The science fiction genre can be as endless as space itself. You can go in an incredibly goofy direction or lean more toward horror. However, no matter the genre, sci-fi nerds love lore. Fifteen minutes into the Mad Head Games-developed sci-fi action game, Scars Above, and you’ll know the studio put in work to give players everything they need to immerse themselves in this alien world. Add in a high layer of challenge, and there’s much to look forward to from this adventure.
Scars Above puts players in control of Kate Ward, a member of SCAR, a group of scientists and engineers sent to study an alien object floating in Earth’s orbit known as the Metahedron. However, as they approach the object, the team is pulled inside, and she wakes up alone without any of her crew in sight.
From these opening moments, you’re taught the basics of interacting with the environment, introducing a core system of light puzzle solving as you select objects in the first-person, and Kate will comment on them. You can also twist the objects to find additional means of interacting with them.
Actual gameplay happens in the third person as Kate must push forward to find answers. Her intelligence plays into exploration as she can scan objects and downed enemies to learn more about them. This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding Scars Above’s worldbuilding. The team clearly spent a lot of time building out the lore of this world, and it’s found in the many times that Kate talks to herself out in the field.
However, alongside this lore is some rather challenging activity. I’d hate to do this, but the game borrows some elements from the Dark Souls series, with inspiration taken from a more modern series, Remnant: From the Ashes, without the multiplayer mode. However, death doesn’t seem to carry such a significant impact outside of taking you back to a checkpoint and resetting the enemies. Regardless, the story elements will easily immerse players in the world, which is a little jarring when you figure out how tough this game can be.
Players will have access to a variety of weapons that can be customized with elemental properties. Utilizing these methods proved effective during fights, which rely on shooting weak points. Kate is highly agile in the field; she can dodge and move freely, which doesn’t come off as overly floaty. I would say there were some graphical issues that I ran into, but none affected the gameplay. If the high challenge isn’t your thing, there are also multiple difficulty options. Trust me; you’ll want to see some of these boss battles because they get epic.
Scars Above borrows from a few genres but delivers heavily on sci-fi action. Its attention to detail and narrative with a high layer of difficulty makes it stand out from other titles released early next year. It’s very much a game that has that layer of double-A charm that I feel too many gamers overlook, but the knowledge and design that you’ll encounter throughout this adventure do well to provide a unique experience. So keep this on your radar if you’re looking for a dose of sci-fi action.
Scars Above is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC via Steam on February 27, 2023.
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