Scars Above is a fucking game to which it has cost me a lot to get the taste. It doesn’t make it easy. It is a third-person action title with an attractive sci-fi setting and approach, but its gameplay is like eating rocks. It is hard, indigestible and does not go down well to the stomach. The main problem of Scars Above It lies in how we are reborn when we die, in the agility of our protagonist and in the durability and appearance of enemies.
Everything starts very well. As in The Arrival, a mysterious geometric shape approaches the earth. The investigation and assault group SCARS (STAAAAARS I have been repeating the whole game like an idiot) travels to him without letting him reach the planet, but something goes wrong. When we open our eyes, we are on what appears to be another planet. We found ourselves alone and decided to look for our crashed ship and the rest of our companions.
So far, All very well. You can tell that the game’s production values are tacky, but it has some very accomplished environment designs and architectures. Scars Above mixes very well the geometric elegance of productions like Star Trek, Dune or Arrival with all the dirty stuff from Alien or Cronenberg movies. Trouble comes when they give you a gun and ask you to break through.
Scars Above’s gameplay isn’t perfect
Our protagonist can shoot a weapon with interchangeable elemental bullets. She can shoot fire, ice, electricity… And also use consumables that make enemies more flammable, cause distractions, barriers, and heal her. In addition to shooting and using these gadgets, he can run and dodge somersault. What happens is that the enemies are very abundant, they take a lot of damage, they appear without respite right under your nose and they kill you without stopping.
Now you will be thinking: “yeah, as in your Dark Souls that you adore so much, idiot. There you praise it and here you criticize it”, and I agree, they also crush you there without respite. But the problem is what happens when it’s your turn to revive. As in the From Software game, in Scars Above we find a series of milestones that , when touched, they become our respawn and healing point, and why do they work so well in bloodborne? Because even if you get killed over and over again in Yharnam, you are rewarded. You take with you the weapons you have found, the doors you have opened, and the souls of your slain enemies. That doesn’t happen here.
In Scars Above monsters do not give experience points. Here they are obtained only by research. When you kill the first enemy of a class, you research it and get them, but that’s it. Never more. That’s why it’s frustrating to die and face them again, because you only get to lose ammo. Resident Evil fixes this problem by letting you run away from them, but Scars Above doesn’t. Artificially block the exits so you have to kill them no matter what. But they kill you and it’s time to start over.
Scars Above can be very frustrating
And he also doesn’t remember the items you’ve picked up until your death, so you have to go back through the stage again looking for them. This is especially frustrating, because the other way to level up is by locating some purple floating cubic objects. By inspecting them, we also get the points needed to unlock new skills.
Our protagonist is very clumsy, the systems to switch between weapons are not agile and it is very difficult to know when we can use an object
The worst is the combat itself is not exciting either. If I die in Bayonetta, I don’t care even if they don’t give me anything in return, because fighting with my witch is better than life. But our protagonist is very clumsy, the systems to switch between weapons are not agile and it is very difficult to know when we can use an object or not. The reason is that once you invent an artifact, you don’t consume it, but you spend fiber. But how much do I have left? In moments of life or death, not being clear about this is a problem.
I swear I was about to give up, but the story had me hooked and also the setting. I also really liked the main character. I am amazed by protagonists who are scientists, and she was. In Scars Above we scan the flora and fauna, draw conclusions and create weapons based on it. And this gives the world a lot of richness and truth. So I persevere for her!
The protagonist and the story are good
And I did something I don’t usually do. I lowered the difficulty level of the game and put auto aim. And suddenly the game evened out. The fight was already fair. The slowness of their systems was miraculously compensated. Because Scars Above has Returnal enemies but you have the mobility of Resident Evil 3 Remake. They still killed me from time to time, but not as much frustration.
Then I began to enjoy the best of the game: its puzzle-like bosses, the evolution of the doctor’s ways of exploring, and I began to spend time using weapons and gadgets well. Because there’s something genuinely funny about Scars Above. As you handle someone resourceful, you are required to look for weaknesses in everything to use them to your advantage. There are some very clever ideas, like being able to use a lure to make the monster turn around and pop its glands that create electricity so that it explodes. I’ve also enjoyed taking a lot of enemies to a lake and then casting lightning to fry them. At such times, Scars Above works well.
It also has very well raised areas. It is a traditional and linear adventure, but its areas branch out. There is a main path but others that take you to fights, a small boss, a puzzle or cubes from which to extract experience. It is going very well for your protagonist to cover every inch of the terrain, because it is his job. I have to admit that I once adjusted his difficulty to smooth out the rough edges of his gameplay, I got fully into it.
I liked the mystery it poses and how it solves it
But even so Scars Above still having problems. The enemies are repeated a lot and there are empty corridors that are noticeable that they are there to gain game time. Sometimes that exploration leads to interesting lore revelations, but other times it’s an excuse to guide you to the cubes that give you experience, And they don’t give too much. It has better recreated areas than others, and the scenarios are not that they have much variety.
In the end, I had a good time with the game. It has a lot of tightness and serious problems with its progression systems. But I liked the mystery it poses and how it solves it, how the weapons and the protagonist are combined. However, if it could be something big, it has remained in one of those adventures with a certain charm that you play, and something else. Of course, unless you like science fiction, it won’t hurt you at all.
Scars Above didn’t work for me because of its progression systems and unbalanced gameplay, but I did like its story, setting, and protagonist. I think that if you like science fiction, the game will entertain you, but it has too many flaws to recommend it. Fortunately, its linear adventure game structure with some backtracking and exploration pushes you to play it to the end.
Buy Scars Above
Its gameplay and progression systems are not entirely smooth.
It presents very ingenious architectures and environments.
His final bosses are funny.
I really liked the protagonist.
If you like science fiction, you will want to know how the story ends.
Language: Texts in Spanish and voices in English
Duration: 8 -11 hours
See system requirements