"Poor Man's Gears of War"
I am a fan of squad-based shooters. From first-person to third-person, I just love the idea of a truly cooperative game. My first encounter of this type of game was Left 4 Dead, and eventually a friend loaned me a copy of Gears of War. After Gears, I was hooked. At the time, Gears of War 3 was a month away and I powered through the first two in a single weekend and couldn't wait for Gears of War 3. Scourge: Outbreak brings similar gameplay and theme, but it lacks the heart of what the Gears of War franchise brought.
In Scourge: Outbreak players take control of one of four members of Echo Squad, one of many squads in the Tarn Initiative. The Tarn Initiative, from what I can tell, is battling against a mega-corporation that is up to no good. If this story sounds familiar, that's probably because it is. It's an ultra-cliché story that those within the science fiction community has heard, seen, or played dozens and dozens of times over. We have Stonewall as the generic one, Amp as the tough girl, Mass as the big guy, and finally we have Shade, the mysterious one.
Visually, Scourge: Outbreak isn't too bad. The only thing is there are things about this game that make it look like such a blatant rip-off of other; it's laughable. The Gears of War franchise has soldiers in techno-armor with blue lights. I take a look at Scourge: Outbreak, and we have soldiers in techno-armor with blue lights. The cybernetic implants that the characters have are reminiscent from Deus Ex: Human Evolution, especially in one scene with Stonewall. The only real difference was that the implants on the face glows for Stonewall. The interface is ugly. This could just be me nitpicking, but I would much rather highlight an option and press the A button than to press A to proceed and B to cancel. The physics seem a little off as well. There are games where you see a character kick something and it looks like there is some weight to it. In Scourge: Outbreak, we have a character kick a grating out of the way and it goes flying. Sure, I was playing as Mass, the biggest guy on Echo Squad, but it just didn't look believable to me.
The sound can get pretty bad. The script is written to sound like Echo Squad is a bunch of tough guys with tough guy sayings like, “Okay, Echo Squad, let's get in there and do what we came here to do.” Or “Don't make this a habit!” The voice acting could be improved upon, but it is tolerable. I really hate it when there is a cutscene where only half of the sound comes through. I have a character on a turret shooting at some enemies, but only his voice can be heard screaming. The blasts from the turret cannot be heard, which just gets frustrating. In multiplayer, I wasn't given an option to be able to communicate with the rest of my team, which I think any squad-based game should offer. Sure, I could hold down RB and give direction, but the Xbox 360 does have a headset players can use. We should be able to use it.
Gameplay in Scourge: Outbreak is decent; there are a variety of different weapons for players to play with. Reviving a downed ally is done fast enough where you won't die automatically, but slow enough to make players not want to go down so much. It's also frustrating that once you're down, you cannot move or anything. I think Gears of War did this really well, where the character can crawl to their comrades and get patched up out of the line of fire. Instead, the guy just breathes real loud and waits for his allies to pick him up. When I aim, sometimes my character continues to aim long after I had released the LT button. The campaign can be fun to play if you can look past the cheesy story, but the real meat is the multi-player with either the Co-op or Versus modes. The Co-op is just the main campaign, except the other characters can be controlled with other players. Versus modes include: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag.
The thing about Scourge: Outbreak is that for everything it has done right, it does four things wrong. I have to admit, that I still had some fun playing with people online, but I can't get over the frustration I feel when I shoot things and they don't die like they're supposed to or I can't hear things that I'm supposed to hear.
GameDynamo's Score for Scourge: Outbreak (X360)
|Exequiel Roman III
He has been gaming since before he could spell video or games... or even his own name. While he can find a game he enjoys in any genre, he cites Tetris being his all-time favorite game. Oh yeah... he writes stuff too.
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