Scourge: Outbreak
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2013-07-21 Xbox 360 Shooter M (Mature) Tragnarion Studios / UFO Interactive

Scourge: Outbreak didn't need much to get me interested. Just the premise of the story (it's a shooter, I don't need a lecture to get started) and the female character seemed enough to get my attention.

You play as one of four members of the Echo Squad: Amp, Mass, Shade and Stonewall. Each of them has specific attributes and a couple of skills to help in battle, plus their own personal background story and motives.Your goal is a nearly suicidal mission to obtain Ambrosia, a powerful alien energy source that is used to replenish special powers, and rescue a scientist from the evil Nogari Corporation, who is conducting strange experiments. In the meantime, you will need to fight off the former members of the Alpha squad.

Resembling Crysis in looks and Gears of War in gameplay, Scourge: Outbreak offers plenty of action, but the mechanics leave a lot to be desired. Right from the tutorial, simple things such as sprinting or taking cover are problematic, since they both use the same button to be executed.

The tutorial involves making your way through the ship, thus learning basic movements, and finding the firing range so you can practice your aim and try out a few different weapons.

After that, you are taken to get acquainted with the special abilities of your Ambrosia Suit, and see how the shockwave attack and shield mechanisms work (Static or Dynamic, depending on your character's ability). This is actually fairly interesting, but the unfortunately the powers don't last too long and have to be recharged frequently.

Last but not least, in the last portion of the tutorial you are introduced to more advanced commands that allow you to control your squad, resulting in even more control confusion. Well, at least for me anyway.

Once in my first mission, the first thing I noticed was that the tutorial did almost nothing for me. Sure, I had the basics in place and in theory knew how to use them. Executing them however, was a confusion of what button does what again and why was I sprinting away when I was trying to cover. Because we have to switch between tapping or holding the A button depending on whether we want to take cover, jump over said cover or sprint. Worst control scheme ever! I bet if this was on the Wii, it would all be about shaking the Wii-mote, for all three actions, only in a slightly different speed. I think you get the idea, and how it does not work.

And then there were the weapon issues. There are a few different weapons to use, your standard fare: rifles, pistol, gatling gun, shotgun. The one thing they have in common is that they are all equally inaccurate and particularly underpowered, even in close range. Aiming is painful and the way the crosshair moves after each shot is beyond annoying. Add to that me being the clumsiest shooter player ever, and the fact that you STILL take damage while in cover, and you have a recipe for failure.

Still, with my usual patience and perseverance (and occasional but increasing amounts of swearing), I made my way through one of the most frustrating and epic battles of my videogame life. My goal was to actually get to know more about the character I was playing and see what other strange creatures were there to kill. If you can bare to play as all four characters, you will see different cut-scenes related to their background stories, which is a nice added touch.

Scourge: Outbreak becomes much more interesting in co-op mode. The campaign can be played with up to 4 players, locally or online, and the gameplay becomes much more fun and rewarding since you can coordinate your attacks with your team. Aside from co-op, there are also competitive multiplayer options available (Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Free-For-All), but you may find the lobby pretty deserted.

Scourge: Outbreak lacks originality, as it borrows a lot from other games, but that isn't the bad thing. I actually like how the game looks, even if it's all too familiar. Unfortunately, it falls terribly short in terms of gameplay mechanics, which is a shame. We're seen this type of game before, only much better. With a little more effort into that and less into packing the same old multiplayer choices, we would have probably ended up with a much better campaign.

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