This year’s E3 features a ton of high-end, much-hyped FPSes: Killzone, Half-Life 2 and Halo 2 are taking center stage, but one title folks should not lose track of in the marketing mayhem surrounding this formidable games is Pariah from Groove Games.

The team behind this title has worked on previous Unreal Tournament games, and the demonstration I was given showed a familiar UT flavor, but Pariah looks incredibly intriguing. There’s a complex story involved here about a doctor from Earth’s far-future who has been sent to a ravaged Earth to recover a mystery-shrouded woman who has been cryogenically frozen.

Weapons can me modified with energy power-ups throughout the game, providing numerous and more destructive firing modes. Vehicles are varied. You will encounter three different varieties of each class of vehicle: jeeps, tanks, etc. The environments I saw varied from a fortified prison in a lush forest to a glass and concrete cityscape. True to the new standard in games, the physics are looking very nice, ragdoll bodies are flying everywhere.

So what Pariah provides is a solid story that keeps you playing the single player game, high-end graphics and physics, and of course, just about every multi-player mode you can imagine. All of the standard multi-player games will be included: deathmatch, capture the flag, but the folks at Groove Games seemed very emphatic about also including a co-operative option via split-screen, internet and Xbox Live. This alone should make this game more appealing than those higher-end titles that rush out their products sans a co-operative game due to time constraints.

That said, I was pointedly told that this game is still in development and much can change between now and the anticipated release in spring 2005. Pariah will be released on PC, Xbox and PS2. There’s very little information yet about the PS2 version. It was just announced here at E3 that Pariah would be released for the PS2, so the multiplayer options mentioned above may not apply.

It would be a big mistake to pass up this game. The beta test is scheduled for the end of the summer, so if we wish really hard, we hope to have access that will allow us to bring you more, in-depth coverage.

- Erin Ellis