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What The Critics Are Saying About Scorn

Horror-adventure game "Scorn" was one of the most anticipated games of the last year, and on October 14, 2022 the biopunk genre-fusing title was finally released. In an interview with PC Gamer, game director Ljubomir Peklar described the process of creating the game's uniquely disturbing atmosphere. "Scorn" is inspired chiefly by two artists: H.R. Giger, whose biomechanical style is well-known thanks to the "Alien" movies, and Zdzislaw Beksinski, whose surreal art reflects dreams and nightmares. It's a very art-forward game, but there's more to a game than aesthetics. The variety of disturbing locations in its dream-like world, connected to each other in a non-linear fashion, are host to puzzles, enemies, and horrors that players will have to "try to comprehend."

Developers at Serbia-based Ebb Software, the studio behind the game, have been working exclusively on "Scorn" for nearly the last decade. The company ran two Kickstarter campaigns in the past to fund its development, the first of which was not successful. It can be difficult for projects to get funding on Kickstarter, and even successfully funded Kickstarter projects can end up being shady. Now that "Scorn" has finally been released eight years after being announced, the reviews are piling in – and it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Critics love Scorn's art style – the rest of it, not so much

J.R. Waugh at Attack of the Fanboy gave the game a perfect score of 5/5. Waugh said the visual design "is the primary hook for many" and praised the huge variety of zones across the world. They also highlighted animations for being "particularly striking," and its minimalist approach to sound design and narrative. In the end, Waugh called "Scorn" a "technical marvel" and "as concise as any horror game should be."

Leana Hafer at IGN gave "Scorn" a 7/10 and described it as a "relentlessly unsettling delve into hell with dreadful combat." Like Waugh, Hafer praised the game's macabre visual design, calling it "the most impressive bone in this mangled skeleton," and she appreciated that it "trusted me to draw my own conclusions." However, Hafer criticized much of the core gameplay, including movement, hitboxes, attack accuracy, and limited gunplay. In the end, Hafer called it a "bite size sprint through the grisly and surreal."

Some games that get bad reviews can be awesome in certain aspects but lacking in others. Chris Scullion at Video Game Chronicle gave the game a 2/5 and argued that the gameplay "gets in the way of the art design." It wasn't all bad, like other reviewers Scullion loved the game's atmosphere, but said it was ultimately "a frustrating and inane adventure" where players stumble around aimlessly trying to find anything to interact with. He mentioned games like "Myst" that subtly nudge players in a direction, and said "Scorn" just leaves players in the dark.