Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Sunday, April 18th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/scourge_project/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
The Scourge Project is a little-known third-person shooter from a relatively new studio named Tragnarion. Their first title was Doodle Hex on the DS, a touch-based fighting game which received mixed reviews. While critics praised that one for its uniqueness but panned it for its repetitiveness and complexity, Scourge is more or less the inverse: barely unique but fairly simple and not much repetitious.
Starting off, I naturally went straight to the single-player game and was thoroughly underwhelmed.
Firstly, the story is horribly generic and boring -- it's the classic "corporation is doing something bad, oh no aliens" setup, and while that can work just fine, in The Scourge Project it's so lifeless it drags the game down some. I admit I paid almost no attention and suspect most others won't either.
Second is the team AI; this part requires some preamble. The game's primary combat mechanic is more or less ripped from Gears of War -- reviving. You can't die in a traditional sense as you're always able to be revived by a teammate (and you'll be reviving them too). However, if any teammate is left in his collapsed state long enough, it's game over for all.
In co-op mode this works great as everyone is typically doing what they should and you'll have many long, happy sessions together. In single player, however, the AI is ridiculously stupid, and even on Easy you'll have trouble passing just about any given area as they're constantly getting themselves killed. On Normal, it's completely absurd. Enemies seem intelligent enough, however, and will kill you (or at least knock you out) fairly often.
It's nice to know Action Mode is there for you if you want to go it alone -- this is actually easier than playing with your IQ-deficient squad, though the difficulty doesn't appear to scale accordingly so is quite tough. Bringing it down to Easy mode feels reasonable enough, but simply put: this game isn't fun solo. Even with a competent AI squad, we can't really recommend The Scourge Project, however co-op is where you may get your money's worth (the $20 price tag definitely makes the offer more attractive).
The odd part is it's difficult to say what makes co-op fun -- it just is. Well, the design is good enough (it feels probably too much like a Gears of War and Mass Effect cross-breed, which is a good and bad thing), and teaming up together and building strategies on how to survive against hostiles (whether they be human or alien) makes you feel good. RPG-like abilities such as shields and force attacks mix things up a bit, too. But why play this when you could play any number of other (better) co-op shooters? Well, simply put, it's a pretty good fit for folks on a budget and/or with an old system (the requirements are quite low). Granted, it's a nice enough looking game on Ultra settings, too.
There's also straight multiplayer with the standard Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes and such, which is a nice bonus and comparably as fun as co-op, but even on a budget you'd be better saving up for Bad Company 2 or any other solid multiplayer shooter if that's what you're after.
In short, Tragnarion probably should've more or less cut the story on this one, axed single player, and focused Scourge into a co-op only arcade-style shooter. It's already halfway there, and with some polish (there are some rather annoying bugs which can hinder progress), refinement, and community cultivation (it's sadly lacking at the moment, though alive enough to keep you going), the potential is there for it to nab a Recommended award. As it stands, we can only recommend it conditionally.
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