Third-person shooters have hardly been a rarity in recent times. Even this downloadable release is a remake of one- 2010’s The Scourge Project to be precise. “What are you talking about? I’ve never even heard of that game!” you might have just cried aloud. Seeing as how it wasn’t a very good game, that’s probably understandable. Now understand this: Scourge: Outbreak isn’t very good, either.
Plot-wise, it’s drivel. That’s about as much real estate as this review is going to allow for the story side of things. There are more pressing matters to deal with, namely the way it plays and looks. Ouch, right? That is to say the game plays and looks bad. Say what you will about Gears of War – no, in fact, screw that: Gears of War is pretty awesome. You know why it’s awesome? Because the shooting is sharp and responsive, boasts a variety of fun weapons to use, features an identifiably corn-ball setting, and coats it all with top-brand graphical veneer. Scourge: Outbreak does the opposite.
But is it really fair to compare this smaller studio’s bastard-Frankenstein of a Gears game to the master itself, though? On one hand, maybe not. There’s been a boatload of contenders to Cliffy’s throne this generation, and many of them have been poor. But guess what: it’s not 2008 anymore. Nor is it 2010! If you’re going to come at the king – or replicate the king at least – you best be looking to do some damage. Even on a budget, Scourge: Outbreak doesn’t deserve much of anyone’s time or indeed money. You can probably pick up any of the Gears games for slightly less or more than this game’s asking price at this point.
Without continuing to sound like an advertising vehicle for Epic Game’s fine wares, let’s cover the basics to fully explain why this game is worthy of such a bollocking. As you might have guessed, much of Outbreak involves ducking behind waist-high blocks of cover, clambering waist-high platforms and slow-walking during communication with the big-wigs back at base. Sound familiar? Not that its familiarity with The Game That Shall No Longer Be Named is inherently what makes it so unappealing – no, the sluggish shooting, brain-dead A.I. and totally bland level design will do that job. Of course, it also features both local and online co-op as well as suite of multiplayer modes (Population: Ghost Town). And I haven’t even addressed how truly awful the characters look. Just imagine a broody fourteen-year-old’s emo interpretation of tribal-tatted Marcus Fenix and grimaces only outmatched by tragically “edgy” dialogue and voice acting.
There’s no good reason to play Scourge: Outbreak. It functions (sort of), I’ll give ‘em that. But realistically, and even at a cheaper asking price, why would anyone ever want to play this game? Even the most middling third-person shooter is more desirable, and thankfully the last eight years has got your back pretty well covered in that regard.
Game reviewed on Xbox 360; supplied by Microsoft UK.
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