After spending some time with Digital Extremes' budget shooter, WarPath, we present to you the BeyondUnreal WarPath review. Three staffers, three opinions, and one bottom line. Wanna skip the crap and get to the bottom line?

Opinions are like ***holes...

Dark Pulse: It's no secret that the Pariah influences are strong in this one - this game started out as Pariah II, remember. Unfortunately, fans said they only cared about the multiplayer portion of the game, so DE took what work was done and put it into Warpath. Does this mean you should view Warpath as a "Pariah Recycled"? I don't think so. Read on...

Warpath pits 3 factions - The Ohm, The Kovos, and The Coalition - fighting against each other for supremacy over The Kaladi System. Each race has unique weapons, looks, and motives, but they all share one common ideal: To dominate this system as well as to crush any who stand in their way.

The menu system is nice and clean, and you should have no troubles navigating it. It's admittedly a bit thin on options, some of which are rather annoying - you can't change game settings in a practice botmatch, or add non-alphanumeric characters to your name (without doing some INI hacking anyway) but if you're expecting that sort of stuff in a $20 title, you're probably playing the wrong game.

Single player is pretty interesting: You pick a race and start with the two weapons it possesses. To get the other four, you must defeat the maps of the other two factions that have that weapon's symbol on it. If you win it, but then lose it, the weapon is locked again. Beating a map unlocks it for play; all stuff is unlocked for playing online, however, so you don't have to play the SP if you don't want to. Win the zone to claim that spot, but be wary of the other factions trying to take your zones - if they try to, you must defend them. They'll sometimes fight each other, too, and the winner of those will be determined automatically.

Each weapon has its own unique strengths and advantages, and some of them become vastly different once you begin equipping them with CAMs. The Vanguard, for example, starts off like Quake II's Hyperblaster or Quake III's Plasma Gun, but when you insert a few CAMs it becomes something more like Quake II's BFG: It sticks around for a bit and hurts anything that gets close. So while the weapons, in terms of numbers, are pretty low, the capacity to upgrade can make them much more different. Besides your two class-custom weapons (Which, in Online Play, is no longer required of you - but you can still only carry two) are two more universal to everyone: The Vibro Blade and The EMAD. The Vibro Blade is a one-hit kill if you can get close enough to use it. The EMAD heals you, and when boosted with CAMs, can actually give you more health. All weapon ammo is universal, and in CTF/FLA maps, you'll usually find Ammo Crates, which never run out and always give you a full load of ammo after only a few seconds.

Game play online is fun. Not many servers are up for this game, but we visited one (BadenSoft) and we had quite a blast playing on there. Since controls are simple, you don't need to worry about guys dodging like crazy or kicking off walls - so everybody should be able to get a few frags in. Once you learn the weapons, maps, and idiosyncrasies of the gametype, playing will come quick and natural to you.

Net code was pretty good; all three of us, while playing on BadenSoft, had pings of about 200-250 (The server is European) but we were still able to kill with no problems at all, though you'd have to factor ping in for weapons like the Violator and the Lance. At lower pings, then, the game should play great for nearly anyone.

Maps were pretty clean. Some of them are a bit simplistic, but they're not over-meshed hells usually. A few of the CTF and FLA maps had vehicles, of which there's only 3 in the game, but don't worry about them being too overpowered - a couple low-level violator shots took them out pretty quickly, in my experience. The vehicles seem to be more of a way to get around fast rather than a heavily armored fortress; take that for good or bad as you see fit.

Sound and Music weren't bad. The weapons sound good enough, but some could sound a little meatier. Music was just your generic stuff, though some of the tunes are good, but don't count on very many to stick in your head, if any.

So, in the end, is this a worthy purchase? I'd say yes. Warpath won't wow you with depth, nor will it dazzle you with new special effects (Though the distortion that comes when a grenade blows up is nice) but $20 is about the right price I'd pay for this, and as long as you're willing to remember it is a $20 game and play it for what it is, as opposed to what it isn't, you'll like it. It might not give you hours and hours of enchantment, but if you like some mindless run-and-gun style game play, or have a hearkening back to the old days of Doom and Quake, you'll probably love it.

Personal bias: 75%

WARNING cranky reviewer...

hal: I'm going to look at this from a "half-full" perspective, so bear with me. It seems that the real question that surrounds WarPath is, “Who is the target audience of this game?”

In a crowded genre, you really have to come up with something special in order to stand out and I'm not certain that Digital Extremes succeeds in this case - it feels very half-hearted; doubly so since much of it truly is recycled from Pariah. This is true not just in spirit, as many of the same files exist in the folders of both games. But, if you’ve never played the 2005 shooter then perhaps this is not a problem for you.

The levels appear expertly created, and why shouldn't they? The level design credits read like a "who's who?" list of Unreal Engine talent. Unfortunately, the finely crafted environments come off as all-too-familiar and the shared content among the maps in this game is quite obvious. The weapons are moderately similar to those of Pariah but I still find them to be reasonably fun, and upgrading them via CAMs still feels fresh. Stopping to upgrade in battle keeps you on your toes and it unquestionably adds some strategy to the mix. It presents the dilemma of whether you should upgrade your weapon immediately or go for the health boost, and attempting to upgrade under fire is no easy task.

However, the limited menu configuration, recycled assets, and uninspired player models make WarPath feel like a half-priced game, and the question is, “does anyone really want half a game for half the price?” I think not. I’d personally prefer to pay full price and enjoy the game that it should be.

Underneath it all is a mildly entertaining game thanks, in large part, to the upgradeable weapons and the attractive (but homogenous) multiplayer levels, but what could it have been with Digital Extremes’ full support? There are no official forums and WarPath isn't even mentioned on the developer's website, so I wouldn’t expect much in that regard. It doesn't have much of a personality, and you can't help but wonder if that common thread didn't pervade the entire process from start to finish - up to, and including, the online community (or lack thereof) that has sprung up around it.

If you can get past the fact that this is a no-frills first-person shooter and like the idea of ameliorating your weapons throughout a match, then there's some fun to be had here. If you're expecting a full-priced game in a budget package then you are going to find it lacking. The bottom line is that multiplayer-centric games will whither and die if there's no one to play with. As of press time you'll find it difficult to find a game of WarPath online to join, which sort of validates my original question.

Personal bias: 60%

I'm right and you know it...

Sir Brizz: When Digital Extremes announced that they were finally releasing another game, EVERYONE got excited. The prospect of a spiritual successor to the Unreal series, built on the Unreal Engine with some high profile associations in the company (namely James Schmalz) was more than a little intriguing from the outset. That's when Pariah was released.

Now, a little more than a year later, DE has dropped WarPath in our laps, a game which shares many of the same resources as Pariah, and, as Groove Games has admitted, started out life as Pariah 2. Needless to say, we found ourselves curious at how the games would differ and in what areas they would not. It wasn't long after the release of the Multiplayer Demo that people began to fret and to worry. The game was not significantly different from Pariah, and we all knew it.

Fortunately, DE knew it as well. Some of the most significant changes to the gameplay occurred after the Demo was released, and it's majorly these changes that make the game the quality it is today. I would hate to think how the game would have turned out had they not slyly released that demo.

The first thing to recognize about WarPath is that although the core gameplay itself has not changed significantly from Pariah, the mechanics have gotten a major overhaul. Jumping still feels similarly as floaty as it did in Pariah, however the game speed has been bumped up making those ever so cumbersome remote detonated grenade kills fewer and farther between (no, not few and far between, but fewer and farther). They also moved remote detonation off of the first upgrade slot, so not everyone and their dog has it at the outset of the game. The other weapons got an overhaul as well, although the "Warthog" (aka the "Bulldog") can still manage to kill just about anyone from across the map when fully upgraded.

The movement was changed significantly from Pariah. I mentioned that it still felt similarly as floaty, and it does. But DE went to great lengths (it seems) to ensure that strafe jumping, bunny hopping, ramping, and lift jumping were all in the game and offered some benefit for use. In many cases, you can bypass entire areas of maps by simply ramping up a Static Mesh that's standing in the way. This automatically introduces the possibility of much more strategic gameplay than Pariah ever offered.

Ultimately, where WarPath breaks down is in sameyness. Yes, that's right, I said sameyness. The maps are extremely well designed despite recycling content (and how could they not be, considering the map credits), however the weapons, while entirely fun to use, look just as bland and boring as their Pariah counterparts (though technically more polished in terms of design). Also, for a primarily multiplayer game, Groove Games only set up one dedicated server of their own. It is somewhat disappointing when a company does not show enough faith in the popularity of their game to open up a few servers running several different gametypes. However, as usual, the community has stepped up in place of the publisher, and there are a couple of BadenSoft servers that typically have 5 or more people playing on them in the evenings. In total there are about 7 servers up at any given times now.

With the lack of post-release publisher support, paired with the samey gameplay WarPath offers exactly as much as it needs to to match it's $20 price point and no more.

Personal bias: 70%

What about the Xbox version? / Bottom Line