Scorn is a relentlessly unsettling delve into a surreal, macabre world of alien mystery, but the scariest thing about it is the dreadful combat.
Checkpoint woes and a short runtime couldn't keep this body horror sci-fi game from burrowing into my skull.
In Scorn, a game of wonderfully horrible atmosphere and smart, hands-off puzzling is undermined by some dodgy checkpoints and wonky combat.
Scorn works wonders with Giger's and Beksiński's artwork, not only in terms of aesthetic fidelity but in creating a world that's utterly strange to exist in. This is a violent, painful, but fascinating place, thick with symbolism and interlocking puzzles that hint at some terrifying grand design. While it can be overly obscure and frustrating, especially in combat, Scorn serves up one hell of a journey.
By the time the parasite does finally obstruct your ability to use machines or change weapons, the damage is already done. There are few enemies left and the game is almost over, so whatever additional tension might have resulted from these restrictions never materializes. Scorn is a transportive experience to be sure, at times a genuine masterwork of visual craft. But the unfulfilled possibilities linger a little too prominently, a reminder that it falls short of being a mechanical masterpiece, too.
Scorn's frustrating combat, unbalanced puzzles, and unforgiving checkpoints make it an infuriating slog through an otherwise intriguing setting.
Scorn is arguably worth playing for the visuals alone. We’re rarely transported to somewhere truly alien in games, and it’s something I’m glad I experienced. However, it’s more of a theme park ride than a genuinely immersive experience. That’s fine, but with a little more complexity and refinement outside of the artwork, it could have been something extraordinary.
Scorn is clearly a labour of grotesque love, feeling unlike almost any other game out there. The alien are satisfying, the lack of handholding adds to the sense of a hostile world, and the nihilistic drive of the game in subjecting your character to further degradation really makes it stand out. It is a game that will live long in the memory, but it is the very definition of a divisive experience.
It is likely that many do not agree with its mechanics, but its visual impact is so powerful that it is impossible not to recommend it. Scorn is so disturbing that you're going to want to look away and so overwhelming that you're going to be able to stop looking at us. It's as if a macabre mind's nightmare has become a video game.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
If you love H.R. Giger, unsettling body horror such as those seen in the works of Junji Ito, or creepy alien experimentation scenes from films like Fire in the Sky, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate Scorn’s overarching concept. Sadly the execution leaves much to be desired, which is a shame as I feel like Scorn could have been a real standout as far as atmospheric horror games go.
Scorn is an exercise in environmental storytelling, eschewing cutscenes and exposition in favour of simply letting the player piece things together for themselves. It doesn't provide all the answers, leaving much of its deeper meaning wide open to interpretation: and it's all the more compelling as a result.
In truth, Scorn doesn’t tell a particularly fascinating story, but it hardly matters; the way in which it’s told is done to perfection, and provides an incredibly refreshing horror experience that truly gets under your skin.
Scorn, with its mix of puzzles, horror, monsters and exploration, is a unique and alienating experience that you'll love or hate.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Scorn is a special experience for anybody looking to have their expectations subverted for what a good horror game can be. It is a gory, surreal, provocative dive into difficult or even taboo topics, and is wonderfully crafted, and near perfectly optimized. The game's themes and visuals are challenging and extremely mature, but executed with great subtlety. The game is a technical marvel and concise as any horror game should be, so as to not overstay its welcome.
So much about Scorn feels like a trap. It’s designed to cost you progress, to waste your time, and some might think this burdensome despair is some sort of brilliance on the part of the developers. To someone who values their finite time on Earth, it’s snide crap that shows contempt for its audience at every opportunity.
Scorn is a horror/adventure game filled with grotesque depictions of rot, gore and terror. It instills a sense of foreboding dread extremely well with its abstruse, minimal storytelling. This isn’t a game for the faint of heart or stomach, though.
Scorn's dreadful bio-mechanical world is a fantastic example of horror design and level design alike, but its lovely mess of flesh is let down by messier combat.
Aesthetically disgusting, Scorn touches on several deep-seated phobias all at once, ensnaring you with its alien and disgusting universe. While the worldbuilding shines, the combat can be pure frustration. Come for the visceral stomach churn, and stick around for one of the stranger stories you'll ever see. While the combat will frustrate, the setting is worth the fight.
It should be pointed out that Scorn is a day one Xbox Game Pass game, and that is really the only way to justify playing it. Otherwise, Scorn is an experience that even the most diehard horror game fans should skip.
Scorn presents one of the most visually striking and untouchably atmospheric game worlds in recent memory. Ebb Software also admirably challenges horror gameplay conventions and profoundly examines humanity's insatiable desires. Unfortunately, the crawling pace might deter players from seeing it through.