Since the release of The Scourge Project: Ep. 1 & 2, several years ago, the developers over at Tragnarion Studios have been working hard to prepare the game for release on console, improving on the existing in-game features and updating aspects for a new full release. Having released Scourge: Outbreak for the Xbox 360, Tragnarion have also decided to bring this remake back to the PC making it available to purchase through STEAM.
Newcomers to Scourge: Outbreak will find a classically styled, old-school third person shooter, reminiscent of the original Lara Croft and early Gears of War games. Containing a linear and at times somewhat predictable storyline, players will be guided through a futuristic research facility, on a mission to uncover a dangerous secret, kept from the world by the Nogari Corporation.
Tragnarion has worked hard to revive the 4 player co-operative campaign, allowing players to assume the role of one of Echo Squad’s 4 playable characters, to fight alongside friends or other online players. By providing each of the squad members with their own unique stats and abilities, specialising them towards certain weapons and group positions, players are presented with a variety of play styles and group dynamics. In addition, by playing through the campaign as each separate member of Echo Squad, players will discover new segments of the story through memories and visions unique to that character, increasing the replay ability of the game.
After a short tutorial, players are thrust into the action, setting the pace for the rest of the game. Although the taking down of enemies seems easy to begin with, the difficulty level increases significantly with the introduction of the specialist boss soldiers and the face hugging Scourge. Due to the endless waves of intelligent AI enemies descending on to the team and the steep difficulty curve, players are forced to use a combination of weapons and the Ambrosia powered abilities to survive. Unfortunately, there are some issues with the game’s combat system, specifically when taking cover behind objects. It is not always clear which objects can be hidden behind and the characters will often ignore your attempt to get into cover, sometimes vaulting over the object you were trying to hide behind and exposing yourself further.
Where the co-operative campaign comes into its own however, is through the use of the ‘Quick Order System’, where players are able to direct team mates to do certain tasks, to move to a different position or to target a particular enemy. This system allows for a more tactical based gameplay, and improves teamwork between each of the players. It also becomes extremely useful when playing the campaign on your own, as the QOS allows for you to order around your AI teammates, essentially taking control of the whole team.
The Scourge: Outbreak also boasts a back to basics online multiplayer, covering 3 game modes: Deathmatch, Team Death Match, and Capture the Flag. These modes are played across 5 maps each of which are found within the campaign and have been adapted for multiplayer combat. What makes the Scourge: Outbreak multiplayer experience different to other multiplayer shooters, is the bareness of the modes and maps. Whilst fighting against other players online, there are no gimmicks, intractable traps, or game changing perks. Player’s battle against one another using their pre-selected weapons, and the available cover found around the map, and the most skilful player comes out on top.
Unfortunately for Tragnarion, the multiplayer servers have been pretty empty since its release on STEAM earlier on this week. Even with the game being made fully cross-platform, allowing PC and Mac players to fight together, players are still having to wait in lobbies for 10-15 minutes before finding enough players to start a match.
With Scourge: Outbreak currently on sale on STEAM for £5.03 , along with several DLC packs, also on sale, that include new multiplayer maps, and digital copies of the game artwork and original soundtrack, I’m sure it won’t be long before the servers begin to fill up. This game may not contain next-gen graphics, or have the most original storyline; however Tragnarion have made a good attempt at recreating the classic shooter, and for a budget price what more can you expect.