Scourge: Outbreak (PlayStation 3) Second Opinion Review

By André Eriksson 02.02.2015

Review for Scourge: Outbreak on PlayStation 3

It is very apparent early on that Scourge: Outbreak is a generic third-person shooter. Even reflecting upon the game later on, that feeling is no different because that is what exactly what Scourge: Outbreak is: a run-of-the-mill third-person shooter. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but…is it one worth seeking out in amongst the plethora of other shooters on the market? Following on from Cubed3's first opinion of the game, André gives his view of the PlayStation 3 title.

The adventure begins in a ship right before take-off for a new mission. A big company has access to a rare material, which has the threat of causing massive destruction and havoc. It is up to one brave squad composed of four heroes to save the day and prevent the evil corporation from using the resource.

With that information and a short tutorial the adventure has started and the game begins. Scourge: Outbreak delivers the obvious revelation that this game might just be another sci-fi third-person shooter. It offers almost nothing new to spice up the formula; rather, it appears as scaled down in many aspects.

The clearest cut down from the average third-person shooter is the graphics. While Scourge: Outbreak is not a high budget game and comes with a cheap price, there is not much to expect with the graphical power in the title, so it is at least expected that the developers use colours other than brown and grey to form the game world environment. In the first stage this is not too obvious, but later on it is very clear that the colour-range could have had benefitted from a larger palette. There are no backgrounds to speak of in this game. It is grey, grey, grey, brown as long as the eye can see. This does become an issue sometimes as some objects and passages might be very hard to find due to how they "meld in" with the environment. These are problems that could have been easily fixed, although some parts of the game, especially the first stage and the multiplayer levels, really show of some good visual design. It is a shame that this is not shown more throughout Scourge: Outbreak, because as it stands now the environment grows really boring quickly due to the lack of changes.

Screenshot for Scourge: Outbreak on PlayStation 3

The issue here might not as much be that the level design is uncreative, but rather that the stages are too long. One level can take anything from one hour to well over two hours to complete on the first run-through. Yes, that's right. The stages are several hours long, stretching through around 10 checkpoints each, which has anything from five to fifteen minutes between them. This creates a very stale atmosphere and the fact that most of the game is spent in a facility does not help Scourge: Outbreak a lot. This design of being in one place during the entire game feels great in Metroidvania titles when the game is all about returning to different spots with new items to try them out to create variety in the mechanics; not so much in a third-person shooter that always offers new places to go that look the same, and with the same constant gameplay mechanics. Almost none of the environments in the game leaves a lasting image and is worth looking back on. It gets boring due to this fact.

Another issue that falls into this feeling of not leaving a lasting image is the story and the characters. Scourge: Outbreak comes with a fascinating setup of characters and actually has quite an interesting plot. The issue is that the developer put too little time and investment into those. The team is composed of four very different characters, which could have had great and fun chemistry between one another, resulting in a lot of memorable moments. Instead, they almost never interact with one another during the story. The plot starts to take shape way too late into the game, and while it is tied up nicely, it does not make up for the about six hours spent with no plot at all that most likely made the player go into auto-skip mode during cut-scenes. It is annoying and feels like a great waste of potential that could have helped this game to achieve so much more than it does.

There are also some balancing issues within the gameplay of Scourge: Outbreak. It has a co-op mode, which is superb and the main selling point of the game. The gripe is that the game does not scale between co-op and single-player campaign. Instead, three AIs are given for support in single-player. Why is this a problem? Because the gameplay and balance of the campaign is focused around co-op. The most obvious thing is the health bars of the enemies. It takes so many shots to kill the enemies - many shots. Later in the game magazines are emptied to take down one trash mob. In co-op this is not an issue as there are four players running around killing the enemies in question; in single-player, due to the nature of video game AIs, the player will most likely deliver most of the shots, but this means that there will be too little ammo. It is way too easy to run out of ammo due to the large health bars of some enemies. Some of the later boss fights are obvious offenders of this, and can take thousands of bullets to kill. No kidding - thousands of bullets.

Screenshot for Scourge: Outbreak on PlayStation 3

Another balance issue is the death mechanic. Once a soldier is down there is a pretty long timer in which the others have time to resurrect the fallen player. It is a very fun mechanic in co-op, but in single-player it is the complete opposite. Because this ability is not limited, and with the short supply of ammo the game offers, it is too often the best strategy to rush in on the enemies and expose them. Death is almost certain, but because that is so cheap, the downtime given gets covered up by the speed it takes for the AI to resurrect the PC and kill off the enemies. Plus, this saves bullets compared to how long it would take and at the bullet cost, if they were in cover, it makes it a highly valid strategy to just rush in, get killed, get rezzed. It does not promote good play; it promotes dirty play.

As stated above, this game is balanced for co-op, and it does show in a positive way when playing Scourge: Outbreak as it was intended: in the company of good friends. The big health bars do not feel as bad when up to four people shoot at the enemies, and the resurrection does not feel as cheap of a win when someone actually has to go through the trouble of rezzing their fallen comrade. In fact, these aspects strongly improve the game when doing co-op as it demands co-operation to succeed well. The frame rate issues in this game do, however, increase with co-op, but it is totally worth it to experience Scourge: Outbreak with friends instead of AIs. The only complaints about the co-op is that it lacks local multiplayer, as co-op is something best experienced live, and the sort of dead community in Scourge: Outbreak does not exactly help finding others to play with.

Screenshot for Scourge: Outbreak on PlayStation 3

This patches finely into the multiplayer aspect of Scourge: Outbreak. As mentioned, the servers are dead. Not a single soul is playing, which is highly problematic for the multiplayer aspect of any game, but nothing that can really be blamed on the game in question. However, with some friends it is possible to enjoy the multiplayer, which comes in three forms: Death Match, Team Death Match and Capture the Flag. Scourge: Outbreak had the good taste to offer the ability to cover up for the lack of players by offering AI players. This does save the multiplayer and makes it a playable aspect even though the servers are bare. The levels in multiplayer are varied and are very balanced in sized. It is enjoyable to play on the levels almost independent of the number of players, and the characters and the weapons are pretty well-balanced - not perfectly, but well enough to be playable. The connection in the multiplayer is also good and stable. The multiplayer aspect is, overall, a fun, yet pretty generic experience that can be beaten by most other games out there.

Scourge: Outbreak offers some good and some bad in a mixed bag. On one side, there is an underused campaign story, colourful characters that never really get used to create a bond to and between them, and horrible single-player gameplay balance and design choices. On the other side, there is decent multiplayer, and a very well designed and balanced co-op option, which is most likely the best part of the game. With an almost dead community, though, these aspects are sadly most likely not going to be experienced by most players. In the end, it is just another shooter that adds very little of its own to the formula.

Screenshot for Scourge: Outbreak on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Scourge: Outbreak is a generic shooter that adds very little on its own to the formula it is built on. There are a lot of things left to be wished for both from the story and the single-player balancing, and frame rate issues do not really sweeten the deal. However, the co-op gameplay is fun and quite enjoyable if able to find friends to play with, which saves Scourge: Outbreak from being a total catastrophe. For its price it is a decent third-person shooter. Generic, but highly playable. There are, however, many games better than this out there on the market, and Scourge: Outbreak is obviously a poor man's third-person shooter.

Developer

Tragnarion

Publisher

Bitbox Games

Genre

Action

Players

8

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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