Scourge: Outbreak Review

ScourgeScourge: Outbreak (Available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Genre: Action
Publisher: UFO Interactive (360 Version) / Bitbox S.L (All other versions)
Developer: Tragnarion Studios
Release Date: July 3rd, 2013

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Scourge: Outbreak M for mature because of blood, strong language, and violence. The rating is well deserved as this is an overly violent game. There are copious amounts of blood, and lots of up close and personal death scenes. Certainly this isn’t a game for children.

Plays Like: There’s no denying it, Scourge is an unabashed Gears of War clone. It features the exact same controls, cover mechanic, everything. Even the way the characters look are modeled after their Gears counterparts. This is a very low-rent Gears of War though, and often feels as though it was originally created for a tablet and ported over to consoles as an after thought.

Review Basis: Microsoft sent us a review code and I played for as long as I could stomach it, which was a little over half way through the campaign. After that I finished it with three other players. Thankfully there are only four levels in the game, although each consecutive level is longer than the last.

Have you ever played any of Gameloft’s mobile offerings? You know the ones I’m talking about, the games that rip off AAA blockbusters, are significantly scaled down, and featured extremely small budgets. Scourge: Outbreak feels exactly like that. It often looks like it was designed for iOS or Android, features the exact same control-scheme as Gears of War, and yet it never manages to become anything more than an extremely repetitive and tiring shooter with a wide variety of gameplay issues. Gameloft may specialize in clones now-a-days, but at least their clones are often worth playing. Sadly Scourge is anything but.

The Good:

+ $9.99 asking price is nice. Even though the game has a wide variety of flaws, it’s nice to know the publisher didn’t try to squeeze an extra five bucks out of gamers.

Scourge4The So-So:

+/- It’s awesome being able to bring three friends with you through the campaign, but having four players together just isn’t enough to overcome the plethora of issues that plague the game.

+/- Partner A.I. is competent enough to help you take on adversaries, and save your life, but the same can’t be said for the enemy A.I. These guys are brain-dead and will constantly run right at you, or stand there doing nothing at all.

Scourge3The Bad:

– The four levels are broken down into a series of linear pathways that all require the exact same tactic to complete, use the cover to take out all the enemies, locate a switch, elevator or some other object, and then continue to the next area. Rinse and repeat. Thankfully there are many areas where you can simply run by all the enemies, grab the item you need and move on. Enemies may surround you, but once you grab that item they magically disappear.

– Weapons are all over the place. Some weapons have no recoil whatsoever, so you can be as trigger happy as you want, while others jump all over the place after depressing the trigger one time. As a result you almost always end up over compensating for recoil that may or may not be present.

– The one creative element added to the game, the suit powers, don’t work nearly as well as intended. You can use your suit’s power to either place a shield around you, or to put out a beam of light that explodes and kills everything around it. Problem is that the shield lasts all of three seconds, and the blast wave is almost impossible to aim exactly where you want it, making both features all but useless.

– Being able to issue commands is a novel idea, but you need to actually use your gun’s sights in order to accurately position your comrades. If you simply issue commands without zooming in and aiming, it’s virtually impossible to see where the reticule is and therefore where your teammates will end up standing/attacking.

– Enemies are ridiculously strong. More often than not it feels as though you’re firing a pea-shooter, while they’re firing bazookas. It takes far too many shots to bring down even the easiest enemy, while you have to hide behind cover or get ripped apart.

– Competitive multiplayer works as you’d imagine, with deathmatches and the like. While normally that would be enough for some, the problem is that all the issues with the weapons are present in the competitive multiplayer as well.

Scourge2The Ugly:

Given this game uses the Unreal Engine 3, there are far too many bugs presents. Low res polygons, massive framerate drops, and other technical hiccups such as clipping and pop-in make this look like a spiffy mobile offering. Animations are stiff and rigid, lip-syncing is way off, and overall doesn’t feel like an end of cycle console release in the least. The audio is equally uninspired.

Scourge1The Lowdown:

If you’re looking for a budget Gears of War, I’d suggest you go out and pick up the original game, or download it via Games on Demand, I would stay clear of Scourge: Outbreak at all costs because it’s a broken game. This is the type of game that harkens back to the mid-90s when shovel-ware software tried to replicate the success of Mortal Kombat with digitized graphics. Do you remember how many awful games were released around that time whose sole selling point was “Digitized Graphics!” The same can be said here, just because it uses the Unreal Engine and copies Gears of War, doesn’t make it a good game. Do yourself a favor and download one of the other games from the Summer of Arcade.

Final Score: 3/10

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