Scorn is a powerful and unforgettable nightmare | Review

Scorn is a powerful and unforgettable nightmare | Review

How much we fantasized about Scorn's expressive power; how much, every time the game has returned to peep out, in the course of a long and troubled gestational cycle, which lasted almost ten years, we have let ourselves be ensnared and disturbed by the terrible visions of him. Those fleeting glances at decaying worlds and at almost human creatures, but vacant and stripped down, were enough to convey very intense emotions, to which it was difficult to give a shape and a name, as always happens when you are faced with horror.

Not the violent and overwhelming one, which makes you scream, but the one that takes your heart in your hand and looks you in the eye, and from whose gaze it is impossible to find shelter. Anguish, decay, corruption have a magnetic appeal, and it is mainly on this idea that Scorn seemed to be centered.

Yet, let me tell you: you are not ready. There is nothing, in the little but still significant that has been granted to us so far, that really gives the dimension of how intense the vision of Ebb Software is, of how powerful this imaginary is that yes, fishing with both hands in the fish-rich basin of distorted horrors of Hans Ruedi Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński, but it has a very strong identity, which goes beyond the work of the two inspiring artists.| ); }

The imaginative value of Scorn

The first two hours are masterful , in this sense, because they immediately set the tone and meaning of the whole production, staging what has just been written with overwhelming effectiveness. There is a particular taste, in Scorn, that for the altar, for a composition of the scene and of the level design that therefore relies on a central element, which first of all has a very strong evocative charge, and then it is often the solution or the destination of what the development of play foresees.

It is therefore no coincidence that the best moments of the game, peaks with an absolute and indelible impact, take place in this context. The first steps, we said, around a high monolith, which emanates a terrible solemnity: we use grim machines, which immediately demonstrate the crudeness of the tones, and, also, we become familiar with the logic of the puzzle according to Ebb Software, because Scorn is above all an exploratory adventure in which to solve environmental puzzles and puzzles.

There are passages that leave truly open-mouthed, perfectly composed scenes that elevate the imaginative value of a world that at a certain point also seems to want to reveal itself, but which instead remains the enigmatic background of the suffered gait of the equally enigmatic protagonist.

A further element of that attraction that creates an indissoluble bond between the work and the player, practically impossible to sever before the journey comes to an end. It is true, in the approximately six hours required to complete it there are also less inspired moments, especially in the more labyrinthine passages, when deformed bodies, bruised tentacles and purulent openings are so concentrated as to be almost repetitive, but it is almost physiological so, given the very high average quality of the show offered, which would have been unsustainable and, probably, also heavy and emptied of its impact, if spread over the entire duration of the game.

The other side of the work

If so far I have only talked about Scorn's imaginative power and little about his play, it is because it is the first to bear the weight of the whole production, in which the second is very traditional and simplistic. The game is an exploratory adventure, of course, and as such it proposes itself effectively, because a certain attention is needed to understand where to go and to guess in which direction to take the next steps.

In this perspective environmental puzzles that are generally always understandable are well implemented, functional to make the progression more significant but which go little beyond the pressure of that button or the activation of that mechanism. What works least are the puzzles to be solved instantly, nothing that has not been seen in other congeners and that never intelligently exploit the imagination of the game. It is even worse for the shooting component, which is false.

The moments in which it is necessary to use weapons are fortunately few, because there is nothing that works, from the feeling of the weapons (and out of four two are totally useless) to the impact on the enemies to the general accuracy. They almost break the immersion, as evidently evidenced by a sort of boss fight in the finale, completely anti-climatic and artificial.

Finally, there is a discussion to be addressed regarding the narrative. Like many other congeners, Scorn is a work in which there is no explicit narrative, and it is up to the player to put the pieces together to try to make sense of what he lives. To allow him to do this, however, you have to be good at disseminating significant clues during the adventure, using an environmental narrative that really allows you to perform a work of deduction.

This game seems to forget, because yes, there are some, few elements that could work in this sense, but the general impression is that much, too much is left to a hermeticism with a taste of vagueness, rather than impenetrability. If one thinks of the effort made to create such an imaginative world, of such expressive power, it is almost criminal that one cannot at least perceive the narrative foundations. Assuming there are, just to be clear.

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