Preview Teaser: A descent into Hell that doesn’t give us a gift, but it will please Alien fans
After years of development, Scorn is finally making its way to PC and Xbox Series. If you’re obsessed with “organic” horror and the design of the first Alien movie gave you chills, this is a title you’ll love. We played it for an hour, here are our impressions.
Mockery is almost a title back from the dead and the delivery is obviously very high. Developed by Ebb Software, where it was the first game, Scorn went through the Kickstarter box in 2017, before going under the Microsoft fold. Exclusive to Xbox and PC (and therefore to Gamepass when it is released), the tease is due on October 21. During Gamescom in Cologne, we were able to play a demo for about 1 hour, specially created for the show . It combines the important phases of the game and provides an excellent overview of the the artistic direction of the title, unique in its kind in a video gamebut should speak to you if you like the first Alien film from 1976 and more generally the universe of the artist HR Giger.
When everything seems dead and alive at the same time
Because it is at this point that Scorn stands out from the mass of “atmospheric” first-person horror games that come out every month: the game has a unique look and is both technically ultra-solid and endowed with a a very special atmosphere. Here, the organic mixes with the mechanical, the walls are made of bone and flesh, the spinal columns rise to the sky, with this impression that everything is alive and dead at the same time. It is in this deadly and fascinating atmosphere that we wake up, an avatar with no hands, and that we begin to explore the area.
In its own style, Scorn is very charming and frankly charming. We never got tired of walking the corridors of this demo, always speechless at the quality of the artistic direction. But, again, this aesthetic bias is particular and may leave more than one on the floor. But for those who hang around, it’s a real treat.
This is Myst in the land of pain
We now have to dispel doubts about what Scorn really is in terms of gameplay. From a distance, we can believe that this is above all a linear exploration game – almost a walking sim – that relies on nature’s narrative. There is a bit of that, but you will quickly realize that the title of Ebb Sofware above all a game of meditation and puzzles. This demo specially put together for the occasion is meant to show us a certain variety of game mechanics offered in the final version.
So it’s a mixture of observation, round trips and environmental puzzles offered to us for an hour, with a certain taste for “letting the player do it”, in the sense that the title is very stingy with signs. On the screen, there is no HUD, no superimposed point of interest, no magic path that stabilizes progress. All game mechanics in Scorn are called “intradiegetic”. Here, the decoration is the king, you have to get your hands dirty – or rather the flesh – and observe carefully what is happening around you, with no other tool than your eyes and brain.
There are more “niches” than we think
It is impossible, in almost 1 hour of demo, to judge the quality of the puzzles offered in the game by Ebb Software, but in general it is for us well integrated into the universe and consistent with the horror aspect of the title. For example, we have to “free” a poor creature from a strange cocoon, before sending it to be crushed (in a very successful noise of the guts) to regain its hand for use it is like a “key” to unlock a certain. door. Describe it like this, you can imagine yourself in a Monkey Island gone wrong, and that’s how it comes out. The puzzles can be difficult and the lack of help can discourage the less persistent.
On the other hand, we are not so convinced of the way in which we should release the creature, because it is necessary to solve a puzzle in the style of “teaser”, where we painfully move several cocoons hanging on the wall to reach the good copy. A moment that is a bit clumsy and more that seems artificial. In short, if the studio’s initial inspiration was to find Giger’s side for the artistic, Myst can be seen as an important influence in terms of gameplay. And that, obviously we didn’t expect.
Mockery is undoubtedly a unique visual experience in video games, thanks to an atmosphere that is as terrifying as it is amazing. Ebb Software’s game should release us into a universe that we need to know and where we need to accept that we don’t have all the keys. But where we did not expect, it was in his desire to offer us relatively difficult puzzles, with the additional absence of a guide or index. Fans of brain challenges will probably be happy with this orientation, but it also risks closing the door to those who expect above all an exploration and linear journey. This little time spent with her partner, however, makes us want to see more. Remember that Scorn will be released on October 21, 2022 on Xbox and PC. The game will automatically be included in Gamepass.