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Scourge: Outbreak – The Verdict

Scourge: Outbreak – The Verdict

The first I heard of Scourge: Outbreak was upon reading an email sent to me by a friend containing the official trailer for the game. It showed characters leaping around with acrobatic skills and using a number of powers to take down enemies in style. This in turn lead me onto the official website which showed promise of unique co-op action and gave some decent back story to support the pending release. Unfortunately the end product does not deliver on the ambitions of developers Tragnarion Studios.

Instead what we have ended up with is a game that delivers generic gameplay elements borrowed from heavyweight games such as Mass Effect and Gears of War, tagged onto a barely existing and unfinished story with poor voice acting, script writing and a general lack of polish. This is apparent from the first few minutes of gameplay as you are guided through a tutorial attempting to explain the games controls. It all starts getting a little overwhelming around the time you are talked through squad commands like revive, attack and move position, all of which are controlled via exactly the same button.

Static shield is handy when reviving a team mate.
Static shield is handy when reviving a team mate.

The problems escalate from here onwards with the first noticeable gripe being the strength of the enemies and the almost useless AI. Even on normal difficulty the enemies seem to take tens of bullets to the face in order to kill, which is problematic when faced with groups pushing on your position. This is not helped by the fact that your allies AI seems a bit dim often standing out in plain veiw, shooting into space, hiding in cover when no enemies are around, failing to follow you to your position or running into walls. In fact the only thing they seem proficient at is reviving, even shielding themselves in order to do so. I wont lie in saying that this has actually pulled me through a couple of the trickier sections of the game where multiple revives have been needed in order to advance.

This leads me onto use of my own special abilities and weapons. These two special abilities, powered by your Ambrosia suit consist of shield and attack and differ slightly depending on which character you chose at the start of the game. The character I played as, Shade, had a Static Shield and Shockwave as his abilities and rarely did I find myself using these. Shield was useful when reviving, but as the AI seemed to be faster at me than this I found it was better just to hunker down behind cover and use my guns rather than risk getting close to the bullet sponge enemies and risk a Shockwave attack. The guns themselves well, I never used to understand what people meant when they said that guns in a game felt weak, now I do. It feels as if I’m firing inaccurate pea shooters, especially mounted guns which you would expect to sound and feel very powerful. Pickups come in standard forms, shotgun, assault rifle, pistol etc. Each of these have their own modifications to accuracy and damage which can be alternated throughout the levels.

I cringed every time Mass spoke with his Scottish accent.
I cringed every time Mass spoke in that Scottish accent.

In all honesty I could go on at length about the flaws in this game. The poor script and voice acting, unfinished story, the fact that multiplayer matchmaking is broken, overpowered enemies, poor visuals and animations, stereotypical characters (Mass I’m looking at you), lack of innovation and use of generic terms to name just a few, but I will save you the time by instead saying that yes this game has its problems and a bucket full of them for that matter, but there is one saving grace, the challenge it provides. If you are the kind of person that loves third person shooters, even the kind that have been reproduced to death, then this might perhaps possibly just be for you… maybe.

Nightmare mode is the pinnacle of challenge and unfortunately frustration and even completing it on normal is daunting enough. Super tough enemies mean retrying areas multiple times whilst juggling between reviving your team and dealing with enemies rushing your position. Over the four levels of Scourge: Outbreak there are also a few boss battles of note that require you to actually use tactics and think about how you play the game instead of blasting your way through room after room and never looking back. Getting to these battles may well see you kick your TV in anger and for a lot of people that very fact will not be worth picking this game up.

Verdict – Off Target

Platforms Available – PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Platform Reviewed – Xbox 360

Review based on a copy provided by Tragnarion Studios

Please check this post for more on our scoring policy.

Xbox Live Summer of Arcade Schedule and Prices

Xbox Live Summer of Arcade Schedule and Prices

Microsoft have revealed details of this years Xbox Live Summer of Arcade via Major Nelson’s blog. The line-up and prices are as follows:

Brother’s: A Tale of Two Sons will release on August 7th and cost 1200 MSP

Charlie Murder will release on August 14th and will cost 800 MSP

Flashback will release on August 21st and will cost 800 MSP

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will released on August 28th and will cost 1200 MSP

As an added bonus anyone who chooses to download any two of the Summer of Arcade games will receive free DLC for up and coming free-to-play game Ascend: Hand of Kul.

What are your thoughts on this years Summer of Arcade line-up?

Heaven Is A Highly Defined Half Pipe

Heaven Is A Highly Defined Half Pipe

Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade is nearly upon us and it looks like it’s going to be a cracker this year. What better way to kick it off than with one of my favourite ways of procrastinating and injuring myself as a child, skateboarding. Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD (or THPSHD for short) is not just a run of the mill HD port of the original game but instead is a combination of the best bits of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 & 2, which were originally released in 2000 on the N64 and Dreamcast among other consoles. THPSHD will be the first title in the series to be available only as a download.

THPSHD was exclusively announced in 2011 during the Spike VGA‘s. A world premier video showing Tony Hawk skating around the Woodland Hills Warehouse level from the original THPS was shown but since then precious few details have been released on what will actually be included in the game. What we do know from various interviews with Tony himself is a few of the playable characters, playable levels and music available in the game and you’ll be glad to hear that along with a host of new characters and songs Robomodo have included plenty of classic names that players of the originals will remember.

Along with Tony himself other playable characters include Tony’s son Riley Hawk, Chris Cole, Nyjah Huston, Lyn-Z, Rodney Mullen, Andrew Reynolds and Adams Hawkins. Tony also mentioned the possibility of unlockable characters of which I’m hoping Officer Dick, Ollie the magic bum and Spider-man all make an appearance.

Every bail will now be shown in glorious HD.

Music tracks will be a mixture of old and new. Sporting such classics as Goldfinger’s ‘Superman’ and Bad Religion’s ‘You’ along with new hits like ‘Teenage Blood’ by Apex Manor and ‘Please ask for help’ by Telekinesis.

Classic levels included are The Mall, Phoenix, The Hangar, School, School II, New York, Venice Beach, Downhill, Marseilles and my favourite level from the original game (probably because it was the first and easiest level) Warehouse. Has your favourite level been included and if not which one would you choose?

Robomodo have also stated that following the games release DLC will be issued with content in the form of stages from Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 including the Airport level. Fresh news from over at Joystiq indicates that the revert ability will also be included in the planned DLC but will only be usable for the THPS3 levels and onwards. Having not played any Tony Hawks game since THPS2 I’m looking forward to this inclusion and the possibility of content from other games in the series.

Due to the limitations of the consoles back when this was first released multiplayer was never given its real shining moment. No mention has been made of anything multiplayer wise this time around but there is great potential for a score attack style or trick attack style game or some kind of target completion game with leaderboards much like in the original single player.

I’m not usually one to go for arcade games on consoles, preferring to buy them much cheaper on PC, but this is one of the few console exclusive arcade games that I find myself desperate to get my hands on. Tony Hawks is a name that’s defined everything to do with skateboarding for over a decade now and with this being the twelfth game in the Tony Hawks series I don’t see any reason for that to let up.

Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD will be released on July 18th to XBLA costing 1200 MS Points.

The Future Of Next-Gen Consoles

The Future Of Next-Gen Consoles

With E3 around the corner next-gen gaming is the talk of the console town right now. Rumours and opinions are being spread all over the columns and the forums, suggesting anything from what the next Sony and Microsoft consoles will be called, to specs of said consoles, to games that will feature on said consoles and features that they may include. None of these rumours have yet been confirmed but what I’m sure about is the image in my mind of what next-gen gaming means to me. There are things that I would love to see changed and things that have been mentioned on the rumour wheel that I’m praying do not make an appearance. In the paragraphs ahead are five of the ideas I have pictured next-gen gaming to be composed of (or in some cases, hopefully not). I would love to hear your feedback on these ideas, maybe you could even share some of your own. These ideas are aimed to include the whole industry of consoles but as my experience with this generation is from PC and Xbox 360 it might swing heavily in that direction.

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Trine 2 – The Verdict

Trine 2 – The Verdict

The first Trine managed an impressive feat. Bringing back the magic of three way co-op from ye olde Blizzard title The Lost Vikings, and heaping on a heavy dose of fairy tale whimsy and magic, it was clever, charming and incredibly distinctive but lacked in one area: if you wanted to play it co-operatively, your friends had to be in the same room. With the sequel, Frozenbyte clearly had their first task all but (pardon the pun) spelled out for them.

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Bejeweled 3 – The Verdict

Bejeweled 3 – The Verdict

By now, you’re more than likely acutely aware of Popcap’s Bejeweled series – the gem matching game is arguably the yardstick as to which all modern puzzle games are compared to and aspire to match the success of. There’s countless versions of the game with the most recent – Bejeweled 3 – getting a release on Xbox a couple of months ago.

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Orcs Must Die! – The Verdict

Orcs Must Die! – The Verdict

Poor Orcs. They get abused so much in many games, and none moreso than in Orcs Must Die!. They get squished, set on fire, chopped, smashed, frozen, thrown into goo and generally abused to the nth degree. But when it’s this much fun, even the NSPCO (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Orcs) will probably have a great time with this Steam and XBLA title.

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From Dust – The Verdict

From Dust – The Verdict

A game that wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, From Dust is the brainchild of Another World creator Eric Chahi. Playing as an unseen force known as The Breath you’re tasked with ensuring that the primitive tribesmen of the world manage to survive and thrive against the challenges of an unforgiving world. But behind an initially impressive concept and outward appearance, some cracks appear behind these relatively solid foundations.

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