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  • Writer's pictureg1a5w3g1an

Scars Above | Xbox Series S Review

Sci-fi and horror are probably my favourite genres, for everything, really. So when you take them both and combine them into a third-person action-adventure game, it is a safe bet to say that my interest is peaked. Scars Above has been a very anticipated new release for me since it caught my eye back at Gamescom last year, and it was a pleasure to both play through it and to now review it. Developed by Mad Head Games and published by Prime Matter, it is available right now on Windows PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. For the purpose of my review, I was playing the Xbox Series S version, with a review key that was very kindly supplied to us by the amazing folks over at PLAION.


Scars Above puts you in the shoes (or boots) of Dr. Kate Ward, a member of the SCAR Team (Sentient Contact Assessment and Response). Sent initially on a mission to investigate an alien structure that is orbiting Earth, which has been named The Metahedron, things quickly go wrong, and your ship is sent across space. You wake up on a strange planet, separated from the rest of your crew and team members. Pretty soon after this, you are found by a holographic alien, which becomes your guide, and as you realise that the mysterious planet that you're on is largely hostile, you have to set out to find the rest of your crew and the ship.


First off, I will say that there are going to be lots of comparisons between Scars Above and Returnal. Well, I have never played Returnal, so there will be none of those comparisons in this review. Also, having never played a Souls-Like game myself, I cannot really comment on the similarities between the gameplay here and other Souls-Like games, but I am fairly sure with regard to boss fights and the levelling up system in Scars Above, there are some things or aspects of them that may be familiar to some. Anyway, getting back on track, apart from a cutting blade, you are equipped with a very non-standard rifle in Scars Above. I will put some emphasis on the non-standard, as your rifle can be adapted to fire different elemental ammo, and that will become key to defeating certain enemies and bosses as the game progresses. There is no shortage of ammo scattered around, either on the ground itself or in plants that you find. Different ammo will do different damage, and have different effects on certain things. There are also ranged weapons that become part of your arsenal. All of these as well as your actual abilities can be upgraded, and there is a not too complicated skill tree in the game. It won't be long before you are on your way to levelling things up, and you will need to have a lot of things levelled up, as some of the bosses are tough in Scars Above. Well, I found them to be quite tough, but that might just be due to my lack of experience with this type of game.


The visuals are good, but not great. Yes they could be better, but this is not a AAA title, so if you are happy with that, there is still a lot to like here. Maybe I just expected a little bit more from a next-gen game. The voice acting and the soundtrack are both very good, and overall the combat and puzzles were satisfactory. Once you get the hang of the different kinds of ammo and how to swap the gun over, things get a little easier. You will be performing all kinds of combos on bosses before you know it. The game can be saved at certain pillars that you find throughout the game, and I found that I was returning to them to re-save more often than not, even after not making much progress beyond each pillar, but it was just good to have that option as a backup plan. Enemies that you had previously defeated will respawn after you use a pillar to save, and your health bar boosts up as well when you activate one.


As I touched on previously, as you progress through the game, you will start to level up your skills and weapons, and learning how to hot-swap the different ammo becomes crucial to the survival aspect of fighting bosses as well as adapting to the environment on the planet. I do not want to go into too much detail on that part, as it will be better for you to discover all that for yourself when playing the game. I did find it enjoyable, though, and it added a little extra to the game for me. Scars Above is played in third-person throughout, and I did not experience any issues with the controls during my playthrough. The combat is fluid and the enemies and bosses come at you thick and fast. There are various different settings on the planet, and each bring their own characteristics to the game for you to navigate through.


I thoroughly enjoyed my playthrough of Scars Above. It seems to have that perfect balance of sci-fi and horror, mixed with action and adventure. There is a LOT to do in the game, and there are some tough (and massive) bosses. For fans of this genre, it's a no-brainer. For fans of Souls-Like games, it may appeal to you as well. I would absolutely play through it all again, and it is a game that I would recommend. Only dropping that little point as I felt the visuals could maybe have been just a bit better, especially on a next-gen console like the Series S.

g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 4 out of 5.


For more information on Scars Above please use the following links... Mad Head Games - Developer | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Prime Matter - Publisher | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Many thanks to PLAION for supplying the review code.

Scars Above | Windows PC | PlayStation | Xbox


#ScarsAbove #MadHeadGames #PrimeMatter #SciFiHorror #IndieGame

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