The enemy behavior in Pariah seems to be governed by the flip of a coin. Heads, the enemies will rush you and try to punch you out. Tails, they'll run backwards at full speed in search of cover...and they'll just sort of keep running. You can give chase, sure. But if you just stand still, they'll eventually run right back up on you, only to repeat the process. Their fast movement does occasionally make them difficult targets to hit, though, and when you get into tight quarters, their accuracy is good at cutting you down quickly, even on the easiest difficulty setting. Design-wise, the enemies are a boring group of clones. Shooting them in their helmets causes the helmets to pop or smash off, and they rarely have any interesting death animations.
The rest of Pariah looks fairly stock. With a mixture of wide-open outdoor areas and vaguely futuristic indoor environments, the Halo influence really stands out. But with Pariah's often-sketchy frame rate, its underwhelming character models, and weak explosion effects, it's tough to get excited about the visuals. This look has been done elsewhere numerous times, and it's been done better.
A big part of why Pariah's weapons feel so underpowered is the game's sound. The weapon-fire effects just don't have anything behind them, making even your rocket launcher blasts sound wimpy. You'll run into some music here and there, and it'll interactively ratchet up and down when you encounter enemies. The game has its share of speech, as well. Enemy troops tend to repeat themselves way too much during play, and the voices in the cutscenes are pretty uninspiring.
The vehicle control in Pariah feels pretty sloppy.
Beyond the single-player campaign are some Xbox Live support, bots, and a mapmaker. The Xbox Live support is functional, letting users play deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and so on. You can also play against bots, but they aren't much smarter than the single-player enemies. Furthermore, the weak weapons make for poor combat, so there's no good reason to play this game's multiplayer unless you get way into the mapmaker. The mapmaker is surprisingly easy to use and fully featured. You can raise and lower land quickly and easily, and dropping prefabricated objects around the map doesn't take much time at all. You can even get online to trade these maps through Xbox Live. Unfortunately, you'll have to play Pariah on these maps, which sort of renders them moot offerings.
Pariah seems to be built on the concept of "if you liked Halo, then try this one out." But the game simply can't make the act of firing a weapon interesting, and this plagues every mode in it. When you toss in cutscenes that don't move the story along in a useful way, you've got a game that doesn't live up to the standards of the genre in any way whatsoever. The Xbox has certainly done better than Pariah, so there's no need to spend time trudging through its uninteresting adventure.
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