Oct 31, 2007
Blending genres is always a tricky recipe. A pinch of RPG, a dash of FPS, and a hint of... some other acronym and, voila!: You've got the tastiest game on the market... or just plain alphabet soup? Unfortunately for Sirius Games, designers of action-RPG/RTS/GTA-clone Escape from Paradise City, their genre-blending plans never quite come together into a decent meal.
Things start out fun, if a tad clichéd: you're a former criminal, given a last chance to redeem yourself. Your mission: infiltrate the worst city in the world and kick enough ass to bring it to heel. Problem is, though, ass kicking turns out to be a lot more boring than it sounds. See, combat in Escape consists solely of choosing an attack type from a menu of four and then right clicking on an enemy. That's it. You don't even have to click multiple times. Since your character is generally much tougher than his opponents, battles become little more than point-and-click chores to be endured on the way to leveling up.
Lame combat would be forgivable if the game's much-touted (on the box, at least) strategy elements had any meat to 'em. Unfortunately, strategy mostly consists of capturing and hanging onto resource-generating buildings via yet more repetitive fighting. Worse, everyone you encounter, friend or foe, will be voiced by an actor possessing the same emotional range as your average telephone menu system.
But hey, it's not all bad in the 'hood. With its open-ended, action-packed mission structure, Escape plays like a modernized, RPG-ified Grand Theft Auto 2 - yes, 2. Look it up; it ruled. Moreover, the core gameplay model genuinely shines when it comes to character development: with three unique playable characters, you've got more customization options than Dr. Frankenstein's spare parts bin. Add the quick-and-enjoyable multiplayer mode, and you'll find plenty to praise.
Still, the proverbial see-saw just doesn't have enough weight on the "good" end to make Escape worth purchasing for anyone other than serious action-RPG buffs. Too bad, really, because there was a strong game in here - it just ended up half-baked.