It’s rare that you begin reviewing a game having heard so little about it. Especially for a game as ambitious in scope as P.A.M.E.L.A. Billed as a science fiction first-person shooter open world survival horror game, and I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath. It takes its inspiration from the gold standards in the genre Deus Ex and the Bioshock franchise. While it matches these games in raw features it in no way matches their technical or narrative mastery which ultimately derails this game, bringing into question developers NVYVE intentions releasing the game in its current state.
The Beginning of P.A.M.E.L.A
Let’s start with what the game does well, which is fitting as my initial impressions were positive. You start the game waking up from cryosleep to find yourself in the space station cum city Eden, but things aren’t as you’ve left them. You quickly learn that the city’s human population has been infected leaving them wandering the station as space zombies. Your goal is simply to survive in this space station by any means necessary with the only help of the space suit you wear called P.A.M.E.L.A, part A.I part bio-enhancer. You access the suit by raising your right arm in-game. All your interactions with the suit happen in-game and it feels really nifty to use the device which feels so much part of the world. You can use this suit to check your inventory, improve your stats, hack into security locks and so on.
PAMELA Gameplay First 4 Minutes
Once you have found your way around the suit your next task is to explore and survive on Eden and this is where the game unravels. There is no hand holding in P.A.M.E.L.A so you will spend your first hour or so, stumbling around rather bland very dark space station interiors with just a flashlight and a scanner, so lacking in direction will you have in these initial forays it feels negligent from the developers. It seems like they didn’t care rather than any attempt to make a game that has a steep learning curve.
As you stumble around using P.A.M.E.L.A’s inbuilt scanner to find items such as apples and sandwiches (I kid you not) you run into the zombies that are roaming the station. One can’t help but feel that NYYVA choose the enemies to be zombies. Just because of no other fact than the AI is so completely broken. This makes the enemies appear to be anything else would have been Ludacris. All the enemy models look the exact same, everyone in Eden was seemingly a 6ft tall woman. She will walk into walls and get stuck in the map constantly. When you finally find yourself in a fight with them, the mechanics are so slow and sluggish it makes Skyrim look like Dark Souls 3. One positive about the character design is their sounds, often hearing one of these enemies and their screeching as you get nearing is far scarier than any interaction you have with them.
In space, no-one can hear you scream
You will get the chance to meet other factions like the security droids and robotic Custodians. There seems to be one other hinted at but I was never able to find them. The developers claim that each faction exhibits its own unique behavior. It will react dynamically to the player’s behavior to become allies, or enemies. In reality, you will almost always be treated as an enemy. This is one of NVYVE’s biggest design downfalls – the game is an incredibly lonely experience. The only friendly voice you’ll hear throughout the entirety of the game is P.A.M.E.L.A. A rather creepy sounding A.I that guides and provides backstory for you throughout the game.
Base building in P.A.M.E.L.A
The survival aspects of the game are more fleshed out. You can build a base and populate it with items such as a hydroponic kit, an armory and a cryochamber(a device that allows you to spawn). These are all in an effort to keep you alive. This works into the larger game mechanic of exploring and managing the space station. You can manipulate the power supply of parts of Eden. It in turn affects how the different factions will react in that space. For instance, the infected do not like bright well-lit areas. So if you keep your base constantly powered it can become a safe haven. You decide to build it in a residential area you will have ready access to food and medical supplies. But you might prefer to play more aggressively so you could build it in the military garrison with its promise of weapons and bountiful ammo. This aspect of the game is its heart but with the constant technical problems you run into you wonder if you really want to put any effort into surviving.
P.A.M.E.L.A Needs improvement
The game includes a rather standard leveling up system as well as the ability to improve your spacesuit. This is done by finding various pieces of equipment around the world and then crafting these items. Not exactly groundbreaking, and with the combat system being so poor the improvements in skills. And equipment never really translate to you feeling more powerful in the world.
P.A.M.E.L.A. Minimum System Requirements
- Operating System: Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz (or AMD equivalent)
- RAM: 8 GB
- Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti (or AMD equivalent)
- DirectX: Version 11
- HDD SPace: 8 GB
- P.A.M.E.L.A Suit feels fleshed out
- Base building is fun
- Poor A.I and design choices
- Lack of storyline
- Beset with technical problems