Every year, there are hundreds of games that release, promising “fun, excitement, and unrivaled gameplay.” Scourge: Outbreak was (one of) this summer’s contender(s) and, boy, is it as generic as generic can be. It’s by no means a bad, unplayable game, but it’s not bringing anything new to the genre of cover shooter, nor the industry in general. What’s within is a typical shooter with a few nice boss battles to change up the lackluster corridor/cover shooting. And it’s all covered in a late-PS2/Xbox graphical paint job.
You play as one of four Echo squad members tasked with going to Nogari Island to rescue Dr. Reisbeck and discover the nature of a lost meteorite. Of course, as you could expect, whenever there’s political or government involvement, there’s likely to be an underlying third plot ready to up-heave all of your hard work. Scourge: Outbreak’s plot is razor thin, and as predictable as the sunset. So as not to spoil the “surprise,” we’ll leave off more of the plot details, but rest assured, if you’ve ever seen an action movie that’s reminiscent of Scourge: Outbreak’s plot, you can likely figure out the ending.
The motives, maybe no so quickly. It doesn’t help that the characters have little personality aside from their respective designs. Rolling through the campaign as the stealthy Shade, we were expecting a reason as to why he looks or acts the way he does, but aside from flimsy reasoning, little was unveiled. It’s safe to say the remaining cast of characters – the hard-ass female, the universal soldier, and the Viking descendant – get little to no development either.
Scourge: Outbreak’s 6-7 hour campaign will run you through the gamut of “proceed through these corridors, get into cover, shoot, kill, and destroy,” repeat ad nauseam. Shockingly, a few of the areas and environments are diverse and filled with more color than brown or grey. A few of the snow covered levels looks nice, and the lush jungles near the beginning are a sight to behold. You’ll be seeing brown and grey seventy percent of the game though, so be prepared – brown and grey muddy graphics, that cause it to look like an early PS3/360 title. Jags, late loading textures, and slowdown commonly inhibit Scourge: Outbreak’s campaign. Don’t get us wrong – we’re not whores for graphics, but seeing as how we’re on the verge of a new generation premiering, it would be nice to see something closer to that end of the spectrum.
Other production assets are better done. Voice acting is competent and the music sets a nice mood, although it’s as common as you’d expect. Once the credits roll, however, there’s very little about Scourge: Outbreak that will bring you back to play again. Yes, there’s an online option offering your standard multiplayer fare, but it’s unlikely the fun will ramp up for you in there. We do recommend playing with friends over the co-op campaign too. Not that the AI is bad; in fact, it’s quite good. It’s just they weren’t 100% dependable, as we would be bleeding out and have to wait to be resurrected almost near death, despite our AI companion(s) standing next to us. Occasionally they could be forgiven, like when there’s a heavy firefight happening, but nine times out of ten, that wasn’t the case.
There are better games out there these days, and even at Scourge: Outbreak’s $10 asking price, there are many wiser options for you to spend it on. The only way we could see this being a worthwhile venture is if you and your friends are really bored on a weekend and you need to simply to entertain yourself…and Redbox is completely out of new games. Skip this game and focus on future titles; you won’t regret it. Everything that’s here has been done before, done better, and done too much already. Just forgo this mission and look elsewhere for a mediocre time.