P.A.M.E.L.A. (Early Access) Review – A Survival Diamond in the Rough

P.A.M.E.L.A.
NVYVE Studios

I woke up in a haze of ominous sights and sounds. When my vision cleared I saw that I was coming out of cryo-stasis and once I became conscious I opened the door to my cryo-pod and stepped out of it. The once cheery and pristine cryo-chamber was dark and dreary. I walked out into the equally dim and drab hallway and saw that everything was in a state of disarray. Wouldn’t mind someone passionate about life, humorous, high sex drive, and can be faithful to one man do you fit those? hehe

Power cords wound about underfoot; storage and trash containers were upturned; sparks cascaded off of the dark, metallic walls. The most disturbing things, however, were them—the twisted figures of those everyday people who were frozen in place—their eyes empty shells staring off to nowhere.

I activated my high-tech, wrist-mounted device called an AARM, which interacts with its wearer’s environments. One of its functions is to scan nearby areas around me for items and containers of interest. I soon came across clues that illuminated pieces of the backstory which had to do with the gigantic floating city called Eden that I was on. What exactly had transpired on it while I was in cryo-sleep?

I soon discovered that others had survived whatever catastrophe had befallen Eden. Clans had formed in the aftermath—some friendly; some not so friendly. There were also horrid creatures that were once human but had been transformed into monstrous, flesh-eating entities. However, probably the most fearsome of my new enemies were the advanced security robots that patrolled Eden’s halls and chambers. Once these killer droids locked onto someone they were pretty much dead meat.

P.A.M.E.L.A. is latest science fiction-survival horror game to grace my Steam library, and it really is something else (in a good way). It tells the tale of a floating city (Eden) which ran into some sort of serious troubles while you were locked in cryo-stasis. The city’s AI overseer, P.A.M.E.L.A., provides little exposition since it apparently went offline when all hell broke loose. It does help to explain some of the game’s basic systems by way of mini-tutorials, but that’s it. P.A.M.E.L.A. is refreshingly non-hand-holdy. It gives you a few pointers here and there and then turns you loose on its sprawling environs.

Eden is a very creepy place to explore. You’ll see once bright and cheery stores and other businesses ruined and disheveled shadows of their former selves. The robot servants are malfunctioning, skittering wrecks and the shambling, mutated humans will suddenly scream and run at you if they detect your presence.

Gameplay-wise, P.A.M.E.L.A. is a science fiction-survival horror game much in the vein of Alien: Isolation, Dead Space, and to a certain degree, SOMA. You start off stranded by yourself and have to piece together what the heck is going on. Of course, this must be done while being under constant threat of death by some sort of alien or viral/mutant threat.

P.A.M.E.L.A. is a surprisingly deep game with many complex systems that can be utilized. Therefore, it has a pretty steep learning curve that might not appeal to some of the less patient gamers out—you know, the types who enjoy rampaging through levels and shooting everything that moves.

Although it’s great that the game has a lot to it, sometimes it can be a little intimidating because you simply don’t know how certain systems or items interact with one another. One thing that you can do to help mitigate that is to watch YouTube videos or consult Wiki guides if only to learn some of the more advanced gameplay elements. I found myself running around in circles during the evening hours trying to find out how to build a base for protection. As with Dying Light, when night falls in Eden things can get pretty hairy and your chances of survival diminish greatly.

If there’s one low point (at least so far) to P.A.M.E.L.A., it’s the clunky combat system. Some of its weapons felt not only awkward and cumbersome to wield but also had various gameplay issues associated with them. For instance, when I’d hit packs of enemies with explosive attacks they’d just wade through the flames unscathed. Even throwing punches at foes was hit and miss (no pun intended) because sometimes there wasn’t any way to know if I was hitting them or not. I’m assuming that all of these issues will be fixed in future updates since the game is still in Early Access.

P.A.M.E.L.A. is a worthy addition to the survival horror genre. Although it combines elements from other survival horror games, it has enough uniqueness going on that it really stands out from the increasingly populated survival horror playing field.

SCORE: 81%

P.A.M.E.L.A. features great graphics that make its survival horror gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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