It’s not very often we come across an atmospheric survival game that also stays true to its nature. Scorn is one of the most anticipated games of this year developed by the Serbian developers at Ebb Software. Scorn is neither an FPS nor a completely narrative-driven game as it doesn’t feature dialogues, but to know what it is and if it’s for you stick to this Scorn review and you may just find this gem to be your jam.
An artist’s dreamland
As we start this Scorn review I feel the urge to make it apparent that while it is breathtakingly visually impressive and screams artistic atmosphere at the top of its fleshy and bare lungs, it isn’t for everyone. You’ve probably read this an exhausting amount of times in every Scorn review but Scorn is obviously inspired by H.R Giger and Zdzislaw Besinski, and even if you don’t know these phenomenal artists you can feel their presence through every inch of this nightmarish world.
There is so much soul and attention to detail baked into every level and every part of this game’s design that despite being very monotonous in color this game oozes personality in every way shape and form.
A ‘game’ without much ‘game’ play
This is where Scorn becomes a very niche game and takes a hit which although very much precedented and is a part of the original vision of Ebb Software turns many players off. As a call of necessity, you must be warned through this Scorn review that the base gameplay is surrounded by walking and solving some alright and some downright confusing puzzles with absolutely no hints. And the clunky combat with very non-combat-friendly weapons and some artistically well-designed but dull-to-fight enemies doesn’t help Scorn either.
“Scorn grabs you with its atmosphere and makes you feel the sting of its dreadful combat”
If the most amount of “fun” of a game comes from coming to grips with and learning about its world and atmosphere that tells you a lot about its gameplay or lack thereof. I commend the developers at Ebb Software for being faithful to their concept of the world but that makes this game more experience than a game.
The frustration of the nightmare world
Scorn has quite a few number of puzzles that might frustrate you, and that’s a problem. There are a lot of ways to approach a puzzle in a game how accessible is it how much can you hold the player’s hand with tutorials and how many clues are there. In Scorn, however, these things are thrown out of the window as there’s no tutorial no clues, and no hand holdings.
The game world is grim and this way the game does reflex that but it makes the game more inaccessible without looking up a guide. While it won’t be much of a problem for players like me and probably you because of experience but newbies might get scared away by this.
The checkpoint system is the most dangerous foe
This factor has such a big impact on the game that it demands a section of its own. The horrendously sporadic checkpoint system breaks my determination to love the game as we’re at a point where 10 min of redoing stuff annoys us and this game drives this convention off a cliff although not in a good way. This game can eat up from 10 mins to almost 2 hours of progress if you die or turn the game off at a wrong enough time and that’s enough for some people to put the controller down
Narrative and performance
This game doesn’t have a dialogue but that doesn’t mean Scorn is without a story. Scorn relies heavily on environmental storytelling even more so than any other recent game and while it does have a pretty interesting story to tell, I feel some of it might be too subtle for most of the players. This game also has interesting stuff and visual cues throughout the game as it’s really short only making for a campaign that is 5 hours long approximately.
This game ran pretty well on the Xbox Series S mostly at a steady fps with a few bugs which honestly didn’t bug me much.
It’s very confusing to draw a conclusion here as the artistic side of my mind wants to call it no less than a masterpiece but the game side of Scorn stops the urge strictly.
The slow-burn nature, lack of hints and horrendous checkpoint system might drive you off but if you can put up with these Scorn offers an experience like no other, and as it’s only 5 hours long so it won’t wear you out. Scorn is definitely a recommendation but with consideration.
Hope this review helps you to decide if Scorn is the right game for you, Let us know in the comment section!