Contempt is designed to be disgusting. The walls of its labyrinthine halls are constructed of twisted contortions of flesh, and its mechanical intricacies are drenched in the blood of abandoned corpses. Scorn’s aesthetic inspiration is well-known but well-implemented, creating an atmosphere of malaise and revulsion that’s maintained throughout. Its setting is the least frustrating, with smooth combat, spotty puzzle design, and tightly restricted checkpoints.
The most immediate impression of contempt comes from its aesthetics. This is HR Giger’s textbook, with an artist’s flair for the biomechanical structures that affect every biome you visit in Scorn. If you’ve watched Prometheus recently, you’re familiar with the kind of interwoven, meaty layouts Scone has in store, with some variety in each new area, and the presentation never feels stale. However, gratuitous violence and frequent bodily terrors are less impactful. There’s some shock value at first when you see it, but many of these actions are repeated so often that its impact diminishes over time. His 7 hour run time on Scorn. The violence of disrespect is not memorable. Instead, it’s a disappointing departure from the well-crafted horror of its inspiration, wasting its compelling aesthetic potential.
Exploration and puzzles are central to Scorn’s gameplay loop. In each of the game’s five acts, he explores several different constrained biomes. These are all massive multi-step puzzles made up of smaller puzzles that must be solved in a specific order. Most solutions come from simple exploration. Each space has multiple regions, but usually only one correct path can be followed. This means that you will regularly encounter multiple dead ends before reaching the correct route. In interactive consoles, you’ll often manipulate space to move around large objects and complete other routes that allow you to go further into the biome you’re currently in. Each of these spaces is like his one big Rube Goldberg machine that is slowly starting up. It’s satisfying to watch the level fold down, one piece at a time, and click into place when you put it all down. This is very important given that Scorn is deliberately lacking in storytelling, with him only having two short cutscenes at the beginning and end, and everything in between must be understood.
Much of this exploration, however, is broken up into smaller, mini-game-like puzzles that are far less engaging. There are several different types, many of them repeated in rapid succession to dilute their already dull effects. Not at all surprising. things, etc.) with little twist. Despite the grotesque aesthetic, they’re hidden underneath. It’s especially noticeable when you consider what it is.
Although puzzle-based exploration is at its core, Scorn has a fair share of combat, with a handful of weapons and enemies to take down that become prominent during the course of the story. At first these encounters are light. A single enemy will be thrown at you, but it seems you can handle it with the limited firepower you have. It needs to be downed and doesn’t do much damage, so be careful every time you encounter it. However, this is more frustrating than challenging. Your movement speed is relatively slow, even when sprinting, and you have no evasion ability, which makes dodging damage cumbersome. , so you can hit them before they get close, and they keep attacking while you scramble to get the 4 or 5 shots you need. In the early stages, you are forced to die many times before you can progress.
This alone is not at all uncommon in horror games. It’s normal for many players in the genre to encourage them to avoid enemies instead of engaging them. Scorn clearly expects this too, but that combat encounter leaves little room for it. Some enemies are placed in spaces where they can deftly find alternate routes around them, but many of them appear in narrow corridors that neither side can easily enter. Attempting to sprint through most will routinely take damage. This has to be done frequently due to the lack of both ammunition for weapons in later games and life-giving health stations. More than just a challenge, this falls squarely into infuriating territory, as it’s the result of increasingly brutal challenges from incapable foes. , and the fact that it makes it nearly impossible to progress through long stretches of the game with encounters that feel like they were designed (and irreversible) for a tool you don’t have.
The increase in combat encounters highlights just how brutal Scorn’s checkpoint system is. There were instances where death set back multiple steps in Act’s overall puzzle, forcing me to redo mundane (and safe) tasks and re-acquire key items before tackling the same enemies. Only one checkpoint is saved at a time and there is no option to save manually. This doesn’t seem like a problem at first, but at the same time it becomes infuriating when combined with a total health cache, with multiple enemies waiting around the corner and Scorn dying with his one hit. There have been multiple instances of saving progress along the way. The only option other than relying on luck was to reload the entire act. This often means hours of lost progress. This was forced when my character slipped through a wall and the game was saved, putting me back in that unrecoverable state. .
Restrictive saves and unbalanced combat combine to make much of Scorn’s adventure a frustrating slogan, betraying an initial promising start time that emphasizes puzzle solving and atmosphere above all else. Even with the disappointing little puzzles, the key puzzles at the heart of each act are satisfying to slowly build up, but not engaging enough to distract from the brutally unfair challenges along the way. There are too many elements in Scorn that push players away rather than draw them in deeply, so it’s hard to suggest devoting time to even a relatively short adventure.
https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/scorn-review-pound-of-flesh/1900-6417976/?ftag=CAD-01-10abi2f Disdainful Review – Pound of Meat