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Video Game / P.A.M.E.L.A.

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Many believed that true utopia could never be achieved. They were right.

P.A.M.E.L.A. is a Survival Horror Science Fiction Survival Sandbox game developed and published by the Canadian NVYVE Studios. It was released for PC through Steam Early Access on March 9th, 2017, and was released in full on June 18th, 2020.

The game is heavily inspired by games like System Shock 2 and Bioshock, with the addition of survival mechanics (i.e. a hunger and thirst meter and having to manage the power supply for the city) and base-building.

In the far future of 2236, the mainland is no longer habitable, and what remains of humanity now lives on a series of utopian floating futuristic cities known as Arks. On one such Ark, EDEN 52, a horrible disease has spread. Much of the population is either dead... or worse. The AI that once oversaw the city, P.A.M.E.L.A., has awoken you, a Sleeper. Now it's your job to try and survive the fallen city and its infected populace, and find out what brought the disease that brought EDEN to its knees.

P.A.M.E.L.A. contains examples of:

  • After the End: The game takes place on one of several dozen Arks, floating cities constructed to serve as a refuge for the survivors of humanity after an unspecified environmental catastrophe rendered the mainland uninhabitable.
  • Arm Cannon: All of the game's weapons are modules for your AARM Super Wrist-Gadget. There are 5 "dorsal" weapon modules, which mount on your forearm, and 2 "fore" weapon modules, which mount on your hand.
  • Badass Abnormal: Reapers and Widows are citizens of Eden who were genetically engineered with enhanced physical attributes to help fulfill special city duties. After being infected, they're now much more dangerous and even more psychotic than regular Afflicted.
  • Beef Gate: For much of the early game, fighting a Reaper or Widow, or even multiple Afflicted (fast zombies), is suicidal, and you'll have to avoid or run away from them.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: An arm-mounted energy blade is one of the available weapons. It has better reach and deals more damage than the basic punch, but uses up energy on use.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Widows are almost blind, but are very responsive to sound. They're also extremely fast and deadly opponents.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: Reapers and Widows are considerably tougher and more dangerous than standard Afflicted, and can likely kill you effortlessly unless you're well equipped. Seekers can still handle them quite competently, though. Revenants are likewise extremely dangerous, and can also summon Shades to back them up.
  • Breakable Weapons: All of the equipment has durability, and items looted from Afflicted are likely to already be in a pretty bad shape. Luckily, items also get restored to brand new with repair kits. However, items don't degrade through use, but rather through damage from taking hits from enemy attacks.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Enemies will just suddenly drop dead after receiving enough damage, even if it's from punching.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If your current Sleeper dies, you'll respawn as a fresh Sleeper in one of Eden 52's four cryo bays. However, you have to retrieve your lost inventory, crafting materials, and cash from your corpse, and whatever killed you has a good chance of still hanging around your body. Turns into Continuing is Painful if you die somewhere difficult to return to, such as the nanite-contaminated zone, since you need a hazmat suit to enter and the rare crafting materials you need to make the suit are on your corpse inside the zone.
  • Deflector Shields: One of the things you can place in a dedicated slot inside your suit. Instead of wrapping around your entire body, however, it is merely equivalent to a buckler, and you have to actively decide when to block with it.
  • Diegetic Interface: The HUD elements displaying your tools' vital stats appear to you as holograms right next to the tool itself. Your own menu appears as similar holograms around your arm, which you rotate to select larger categories like inventory, which is then rendered as a larger hologram in front of your eyes. Even things like hacking are again rendered entirely as wrist-mounted holograms. The drawback to all this is that you can't check your health or ammo during combat, since stopping to look at your wrist gadget in the middle of a fight is a good way to get your face torn off by a mutant. Fortunately, A.R. glasses can be found and equipped to display a traditional HUD.
  • Early Game Hell: You start out completely unarmed and without equipment or supplies, and upon exiting the tutorial area (Ark Medical), it's not uncommon to be swarmed by groups of Boss in Mook's Clothing enemies. Survival can be Hell for the first few hours, until you manage to find some decent weapons and get some good upgrades such as Regenerating Health.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Geists are weak against fire damage but resistant to electrical damage, while robots are resistant to fire damage.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • "Enraged" Afflicted have red skin and hit a lot harder than regular ones. Fortunately, they're not noticeably more durable.
    • After you progress past a certain story mission, Stalkers/"Dark Seekers" will begin appearing during nighttime. They're only about half as durable compared to regular Seekers (being about on par with Widows), but attack in groups of three, can cloak allowing them to sneak up on you and attack from out of nowhere, and will hunt you relentlessly during nighttime hours while ignoring all other EDEN inhabitants.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: Getting stronger in this game consists of outfitting yourself with superior gear like armor, shield, weapons and gadgets, etc. All weapons and equipment, save for "Legendary"-tier weapons, can be crafted provided you build an equipment bench to do so.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Pretty much nothing is known or determined about The Sleeper, as they very much exist as a blank canvas for the player to project themselves onto. You do leave a corpse behind when killed, but it's always face down to obscure as much as possible.
  • Fictional Currency: EDEN uses one named Lux, after the Latin word for light.
  • Final Boss: A unique Seeker boss is guarding the final objective of the game, a communications array located in the center of the nanite-infected area of the city that P.A.M.E.L.A. wants you to reactivate. He has both the standard Seeker laser and electrical area of effect projectiles similar to the arc welder's alt fire, is accompanied by a unique Observer that drains your AARM energy, and summons a couple of Shades to back him up as well. It's a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, as its presence is never foreshadowed or explained, and P.A.M.E.L.A. simply refers to it as "an unusually powerful disturbance". It also doesn't leave a database entry after you kill it.
  • First-Person Ghost: Averted. Looking down will in fact reveal your body. Since you are always clad inside the suit, however, this doesn't interfere with being a Featureless Protagonist.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: This is the player's only way to defend themselves before they find better weapons. Due to the fact both melee and ranged weapons use up ammo, fisticuffs will still be your primary means of defense for much of the game.
  • Hacking Minigame: Here, you have rather conventional circle-rotating or symbol-matching minigames. What makes it special is that the game doesn't freeze time and send you to a dedicated screen, but renders it in real-time as something you do on your suit's wrist-mounted computer, while still retaining awareness of all your surroundings. Oh, and failing to hack has a chance of turning the normally-friendly security robots hostile and summoning them to hack's location.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Afflicted who were once security guards wear body armor, although they don't seem to actually be more durable than regular Afflicted.
  • Heroic Mime: The protagonist never says anything.
  • Hologram: P.A.M.E.L.A. talks to the Sleeper as a hologram of blue light generated by the projector in the palm of their suit.
  • Infernal Retaliation: Attempting to use electrical weapons on Geist-type enemies simply supercharges them and causes them to attack you while supercharged.
  • Intangible Man: Geists are humans who have been infected and consumed by nanites, becoming desiccated corpse-like creatures composed entirely of nanites. They can shift between a solid body and an intangible nanite cloud form. They come in two types; the standard Shades, and the Boss in Mook's Clothing Revenant.
  • Item Crafting: Done on the engineering workbenches.
  • Killer Robot: An option to make the Seekers (security robots) hostile to the player by default is available in the difficulty settings. Even in the normal game, they will still attack you if you commit crimes and resist arrest, and then there are the rumored "Dark Seekers" that appear under special circumstances and are hostile to all humans.
  • Left Hanging: The main story never addresses where the disease came from, and never even brings up any of the mysterious plot threads brought up by the echo logs, such as the "Deep Frame", REM, the Dark Seekers, the fate of Eden 33, etc. In fact the main story is remarkably short and mostly serves as a "topping" to the open world gameplay, which is the real core of the game.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Item spawns are completely random, unlike most of the games P.A.M.E.L.A. draws inspiration from, so how long it takes you to obtain basic equipment like armor/shields or even a weapon are completely up to chance. Thankfully your basic fists are sufficient to deal with the lower-tier Afflicted, though you'll have to run away from anything tougher until you're better equipped.
  • Magic Antidote: Averted; at the end of the game, P.A.M.E.L.A. reveals that the remedy you've been helping her develop turns out to be a vaccine, not a cure, so it can't save those already infected, and has only a 39% chance of working on you.
  • Meat Moss: A black mass of nanites has overrun a large sector of the city, which has been sealed off with an energy shield. Nanite masses will also grow around the rest of the city as the game progresses, sealing off passages and forcing you to find alternate routes.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Besides yourself, Eden has various factions of inhabitants which are all hostile towards each other. The zombie-like Afflicted and nanite-possessed Geists are hostile towards each other as well as the player, and the city's Security robots will do their best to manage the infestations, but will also attack the player if they witness a crime being committed.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Averted, as a consequence of a Diegetic Interface. The game at least pauses when you look at the in-game journal/encyclopedia.
  • Mighty Glacier: Seekers are quite slow and make heavy use of The Slow Walk, making them very easy to outrun, but they hit extremely hard and are the most durable characters in EDEN, having almost four times the amount of health of a standard Afflicted (for comparison, Reapers have about 3 times normal health, Widows have 2 times normal health, and Degenerated only have 3/4ths normal health).
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The ending implies that the Edens have the technology to transfer someone's consciousness remotely from one Ark to another, allowing them to wake up in a new body in a safer location. Technology on this level is never mentioned before the ending (other than your ability to infinitely respawn, which is more along the lines of Gameplay and Story Segregation), and it's baffling no one attempted to use it as the Ark was falling apart. It mostly seems to be the result of the game's Cosmic Deadline and the developers having to come up with a sudden last minute ending.
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: More like Deadly Days, Even Deadlier Nights. Eden is bad enough during the daytime, what with the Afflicted and Geists running around, but becomes even worse at night due to the Dark Seekers appearing during night time and hunting you down relentlessly. Fortunately, these enemies only trigger after a specific mission in the game's main quest line.
  • Notice This: If the player sends out a blue scanner pulse, it'll highlight any interactive objects it passes through with the same shade of blue. This also conveniently marks empty containers with a red x, so you won't have to waste time searching through them.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The citizens of Eden have devolved into rage-crazed maniacs due to an unknown mutative contamination. The late-stage victims, known as Degenerated, are gaunt, almost skeletal in appearance and move haltingly due to much of their muscle and flesh being painfully converted into jagged solid bone. They can still punch and kick reasonably well, though. Early-stage victims, known as Afflicted, are fast and intelligent like normal humans, but homicidally insane due to extreme pain, and are even capable of using weapons if they were carrying one when succumbing to the infection. Additionally, there are also Geists, which are humans infected by nanites which have consumed their bodies and turned them into walking, dessicated corpses. Geists and Afflicted are hostile towards each other as well as to you.
  • Power Fist: Warden's Fist is a straight upgrade to your basic melee. Fully upgraded, the Legendary variant does about double damage compared to a regular punch, and enemies hit with it will be Punched Across the Room. Using it uses up AARM energy, however.
  • The Plague: A disease spread through the city, and whoever didn't die from it now roams around, attacking anyone they see. Seemingly completely separate from the Affliction, there's also a nasty case of Nanite contamination overtaking the city, which is creating its own zombie-like creatures roaming around attacking anyone they can find.
  • Randomly Drops: You get randomised loot from the Afflicted and other opponents. Thus, it's possible to get pretty high
  • Regenerating Health: One of the later genome upgrades gives you this, though you don't get it until fairly late in the skill tree. You can also purchase an augment that regenerates your health whenever you're in direct sunlight.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: There are multiple ways to berserk enemies and cause them to fight each other, namely enrage darts, the Frenzy special ability, and the Conversion special ability. Enemies will sometimes even attack each other, even if they're from the same faction, if they accidentally damage each other during combat.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The "Legendary" variants of the game's 7 weapons are named after the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: As Seekers are initially neutral towards you, if you get attacked by particularly dangerous Afflicted you can try to retreat and lure them near a Seeker so it can handle them for you. Also, Afflicted and Geists are hostile towards each other, so if you're being chased by one faction you can lure them towards a group of the other faction and let them fight it out between each other.
  • Survival Sandbox: The game progresses non-linearly and you can explore the majority of Eden from the beginning of the game (though the more dangerous areas are best avoided until you get better equipment), and the game features survival mechanics such as food/water meters and base-building. Early builds of the game even had resource harvesting, but this was removed due to being tedious and distracting (you now get resources from looting containers, similar to most Immersive Sim games).
  • Tranquilizer Dart: The Subverser weapon fires either poison, sleep, or enrage darts to cause various status effects on enemies. The legendary variant doesn't fire enrage darts, but instead can be upgraded to fire "hollow" darts, which slow down an enemy and leave them more vulnerable to damage.
  • Universal Ammo: All weapons draw energy from your AARM's energy reserve, which is refilled using batteries. If you run out of energy, you'll be limited to basic punches for self defense.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: There's one localized to EDEN. In fact the Ark has what seem to be two entirely separate zombie apocalypses going on, with the zombies from one origin (the disease) being hostile towards the zombies from the other origin (the rampant nanites).