Scars Above Revision – IGN

When I took my first steps on the mysterious planet of Scars Above, I felt my excitement and fear rise. Almost immediately, an encounter with his grotesque alien creatures turned out to be much more complicated than he expected. I even died a couple of times before making any significant progress, giving me the impression that I was at the beginning of a harrowing and harrowing journey that would ask my best to survive on its default difficulty level. But my fear of the unknown turned out to be unwarranted in this case, and the initial excitement wore off after an hour or so as I unlocked the first weapons of a vast arsenal. After that, most of my battles became trivial and stayed that way until the end, even when I turned the difficulty up to hard.

The first section of Scars Above is quiet. You are introduced to your protagonist, Dr. Kate Ward, and the rest of the space science team as they investigate a strange object in Earth orbit. A few silly talk, puzzles, and expositions later, you (barely) meet your team and create your first gadget, a tool that will become the standard assault rifle you find in most shooters, but with shock ammunition. . Then, you’ll hear an unnecessarily serious speech from your captain that’s supposed to be inspiring but ends up being corny due to your delivery and timing. The next thing you know, you wake up on an unknown planet with no idea what happened or where everyone went.

Immediately after picking up an electric cutter, a basic melee weapon with the most boring attack pattern I’ve ever seen, I faced the first enemy. This one was pretty easy, a kind of spider that usually brings a few friends but doesn’t really mean any trouble, unless there are too many friends. However, when I took the assault rifle I had built and returned to the main road, it was the turn of the second type of creature: a mutated scorpion that usually hides underwater. It surprised me by coming out of nowhere and then hit me with a poison projectile. After dealing with the beast and its companion, I realized that my life was still falling apart thanks to the new state. There was no way to cure this, and a few seconds later, he was respawning at the checkpoint. The same scene was repeated a few times until I managed to stop catching the beast’s vomit with my face and reached the next checkpoint.

Before long you will end up being so powerful that you will meet little or no resistance.

What I honestly found unfair at first became the most important lesson I learned over the nine hours and six chapters of Scars Above: stay away from enemies and anything they throw at you. Your electric mower is a joke – even with the charged attack you can unlock, it will always leave you exposed when you could blow the aliens’ heads off with a good headshot. Of course, this will be challenging at times in a linear third-person shooter where you’ll be faced with faster monsters and smaller spaces with nowhere to run as you progress through the levels, but after the first few hours you probably won’t need anything. combat tips at all. You quickly craft new weapons and gadgets and level up, and before long you’ll end up so powerful you’ll meet little to no resistance.

At their core, the weapons in Scars Above are the typical weapons you’d expect from any type of shooter, but with an elemental twist: there’s the aforementioned electric bullet assault rifle, a weapon that can be loaded to shoot fire ammunition, a grenade launcher that freezes enemies and a shotgun that disintegrates them with acid. As you can imagine, you can chain attacks with these weapons and produce elemental reactions that will deal extra damage to anything that comes your way, and you can also use the environment to your advantage. Fire and acid bullets create a strong explosion, while shooting an enemy standing in water with your grenade launcher will freeze them faster. Some enemies will have a weak spot on their body that will represent the element you want to shoot them with, and there are color-coded orbs around the levels that are effectively explosive barrels that also deal elemental damage.

The elemental damage system worked too well.

This is a clever way of making you switch weapons at all times, thinking about what is the best and most effective plan against what is in front of you. It kept me interested for a while… until I realized the system was working too well. Most of the creatures in front of me could be crushed in a matter of seconds by exploding any possible elemental combination, no matter their strength or the situation. Rather than being part of a larger plan, firing an electrical orb at the right time completely wiped out all threats.

If this wasn’t a bonus enough, Kate has the ability to create a variety of gadgets such as a barrier that protects her from some hits, a gravity grenade that causes everything in your area except you to slow down for too many seconds. , or a hologram that feeds the creatures, among others. These all use the same resource (batteries), which are either made from a resource that is pretty much everywhere, or replenished by refilling your inventory at any checkpoint. This is very convenient because it means that she is unlikely to run out of ammo or crafting resources, especially after increasing her carrying capacity.

You will hardly run out of ammunition or crafting resources.

What’s worse is that the variety of devices that look interesting and well thought out when used individually feel useless when they start to overlap each other. For example, you can basically spam the gravity grenade and effectively get the exact effect and/or perks of all the other gadgets. And you can forget about dying when you find permanent healing items with various charges that can be easily recharged.

Some regular enemies you’ll discover later will make things a bit more interesting, like a beast that can teleport behind you or a monstrous mushroom that blinds you. However, they were a little late to the party, after I had already been bored enough by several hours of effortlessly killing everything around me.

Not even the bosses stand out as challenges, except for perhaps the first one you encounter while you’re still crafting your basic weapons. That’s not to say these battles are completely uninspired: they come with mechanics that will keep you constantly swapping out ammo and moving around large arenas. They’re fun while they last, but they also don’t feature ideas you haven’t already seen in other (and better executed) games. For example, breaking the surface an enemy is standing on isn’t exactly new, and it also doesn’t feel great when you can do it more than once in a row without letting the boss move or fire back if you’re quick. enough. The fact that some boss battles are repeated doesn’t help either.

What’s so frustrating about all these issues is that Scars Above has its moments of pure joy.

What’s so frustrating about all these issues is that Scars Above has its moments of pure joy. Facing a new creature for the first time usually involves a moment of genuine surprise, and figuring out how to handle them is interesting. Even being an unstoppable killing machine can bring satisfaction when you feel rewarded for fully understanding the tools at your disposal, or simply feeling your own power. And some of the later areas even surprised me with their scatological and repulsive (but in a good way) design, at least compared to the boring plains and boring swamps of the earlier stages. The lack of a map to guide you is a good choice, as it makes you follow your intuition and find your way, even if none of the settings are really big or full of secret paths. The building blocks for a more engaging game are here, but they’re surrounded by elements that lack polish, depth, and any sense of challenge.

In addition to fighting, you’ll spend time analyzing resources, clues left in the environment, and some pretty basic symbol-matching puzzles. There is an intention to provide a scientific perspective, taking into account the background of our protagonist, which is mixed in the exploration; for example, by scanning unknown objects we hear what Kate is thinking. She approaches how a creature’s digestive system works with true wonder, wondering how her body evolved into that group of organs and functions.

The delivery of Erin Yvette, Kate’s voice actress, feels fresh and embodies a character more concerned with discovering and understanding her surroundings during these quieter times. It’s a shame that her face is expressionless during most of the scenes, creating an unintentionally hilarious contradiction between what we hear and what we see.

The goal of finding the rest of the crew is one of the main plot points, but it’s weak and lacking in motivation due to the fact that we don’t know anything about them. I can’t tell you anything about any characters other than they are “science people” and one of the guys has a cute cat toy that wears a hoodie. The intended emotional moments don’t land and some of the transitions between scenes are incredibly abrupt, killing the pacing and the tension created.

Something similar could be said of the plot. While Kate’s motivations are clear and you always know why you’re doing what you’re doing and why, it can’t be said to be interesting or original at all. The world of Scars Above feels flat, with some cool alien designs here and there, but not much else that makes me want to explore every nook and cranny or find every available audio log. Later in the story, there are some great ideas that I won’t spoil, but they get abandoned or never pay off in any major way, and it’s a disappointment to see them fade away.

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