This review was written using a review copy of the game.
The year is 2026 and the world is ruled by Nogari Corporation, the power-hungry creators of the energy source known as Ambrosia. The Nogari Corporation’s power knows no bounds and there is only one group who dares to stop them: The Tarn Initiative. You’re placed in the boots of Echo Squad, an elite group of mercenaries who are tasked with finding Dr Reisbeck, Tarn’s double-agent inside Nogari, and also finding a fragment of meteorite meteorite which is kept deep inside the Nogari’s laboratories (naturally).
Scourge: Outbreak allows up to four players to play co-operatively in story mode or allows one person to go it alone with the AI holding your hand. There is also a multiplayer mode where you can battle it out against other players in Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes in five different maps.
The story for Scourge: Outbreak is not a groundbreaking masterpiece, in fact, I found myself just drifting away during cutscenes and long pieces of character dialogue as I traversed new locations. I don’t think the voice acting helped either, they all seem to roll into one another and generally sound emotionless, occasionally sounding as bored and uninterested with the story as I was. The game is your typical go to location, press a button, hack a terminal, shoot some bad guys and then repeat type title. Nothing fancy and nothing entertaining. I also found that there were some missions with a lot of backtracking involved, not something I enjoy personally, especially when there aren’t any enemies to fight or any interesting items in the environment to look at. The game has four levels in total, each breaking up into parts 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 sections etc. Each new section to a level gives you a new objective.
The one game mechanic that made the game that little bit more fun for me was the ability to play with friends, shooting Scourge to pieces with my buddies took away some of the boredom related to some heavy rinse and repeat gameplay.
On the easiest difficulties you’re not going to struggle, unless you wander off on your own that is. Generally enemies are easy to take down, even the heavily armored ones (bosses included) but sometimes it can feel as though you’re shooting a sponge. There isn’t a wide variety of enemies and it takes some time before you come across any Scourge, for a game named after those creepy crawlers I found that disappointing. On harder difficulties sticking together as a team is a must, getting separated will result in you needing to be revived, but there’s only so much time before you eventually die if your comrade can’t get to you. On the plus side the AI seems to be helpful, for the most part they seem to do a good job at keeping enemies at bay, aiming in the right direction and seem competent at reviving fallen teammates. Sometimes they will get stuck on something in the environment, but backtracking to them and walking around the area will usually set them free. They tend to talk too much for my liking though, shouting “Enemy spotted!” and “That’s another guy down!” can only be tolerated so much.
Altogether there are four characters you can take control of and rank up, you can set preferences in the settings to which you prefer and this will be allocated during the single player modes and during co-op modes if the character you want is available. Ranking up is straight forward and easy in this game, defeating enemies and completing the weapon based tasks awards with you XP and over time this will level you up.
Combat is easy to understand with the controls similar to other shooters on the PC. Aiming can be a little too sensitive at the default setting, turning that down a notch from default or your usual mouse sensitivity preferences would be a good idea, unless you’re a ninja of course. There’s plenty of ammo to spare and new weapons to pick up, but you’ll come to find that there isn’t a large variety of weapons in the game altogether. I found myself sticking to a select few weapons, ones that ammo were easy to come across and ones that were powerful enough to take enemies out with fewer bullets. You can select either pistol and a main weapon combination or select two main weapons, so mix and matching isn’t an issue. Also included in your loadout is two grenades, these are powerful and if thrown into the right location they can do a lot of damage.
Each character also has special abilities ranging from being able to generate shields to generating a large circular blast around them which blows enemies away. You can’t use these constantly as you play, but when in a pinch these can come in handy to stay alive that little longer.