P.A.M.E.L.A. (PC) Preview

By Sandy Wilson 03.12.2017

Review for P.A.M.E.L.A. on PC

P.A.M.E.L.A. is an Early Access, dystopian, horror survival game. The developer is busy making new features and patching buggy things, and over the course of this preview this title received a bunch of new elements that help it be more accessible. The developing team is obviously pouring its heart and soul into crafting the experience they've envisioned, but is it going to be enough to get people interested? Let's wake up from cryo sleep and look blearily into the darkness...

It's fair to say if a game can't grab attention and create immersion effectively in the first few hours of gameplay, then it's not ever going to succeed to captivate certain players. When first booting this up you'd be forgiven for being very confused, as it takes five million years to load (a slight exaggeration, but it does take around ten minutes at times). Players are greeted with a dark room with some very glowy lighting and some sparkly textures. There is very little in the way of tutorials, and it's very much the player's duty to leave the room, find out what they have, and how that works, while exploring some of the most utopian settings ever to come into a first-person horror title.

The citizens of Eden have been ravaged by a virus; a disease that shut down their bodies and left their corpses scattered around the corridors like disturbing and graphic mannequins. The player character is a citizen awoken from cryo sleep by the AI that controls the city, P.A.M.E.L.A. In a recent update the player now interacts with P.A.M.E.L.A. via terminals around the city and from a communicator on their wrist. There are also pain alleviating tutorial screens that explain the various systems available in the game. They are then sent on their merry way encountering the not so dead roaming virus ridden enemies.

Screenshot for P.A.M.E.L.A. on PC

How does it play, then? Well, a one-word description is "clunky." This boasts what the devs call 'full body immersion' where the interface and everything is something that the character uses, wears or can see. This is a cool idea, but the animations are really, really stiff, to the point where the immersion is lost. This unfortunately continues into the controls with unusual key layouts and an odd walk cycle. It's not that they're bad, but they feel unrefined. It can be hard to work out where to start as you test the weird gun tool on every item and scan objects hoping for some sort of tip. The combat is stocky and uncomfortable at close range, as it's hard to tell how close you are, and if your punches actually have any effect on the enemy due to their un-reactiveness and the unsatisfying punch sound effect.

The setting and atmosphere are reminiscent of BioShock and System Shock. It's got a dark and shiny visual style with plenty of flair, if in need of a bit more polish. With a semi-old-school tech feel mixed with more high-tech things… um, how to describe it… it's like a dystopian utopia - yeah, that works. The inanimate corpses littering the place, disfigured and menacing; the robots that can be either terrifying or godsend; it has minimal sound design but it only makes the atmosphere scarier; zombie-like sounds in the distance, unnerving metallic voices, and the occasional piece of musical score. Overall, the land of Eden is intriguing and cool to explore.

Screenshot for P.A.M.E.L.A. on PC

Final Thoughts

The general feeling in P.A.M.E.L.A. is that, while very passionate, the developer is just not quite nailing how cathartic this should come across. It has a host of amazing ideas and lots of them are realised, but it needs refinement and polish that it just hasn't received from the current patches. It's far from a bad experience, and it looks like it will be a player-pleaser, as it already has a fairly dedicated fan base on steam. One to keep an eye on definitely but it might not gel with everybody.

Developer

NVYVE Studios

Publisher

NVYVE Studios

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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