry, with Mason’s ship being shot down and in the midst of the chaos Karina escaping and getting herself captured, all resulting in Jack himself getting infected with the virus of course. This opening may be promising and all and beats the overrated Halo plot hands down, but it soon came to the point that we simply didn’t care one iota what happened to the dull, paper thin characters and just wanted to get on with blowing people to kingdom come, which is where the game is at its best.

When you’ve finished doing this in the single player, you can continue doing so in the games multiplayer modes. This writer is quite frankly getting tired of shooting people online and has little time to give to such games unless they offer something a little bit different from the norm or if they are to feature tasty death animations. We want to glean satisfaction from every successful kill by laughing manically as we watch our unfortunate opponent being launched in to the heavens after taking a rocket up you know where. Pariah with its superior physics grants us this (not at all twisted) satisfaction, resulting in it being one of the most enjoyable online shooters we’ve played for quite some time. Furthermore, Pariah also offers a Halo style split-screen co-operative mode, which is just as fun as the single player, with the only drawback being the fact that you must share a screen with your sibling, friend or whatever.

One of the most anticipated features of the game has been without doubt the map maker and it’s unlikely to disappoint all but the most demanding of gamers. This tool is powerful, but still manages to be somehow unbelievably accessible to use. Terrain can be lowered and heightened, objects can be placed; weather can be selected, and all done with absolute ease. And for Xbox Live players, it means you’ll just about always have a fresh map to play on, just as long as the game retains a moderate sized community at the least.

The graphics are at times astounding and most other times so mediocre that we struggled to believe it was the same engine. The train level in particular looks rather nice, with the normal mapping graphical technique used to good effect, giving the game some stunning looking textures. The majority of other levels aren’t half as impressive as this, with some fairly lukewarm looking textures and some heavy slowdown in some of the later levels of the game. The aforementioned physics almost makes up for these middle of the road graphics though.

It’s these physics coupled with satisfying weaponry that makes Pariah in to such a wonderful shooter. The single player may be short, but the multiplayer does give the game much needed legs and the mapmaker whilst not perfect is a powerful tool, that is amazingly easy to use. Did we mention that we particularly liked the death animations?

8/10

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