Let's Play: Scourge Outbreak
Gears on a budget
Mike and I go space soldiering in Scourge Outbreak, out today on Xbox Live Arcade. Watch on for Scourge Outbreak gameplay in which we shoot enemy troops and alien bugs over the tops of crates in the crate-filled HQ of the evil Nogari Corporation.
Scourge Outbreak is a co-op shooter in which you play a mercenary in a squad of four, called things such as "Shade" and "Mass". You are dispatched to Nogari HQ partly to rescue a double agent and recover an exotic meteorite sample, but mostly to shoot up the place.
The meteorite is connected to the production of precious Ambrosia, the do-everything sci-fi substance of this sci-fi universe. Ambrosia is the luminous energy source of the future. It is used to fuel your space soldier suit. It also creates alien monsters and blows up real good. Like the name of squad leader Stonewall, Ambrosia has other associations for players in the UK, where it means custard.
You might compare Ambrosia to the luminous Imulsion of Gears of War in the same way you might compare everything about Scourge Outbreak to Gears of War, of which it is a low-rent pastiche.
With its crunchy cover system and knock-off roadie run, Scourge Outbreak mimics Gears as hard as it can. There's no getting away from how repetitive the action is, however, because it can't muster Gears-like spectacle to break up the cover shooting, and enemy types are few and dumb.
There's also a pinch of Mass Effect's Element Zero in the Ambrosia. You have a bluish energy shield and biotic-style shockwave ability, both powered by Ambrosia, again. The shield will keep you getting shot to pieces on the occasions you're not behind a chest-high crate. The shockwave is unpredictably useful and far from as satisfying as a Mass Effect equivalent.
As a low-rent Gears of War, Scourge Outbreak is, at least, low-rent: it's 800 Microsoft points, available to download on Xbox 360 from July 3 2013.