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Scourge: Outbreak Review

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A few months ago, I reviewed Scourge: Outbreak for the Xbox 360. The game did not fare well in terms of a score. You could tell the game wanted to be different, but the mechanics of the game were not completed and nothing was brought together to make a cohesive project. With the news of a “new and improved Scourge” coming to Steam, I wanted to give the game another chance. Maybe the game was just not suited for a console environment. Certainly the PC platform offers more diverse methods of improving a game, let alone a shooter. My opinions are mixed on this new version of the game.

A squad of misfits is sent to a planet to discover what happened on a planet that super-corporation Nogari has been stationed. Your squad is then shot down by a rival group of people known as Alpha Squad. Obviously Alpha Squad as better skills, weapons, and Ambrosia suits. Naturally the best squad in the army goes rogue and starts working for an evil corporation at the start of a new mission. As the story progresses you learn various aspects of Alpha Squad and that this mission has more to it than initially thought. You play as one of four characters and the game will progress the same, but with different cutscenes having flashbacks detailing the life of the character you choose.

The story is alright, in many ways it feels too similar to that game Bulletstorm from so many years ago. However, there has been worse. What makes the story a bit tough to suffer through is that the entire backstory for the characters is told through random flashbacks during cutscenes. They feel oddly out of place. I have a personal vendetta about flashbacks as well. But that is just a pet peeve. The dialogue/voice acting also doesn’t feel fluid enough. Characters like Stonewall feel too wooden and it is hard to like the characters when Cybermen from Dr. Who have more personality.

My biggest problem with Scourge on the 360 was the gameplay. It felt like the game was still in the beta stage. Movement was choppy, but oddly sensitive. The guns felt underpowered and lacked variation. Most of all the game was too difficult because of the unbalanced gunplay. These are problems I was hoping that were going to be fixed in this new version. I can say that some of these were fixed while others felt like they hardly changed. The movement animations have been slightly improved, as much as a studio like Tragerion can do. The guns were the most significantly changed. While the weapon choices are limited to 8 guns, their mods are what count. Finding the right combination actually means something in this iteration.

Sadly, the game still feels incredibly unfair. Not the good kind of unfair punishment. Consistently through the game you feel underpowered and outclassed. It almost makes me wonder how these soldiers even got to be in the army since they feel so outmatched in every firefight. I like a challenge, but I also enjoy a relatively fair challenge. This is somewhat remedied when you play with human players in Co-Op. Which is how Scourge: Outbreak is intended to be played. Something that bugged me about Scourge: Outbreak was the gameplay of the different characters. You would think they all have vastly different powers and that is why the squad is balanced because of the variety. This is not the case. Two have stationary shield, the other two have mobile shields. Then one has a larger AOE shockwave and the other has a shockwave that can be projected. The two are divided between the four characters.

A lot of people will enjoy this game for the novelty and to support the developers. Which people should. This game is not a total disaster, it is playable and more together than the console version. However, the game still doesn’t feel as together as it should be.

I give Scourge: Outbreak for the PC a 6/10. You can pick it up on Steam now.  

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