Scourge Outbreak Review XBLA — (XBox 360)
Scourge Outbreak review is here! The title has finally found its way onto XBLA. Can this XBox 360 HD remake cut it in today's TPS world?
The henchmen in the Nogari force are meanies. Through gene spliced cloned soldiers, and the abuse of their unending resources, Nogari has become a universal threat. Stand up to the forces of evil and play as one of four members of Echo unit: each with their own respective powers. Choose between Major Victor “Stonewall” Dantrix, Tasya “Amp” Semivolkova, James “Mass” Lang, and Ramiro “Shade” Cortez. Solo or co-op, track down the Alpha team: Phase, Blur, and Lilith (three ultimately cooler evil agents). While Alpha team’s powers range from intense psychokinetic rage and teleportation, the player is limited to the power of a super suit.
The Ambrosia suit protects the player from damage. While it sounds funny because the first thing that comes to mind is mushy food, it has a deeper meaning for gamers willing to take a moment to reflect. In Greek mythology, ambrosia was supposedly what made the gods immortal. The Ambrosia suit in Scourge Outbreak attempts to do the same for the player by allowing temporary cover via energy shield and offensive firepower via Shockwave blast. Unfortunately, it’s a challenge to properly target the main power (shockwave), and it takes a while to really learn how to properly utilize the defensive shield power. The Ambrosia suit powers act differently for each player, giving a more unique experience depending on the playable character.
There are basic enemy types that are broken up by mini-boss ship fights, alien creatures, and Alpha Team boss fights. Levels are very basic point A to B in most cases, but are varied and detailed. Compared to the older installments, Scourge Outbreak is definitely cleaner, crisper, and refined. HD suits the game well aside from a few glitches that come with HD upgrades. For example, sometimes the skins of the character disappear into the environment (walls, floors, debris, etc.).
As for weaponry, there are a number of close range shotgun and machine gun variants. Shotguns are useless at anything beyond medium range, which is awesome because so many shooters in recent years can just be mowed with a weapon that’s intended for close range combat. The issue lies in the reliability of long range weapons (or lack thereof). The recoil on the machine guns makes it difficult to nail headshots, and body shots are next to useless. Later in the game, access to more handguns is granted, and even a few high powered energy rifles that are a blast to use.
Scourge Outbreak does have an upgrade experience system, which is broken down into four primary areas: Abilities, Co-op, Assault, and Weapons. Get upgrades to the Shield, Shockwave, and Ambrosia suit. Assault upgrades boost sprint duration, strength of melee attacks, and close range weaponry. There are a limited number of upgrades to weaponry with an anticlimactic final upgrade (extended clip).
Meanwhile, Co-op upgrades are the most innovative because each perk makes you more useful to the team: rewards given for being a supportive and clutch team player (reviving teammates, killing enemies targeting teammates, etc.). The level XP progression is completely linear with no customization opportunities. Scourge Outbreak is missing that exciting level up moment, and it dulls the whole process a bit. However, it still drives replay value since many of the upgrades have to be unlocked in multiple playthroughs or modes (co-op).
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Meanwhile, the game actually becomes better as a result of the upgrades. For example, the upgrades help where the game struggles most: targeting, weak Ambrosia abilities, and sluggish close quarters combat. It’s the strangest thing, but Scourge Outbreak really does get better if the player is willing to put in the time to upgrade their character.
The player can earn badges for bragging rights — and for a 60 point achievement — by playing through the game in different modes, earning killstreaks, racking kills with certain weapons, and playing co-op and multiplayer. The rest of the Achievements are basically driven by level progression. Grizzled Veteran is the most difficult by far because it would basically take four fully-upgraded players on Co-op to survive.
Presentation – A respectable HD version of a 3+ year old TPS title
Optimization – Suffers from some HD updates (occasional re-skin glitches, patches of camera issues, etc.)
Ingenuity – Basic 3rd person shooter that shines most during co-op experience
Sound – Nothing that will resonate after turning off the console
Entertainment – Players who decide to keep the controller in their hand will find increased replay value through the XP progression system and co-op gameplay.
Scourge Outbreak is a revamped version of an older third person shooter that emphasizes co-op gameplay. It won’t stand the test of time like other AAA blockbuster titles, but it still has enough redeeming qualities to make it a fun multiplayer game. Ultimately, Scourge Outbreak is a solid minor league TPS. It seems that for an XBLA title, it executes where it matters most: give gamers a chance to play cooperatively online.
GamerCheese Final Score: 3.5/5