Escape from Paradise City Preview (PC)

From Danish developer Sirius Games (Serious Games for Serious People) comes this RTS / RPG combo set in the rather incongruously named, gang infested Paradise City.

Paradise has gone rotten - a crime syndicate has taken over and the streets are teeming with hoodlums just busting for a fight. It’s your, enforced mission, to clean up the neighbourhoods and make Paradise City a safe place once again (well – your bosses will be in control of the gangsters anyway so that’s gotta be better, right?)

You play as one of three characters - Nicholas Porter, Boris Chekov or Angel Vargas; though you don’t have a choice which one to use until later missions. Porter is the grenades & guns man, Angel gets up close and personal with knuckledusters and crowbars, while Boris uses his henchmen & bribery to get the job done. They’re not exactly the ‘good guys’ as they’ve been plucked from death-row or similarly blackmailed into using their fighting prowess to assist the National Security Agency (NSA).

Each mission has a basic quest – such as to take over a specific neighbourhood (by beating on the area’s boss until he gives in and comes over to your side). Knocking off various thugs on the way gives you items such as armour; health pills etc as well as giving you experience points that let you level up your character. Different neighbourhoods give you access to different resources: bars sell pills & drinks which can give you temporary skill boosts; markets can supply improved weapons & hotels provide a steady cash flow (once you control the ‘hood). There are also ‘weapons trainers’: seedy guys hiding in the semi-dark who will sell you new abilities such as grenades, leg-shots and so on.

Each character has a unique skill tree to develop – tailored towards their area of ‘expertise’. As is usual, you can’t have everything on offer, so you’ll need to think about how you want your character to develop.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good, though this is no big budget production so don’t expect anything too stunning. You have a choice of a zoomable birds-eye viewpoint or you can switch to over the shoulder and move around with WSAD. Personally I found this mode didn’t work for me and I stayed in the default view. I would have liked, instead, to be able to zoom in a little closer when everything was kicking off – a’la Dungeon Siege. Weather & lighting effects are nicely done.

A few gameplay niggles were apparent, which may be resolved by the time of the release: when attacking groups of thugs & killing one, my character had the annoying habit of then just standing there inspecting her nails while the others carried on attacking her, requiring me to specifically re-target a new opponent.

Multiplayer was disabled in our preview copy, but indications are that team based multiplayer with up to 8 players will be available with modes such as ‘Assassination’ (kill your opponents a set number of times) and ‘Domination’ where safe-houses must be won & held.

This looks like one to watch out for when it is released towards the end of October. At first sight Paradise may look like a GTA clone – but don’t be fooled – it’s not trying to be GTA and you’ll only get disappointed if you think it is.

Game advertisements by <a href="" target="_blank">Game Advertising Online</a> require iframes.