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Now Playing - Scorn (2022)

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You know when you've been anticipating something for so long, kept track of its progress and then after what seems like a lifetime it actually arrives, waiting for you to love it as much as you imagined you would, and you actually do? Well, that is my Scorn story, years before it was even complete. Scorn felt like my child, even though I had no part in it any more than goodwill.

And this month Scorn hit Microsoft's gamepass library. So like Forza 5, they just dumped it out there for anyone to pick it up for free (if you had a subscription). This was great, of course, but I felt a little robbed in the same way a film you have loved when it was unpopular suddenly becomes 'de rigeur' and you are left wondering why everyone else now fawning over it could not perceive your brilliance and genius for knowing it better and earlier than them. Occupational hazard, maybe.

As a nameless protagonist, you are dropped into a hostile alien, unfamiliar world with no exposition and when you gain control of the character, you are not given any clues what to do, but keep moving and see what you bump into and see if you can do something with it. Scorn has garnered as many gushing critics as it has angry ones, with the latter claiming that the puzzles are too hard (they are a bit tough at times, especially in Act III) and that they were dying too often (this is due to a lack of due diligence on the players' part, in fact).

Even from the picture above and the trailer below, most people that have watched 'Alien' will be reminded of HR Geiger's designs and this theme is prevalent. It is all completely grotesque, fleshy and squishy, revolving around the themes of reproduction throughout, using one thing to shove forcefully into another to get jobs done or doors opened. A walking simulator with added puzzles would be a better description for this assault on the senses. Yes admittedly, there is some 'shoot the bad thing' elements that can't be avoided, but mostly the enemies are either completely oblivious to you, only really getting a bit annoyed when you interrupt their day. Nonetheless, not in any way difficult and if anything, more of an afterthought.

There is a story here, though it is purposefully vague and mysterious and an opportunity for a sequel is in no doubt by the time you reach the conclusion. I had some tense, awkward and messy fun with this. Nowhere near as scary as the likes of Alien: Isolation, where you need spare pants nearby, but a really satisfyingly guttural (if short) experience. Not for the squeamish.


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