Posted: December 2, 2013
Early Access Review
I've never really been one to play shooters. But then again, I was born into the N64/PS era, and didnt get into gaming until the GC/PS2/Xbox era, by which time Doom, Quake, and UT had run its course. So i've never really been able to experiance the "twitch shooter", only the tryhard big-budget military horsecrap.
This game has what most modern shooters don't: a sense of speed, INCREDIBLY tight controls, and... dare I say it... fun? This is the most fun I've had in a while, probably since i was a starry-eyed kid playing Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. Enough exposition, let's get into it.
This game doesnt seem to have a story, except what you can glean from the enviroment, the enimies, and the title of the game. Here's what I've discovered (speculated) so far... (i've only made it to level 5 at this point) you are onboard a nazi submarine filled with demons and demonic sea life. Why? Who knows... and who cares? Just stop thinking and shoot what moves.
Speaking of shooting, the gameplay. Its just sublime. Sublime, and insanely difficult. This game follows up on its promise to harken to rogue-like games (is that how you say it?), with randomly generated floors (specific rooms are premade, but increase in variety as you progress), a Spelunky-esque shop, and a powerup system that brings to mind The Binding of Isaac. The game features permadeath, dying will restart you at floor one. Do not pass go. Paranautical Activity has several different classes, each with its own primary gun, maximum health pool, firing rate (an attribute determined more by the gun than the character), and movement speed. From the shotgun toting Tank, to the Insanely quick but flimsy David Bowie (armed only with a crossbow), there is a playstyle for all kinds of people here. Regardless of your class, all of the primary weapons in the game have infinite ammo, which i personally enjoy, as this game is stressful enough without having to manage it.
When you're not shooting in PA, you're going to be running and jumping for your life. All enemy attacks are either projectile attacks with travel time or rushing you down in melee. Mostly the projectiles. You are tasked with avoiding damage at all costs, which can become rather hectic in later stages of this game. Your character, regardless of class can jump a good hight, and changes directions midair on a dime.
The Graphics are kind of minimal, but I really dig the lighting system. All ingame models are voxel-based, with the enviroment textures looking similar to old-school Doom games. The Soundtrack is surprisingly good, and fits the game well, albeit being a bit repetitive.
All this, and the game is still in beta, and it can only go upwards from here. The devs are talking about adding in co-op (PRAISE THE LAWD) as well as finetuning the gameplay experiance.
This game does have a few bugs. Which is to be expected, as it is a beta, but bugs and minimalist graphics cannot hold back this pure, unadultered, virgin, twitch shooter experiance. Even in its current incomplete state, this game is an easy 8/10, and with solid netcode (fingers crossed), greater room variety early, and maybe a few more playable classes (one that starts with the M4!?!?) this could be propelled to a 9.5 to a 10, easily.
THAT BEING SAID. This game is not for everyone. It is difficult. Its inherent mouse acceleration can be very tough to get used to. If you dont like shooters but like Rogue-Likes you wont like this game. If you like shooters but hate Rogue-Likes, you probably wont like this game. In my honest opinion, this game is pointed at a very specific pocket of gamers, which quite honestly I see as a good thing. Too many game devs these days (mostly AAA ones) are spending way too much time trying to appease everyone (which is impossible) which simply results in a watered-down product, a shadow of what it could have been. YOU WILL NOT SEE THIS HERE. If you dig a challenge, love old-school movement-based shooters, AND like the randomless of Rogue-Likes... welcome home.