Scourge: Outbreak

The recipe for Scourge: Outbreak sounds promising, but at some point it went sour, it was overcooked, or maybe it just fell on the floor.

By potter, Posted 23 Apr 2014

The recipe for Scourge: Outbreak sounds promising. You’ve got a large dollop of classic Gears of War style ‘Gun ‘n’ Cover’ gameplay, a sprinkling of Mass Effect-esque special abilities, visuals powered and polished in Unreal Engine and an offering of 4-player online co-op. But at some point this recipe went sour, it was overcooked, or maybe it just fell on the floor.

Scourge Outbreak,Review,Screenshots,Tragnarion Studios, Bitbox S.L.,Indie Games

It’s the year 2036 and four mercenaries known as ‘Echo Squad’ have been tasked with saving a scientist from a lab, but as you move from generic warehouse to generic industrial plant and kill generic enemies in each area, the narrative does very little to inspire you to keep going. Each member of Echo Squad has slightly different stats and abilities, but in the lukewarm heat of repetitive battle, the characters all seem pretty much the same. Special abilities such as casting a shield of energy in front of your character or channeling a shockwave at the feet of enemies is powered by the resource known as Ambrosia. Ambrosia, runs out quite quickly, so you have to stand next to a supply barrel full of it to recharge. It soon becomes apparent though, that just shooting enemies dispatches them quicker anyway, so what could have been a cool gameplay mechanic instead becomes something you might use when you remember you have it. It’s also disappointing then that in a game based almost entirely around the idea of shooting people and things with guns, the guns aren’t satisfying to use. Using a shotgun at close-range doesn’t make you feel like you are blowing huge holes into the chap on the other end, nor do the assault rifles seem to make swiss cheese of enemies.

Scourge Outbreak,Review,Screenshots,Tragnarion Studios, Bitbox S.L.,Indie Games

The level design is basic, with the player having to duck behind crates, clear the room of bad guys and find a switch, computer or a piece of DNA before being able to progress. Furthermore, in some cases, players must turn around and kill a new batch of enemies to get back to the starting point. Then it’s onto the next room to do the exact same thing. This could have been disguised and made more interesting with grand set pieces or a unique art style, but unfortunately there is not much more to see other than grey and/or brown rooms littered with crates or in some areas, alien plants. Enemy AI is almost non-existent, and it doesn’t take too much effort or brainpower to stay alive, especially when your squad-mates can revive you if you take too much damage, which does actually keep the flow of the game going nicely.

Scourge Outbreak,Review,Screenshots,Tragnarion Studios, Bitbox S.L.,Indie Games

Playing the campaign solo means the rest of Echo Squad is at the mercy of the AI, unless you issue them some basic commands. This does seem to work fine, and they are happy to help you when you have been downed, but there is surely a lot more fun to be had if you can convince three friends to join you and fill the boots of the other mercenaries. Thankfully, the pricing of the game seems reasonable, with each member of your squad only needing to chip in a few bucks each for 6-8 hours of co-op shooting. Ultimately though, it’s hard to recommend Scourge: Outbreak as it fails to execute its ideas in a fun and engaging way. So, be careful if you do convince your friends to buy it with you, as they might just come knocking at your door.

William Potter, NoobFeed (@Twitter)

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Bitbox S.L.
Developer(s): Tragnarion Studios
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2014-04-24

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