Let’s find out together, in this detailed review, what are in our opinion the strengths and weaknesses of Scorn, the long-awaited survival horror by Ebb Software released exclusively on Xbox console time and available on Game Pass
What better time for be a lover of the Survival Horror genre if not this? The Callisto Protocol will arrive soon, immediately the following month we will have the remake of Dead Space, in March we will get our hands on Resident Evil 4 Remake and as icing on the cake 2023 will bring us Alan Wake II and, with a little luck, the remake of Silent Hill 2 (with an adjoining rebirth of the brand itself that had been left for too long to gather dust, forgotten at the bottom of a closet)
And what can we do to brighten this long wait? Play Scorn it really seems a very tempting idea, but will it succeed especially after the turbulent development it has had? You will find out soon, welcome to our Scorn review, happy reading!
Scorn was born as the first work of the boys of Ebb Software, Serbian studio founded in 2013 that at the time his only idea for this game was to create a setting that should have been a character in itself, with a protagonist thrown in without any warning, and of course we gamers with him. After a bankruptcy Kickstarter created in 2014the following year Ebb Software received funds from a private investor, bringing Scorn development back to full swing, designing the game as a 2-part release.
At this point in 2017 Ebb Software launched a second Kickstarter, this time with success and thanks also to the support of Microsoft Scorn in 2020 obtained a launch window in addition to the announcement of the platforms of its publication: PC and console time exclusivity for Xbox Series X / S.
In all of this, the initial date (for the game release) was October 21, 2022, which was brought forward by a week, so Scorn finally managed to officially come out 8 years after its initial announcement on October 14, 2022.
A story told with silence… | Scorn Review
The adventure starts immediately as soon as you click on New Game, without even loading. Our character wakes up and begins to drag himself further and further away a little at a time, and right away we can guess what Scorn’s narrative style will be: silence. Nothing will be said to us, nothing will be written or read, simply we should learn all we can by observing the claustrophobic world around us. A dirty, macabre world made of meat and biotechnology, meticulously constructed in all its parts. We can even guess how some of the machines that we will meet will work even before seriously using them to give you an idea of the details that the guys at Ebb Software have put into their work.
As you may have guessed from the images you have seen of the game, the design of the settings is largely inspired by the horror world of HR Giger (in fact we do not hide from you that often while we were playing a nostalgic tear peeped out, recalling the corridors of the Dark World of Dark Seed II) and to complete the picture the soundtrack will practically advance together with our character, but do not expect songs, so to speak, “classics”. Indeed, the soundtrack will be almost “absent” playing some low notes from time to time that as we advance they will always be a little longer, and then return to Scorn’s main focus: silence.
Or rather, to the sound of our steps, of the machinery we will operate, of the weapons we will use, of our enemies, and especially to the echo of these sounds that will echo in the corridors and in the rooms we will face, creating a unique atmosphere (between visual and auditory level), which nowadays is very rare to find in the gaming world. And just as said by the developers themselves, Scorn is a very contemplative and personal audio-visual experience, where within huge rotten and decadent structures we players will have to use our intuition to overcome the obstacles that will appear in front of us, perfectly integrated obstacles. in the setting itself… all without the slightest help, of course.
This is further accentuated also thanks to the complete absence of a HUD (except when you heal yourself, shoot an enemy or get hit) and the mode of interaction with the doors and machinery that you will find: approaching you, the interactable object will be surrounded by a slight white outline and a dot will appear on it, if it will be white it will be interactable, if it is empty it means that at that moment you will not be able to do it yet and therefore you will have to continue in your exploration.
… But with a lot of bass | Scorn Review
We will immediately understand what will be the greatest difficulty of this adventure: the map. Or rather, the map that we will have to keep in mind as we advance, because although Scorn at the end has macro areas with corridors that will somehow guide the player towards the solution, the feeling of getting lost in a maze is real. We do not hide from you that during the third act of our game we ourselves advanced a bit “at random”, aware of the fact that we were lost, yet we managed to complete the level without too many hitches. Of course, we must say that we were lucky enough to still understand the solution to the environmental puzzle that would have allowed us to advance and therefore despite our random wandering and operating any machinery we came across, we understood that we were somehow going on the right path. .
And this is how you will advance in the 3 macro areas of the game, solving (few, far too few) environmental puzzles that will allow you to advance to the next area and puzzles that will give you objects that will allow you to solve the aforementioned environmental puzzles, operating machinery that will open doors or corridors allowing us to advance and overcome different enemies. We will talk about the latter in due course: they deserve a separate discussion.
And here the known pains begin, as already mentioned the environmental puzzles are very few, we would have preferred to see something more. The puzzles are not much more than the puzzles, because everything else will be advancing through the corridors already in the hope of having taken the right path. What happens if you go to the wrong corridor? Nothing, you will waste time until you reach a dead end and maybe you will mess up even more the already chaotic image that you have made in the head of the map of the level … all obviously in the hope that there are no enemies chasing you.
… run, run, run!!! | Review Scorn
Yes: there are four types of enemies in this game, each of which will be really dangerous due to their tracking which will practically make it almost impossible for you to avoid their attacks and, especially, also because of their hitboxes which sometimes turn out… Let’s say a little unfair.
To make you understand, normally the “small” enemy needs two hits to be killed, and once this information is focused, the player usually leans towards this solution. Here, many times it happened that even if his body was inside the viewfinder at the time of the shot, magically the blow did not land, ending up inexorably collecting one in our turn, in the mad rush towards the monster that should have been dead, fleeing from another who instead was trying to take us from behind.
In short, you will have understood that the fps phase could be nerve-wracking on occasion. The good thing is that there is no shortage of checkpoints … which is different if you have to reload the game yourself because maybe you get stuck somewhere with little life and you are without care and ammunition, the saves from which you can manually load the game are more sporadic, and in the worst of situations you could be forced to lose even half an hour of play.
In all this in different points of the story you will lose by force of life, obviously it is something connected to the story so we will not spoil you of any kind, but know that it is an eventuality that could happen: try to stay with as much life as possible. n compensation due to the simple and limited AI of the enemies there will be a couple of occasions when it will be possible to trick them by managing to kill them through a partition that will guarantee our salvation. Don’t feel guilty and go all the way!
In conclusione, this will explain everything! | Review Scorn
Given its silent narration, it will not be strange if once you get to the end of your protagonist’s adventure you will have questions in your head regarding the story itself and certain events you have witnessed during the journey, and here you are met with two things: the first is the longevity of the game, we have completed Scorn 100% (even if it seems to who knows what with a single run you will only miss a trophy, because you will have to make a choice immediately at the beginning) in less than 7 hourstime that fits perfectly in the lapse that the development team had said, or from 6 to 8 hours, and this obviously during the first run.
Wanting to start the second, maybe not only to take the last goal, but also to review all the settings with more attention and, especially, aware of what will happen, the story will be a little more intuitive. And if all this is not enough, the artbook contained in the deluxe edition of Steam contains much more information on both the Scorn universe, that of its protagonists. Of course, it’s a bit of a bitter mouthful because having to spend an extra € 10 to get a clearer view of the history of the game doesn’t seem like a good move.
As for the technical side, we played Scorn on an Xbox Series X with the day one patch already applied, the game has always maintained 60 fps without problems and we have never run into technical problems of any kind.
meat, so much meat
On the other hand, although we announce that the final rating of the review will be quite low, we do not feel like completely rejecting Scorn, also because despite everything we have reached the bottom and … we wanted more. I mean, possibly improved means, we really wanted to keep wandering around that world so macabre, dirty, full of rotten flesh, blood, other things we can’t write… but damn fascinating at the same time.
If you love Giger’s themes try to give Scorn a chance, but even if you are new to his universe, you can find the game on the Game Pass. So even if you later discover that the game is not for you, you will not have lost anything on a pecuniary level… and if you fall in love with the art direction of this game it will simply be all for the better. In the hope that you can turn a blind eye to everything else, mind you.
Scorn is currently available on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S e is part of the Xbox Game catalog …