desiccated faces with columns protruding from their heads gaze forward toward the camera through an orange haze

contempt for comments

contempt for comments


need to know

what is it? Atmospheric first-person horror shooter thing Inspired by the art of HR Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński.
expect to pay $40/£32
release date October 14, 2022
developer ebb software
Publisher Kepler Interactive
audit date Core i5 12600K, RTX 3070, 32 GB RAM
multiplayer game? Do not
association Official website(opens in a new tab)

In 2021, a wayward pilgrim named “bogleech” expresses himself in the wreckage of Tumblr(Opens in a new tab), who insightfully compares cosmic horror to the concept of ants exploring circuit boards. From the ant’s point of view, this is some kind of terrifying alien city, and if the ant can grasp the terrifying purpose and background of the human-machine in a moment, how can it possibly return to the state of the ant?

I keep thinking about that post when I play Scorn, especially my favorite late game moment (some spoilers ahead, I’ll try not to be too specific), when you’re transitioning from the industrial heartland of a forgotten civilization to It’s alien time and terrifying, but still sadly regal capital in a way.

The whole game by now, you’ve seen this old man’s monstrous brown machine stirring and grinding doing something, Familiar humanoids are sometimes torn apart while they are still alive for some unknowable purpose. Now you’ll see a decaying cathedral adorned with giant statues of these creatures, some in heroic poses, some holding red glowing wombs, many of them mating. How does this civilization digest the conflict between how it represents itself and how it treats its people?

This grey cathedral bathed in lilac light is the part of the game that most reminds me of the work of Zdzisław Beksiński (Opens in a new tab), the Polish artist who “wants to resemble [he] Shooting Dreams’ and is cited as one of Scorn’s main inspirations, along with Alien creator HR Giger. The eye-catching visual feast of the alien capital, accompanied by the sad audio, almost moved me to tears. It was so Strange and wonderful, as if to suggest some larger mystery at the center of the defiance.

An hour into the next level, there was a problem with Scorn and I had to start the chapter all over again. You can’t save manually, and the game’s richer regular checkpoints can only be accessed through player death — from the main menu, you can only load up to the beginning of a chapter, or the occasional halfway mark.I’m running out of chapters I’ve already played, yada yada ancients, yada yada unknowable purpose, beat me the rest of the game by a little bit back That, and rolling credits. The technical glitches and frustrating runs at this juncture really killed my buzz.

I think Scorn is a really great piece of science fiction, but it annoys me at times.

Eureka moment

(Image credit: Ebb Software)

Scorn’s core game loop reminds me of the Portal or Shrine from Breath of the Wild. You enter a new area and must slowly traverse, soak up the eerie atmosphere, and figure out the functions of the various monstrous creature contraptions left behind by this lost civilization. Scorn’s protagonist appears to be a member of that civilization, maybe the last one left after everyone else has gone body-horror ecstasy.

You follow the line of inquiry, push to a dead end, grab a key or a puzzle, and try to figure out how everything is connected until it finally clicks. For example, in Scorn’s first main scene, you play a game of stacking cranes to extract an amazing cargo, then rearrange a small railroad that lets you transport the cargo to its final destination on a trolley. I found the crane bit to be a laborious but delightful puzzle, and then it was fascinating (and a little scary) after seeing the machine go past it in an inert state.

…I hurriedly avoided the attack, got close to these strange flesh monsters and shot them with my penis gun.

In some places, my irritation and confusion have dire consequences for the few non-hostile creatures you encounter in the world of Scorn, and these scenes make me feel worse than any caustic dialogue choices I accidentally choose in an RPG . think about it”Deny Kim’s Aces High (opens in new tab) in Disco Elysium” to see how bad it made me feel. If it wasn’t clear, I think Scorn could deliver such an emotional punch without any dialogue.

(Image credit: Ebb Software)

Scorn’s combat is reminiscent of classic survival horror. You move slowly, enemies hit hard, and it’s overwhelming to have more than two facing you at the same time. To fight your foes, which consist primarily of a mindless, fungus-like animal that haunts the ruins, you’ll need to use an arsenal of living weapons.

Bread and Butter is a penis melee plunger that has to cool every two shots, but then you get a pistol, a shotgun, and finally a grenade launcher. If enjoyment is the right word, I love Scorn’s fight. It’s as tense as Resident Evil, and I always feel like I’m just barely going through the skin of my teeth as I rush to avoid attacks, getting close to these weird flesh monsters and hitting them with my penis gun.

Unfortunately, the punitive fights definitely exacerbate the woes of those checkpoints I mentioned. I also lost about an hour and a half of gameplay halfway through, before the last level glitches jarred my deep cosmic horror vibe.After a long Scorn sesh ends with a real one asshole In one puzzle, I reach a new realm and die instantly at the introduction of Scorn’s worst normal foe – think lickers or hunters in Resident Evil. It reloaded for about a minute before I fought these guys, so I gave up on doing something else, thinking I could load in there the next time I sat down and played.

The next time I sit down and play, I can’t load it right away. I had to redo the whole move from the beginning, the jerk puzzle, etc. Proportionally, about half of Scorn’s advertised 5 hours of gameplay is lost to its checkpoint system. Different game habits or simple luck can help people avoid this pain point entirely, but I think a reasonable developer solution is to access a scrolling checkpoint save slot from the menu.

(Image credit: Ebb Software)

Still, checkpoint shenanigans, five-hour run time, etc., I think Scorn is worth $40. It’s compelling, unique, and represents what I desperately want to see more from 3A and 3A-adjacent developers: that good ideas can go their way, rather than being pulled to satisfy ever-expanding playtime demands long. Scorn certainly works as a lo-fi, haunted PS1-style project, but its commitment to the grotesque really benefits from high-end modern rendering. Regardless, the cost of Scorn can be circumvented by accessing it via Xbox PC Game Pass.

Scorn’s condensed focus is an interesting contrast to another first-person horror experience with striking visual design released in 2022: Ghostwire Tokyo(Opens in a new tab). Ghostwire came up with about 5 hours of fresh ideas over the course of 10 to 20 hours of open world collection and base cleanup, and after the initial excitement, I struggled through its main task and uninstalled right away.i would say i value I spend less time with Scorn than I give Ghostwire Tokyo.

Contempt, in a word, rock. It uses its high-end art and rendering assets meaningfully. Unlike the 200 GB battle royale map or the most realistic Ronald Reagan jaw simulation the world has ever seen, Scorn presents something more deliberately and artistically disturbing: a truly strange world , a world that sometimes surprises, disgusts, and truly moves me. I hope its checkpoint pain can be alleviated with patches, it’s the kind of game I just want to see more of.

Hey guys, of course I hope you don’t have anything nasty going on! (Image credit: Ebb Software)

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.