Published on March 14th, 2023 | by Adrian Gunning
Scars Above Review #XSX Xbox Series X @ScarsAbove @TheDooo
Summary: Scars Above is a competent and enjoyable third-person sci-fi epic on the XSX
The anticipated sci-fi third-person action adventure by Serbian developer Mad Head Games is finally here as gamers take on the role of the hero and scientist Dr Kate Ward who becomes abducted and finds herself on a strange yet deadly alien world. Scars Above is available on both next-gen consoles, including the PC and Impulse Gamer had the opportunity to review the game on the Xbox Series X. Needless to say and from the trailers, we had high expectations for this game that from the videos, delivered spectacular graphics and environments.
However the biggest question is, how does it play? Well my good interstellar explorer from Earth… read on!
Like any good sci-fi film, there is a mystery surrounding this story and when a colossal alien structure appears in the Earth’s orbit, this puts mankind on edge. Why is it here? Will it benefit humanity? Will it destroy humanity? With so many questions, the Sentient Contact Assessment and Response (aka SCAR) team are sent to investigate this structure dubbed “The Metahedron” and as you guessed, things go awry very quickly.
The team sent to investigate The Metahedron have triggered something on this gigantic alien structure and they soon discover that they are somewhere else and when our hero awakes, Kate finds herself on a a strange alien planet. To make matters worse, she is alone and probably as far as she can possibly be from her home planet of Earth. From here the player must help Dr Ward find her crewmates, solve the mystery of the Metahedron and of course return to home… however it doesn’t help that that this alien planet is also a hostile one.
Welcome to SCARS ABOVE!
At its core, Scars Above is a third person action adventure that works well with the overall foundation of this story, including interacting with the environment and of course the enemies. Supporting this view are the controls mechanics on the Xbox Series X controller and button placement and usage is well placed without it being overly complex. As you explore these vast alien expanses and jungles, you will come across a wide variety of alien life, with some being very dangerous.
As a result, I really enjoyed the combat mechanics and while the story literally throws you in the deep end, the difficulty curve is gradual which helps the player in mastering the controls. In terms of difficulty, there are a few options depending on your preference, however on the hardest level, the enemies can be tough and saving is done via checkpoints that is a challenge. So whether you want to just experience the story or go hardcore, Scars Above caters for all players.
On highest level you soon learn that running into battle can sometimes lead to disaster for Kate.
While combat is split into melee and ranged attacks, ranged weapons are the way to victory due to the physical limitations of us mere humans. Weaponry is also a mix such as electricity and ice and you can mix and match, including unleashing various combos against your alien foes.
Further, you can use the environment, for example if one of your enemies is standing in water, they will take more damage with an electrical weapon opposed to fire. Thankfully Kate has access to defense strategies as well such as a shield plus there are carefully placed health items littered through this alien planet. Lastly, items can also be upgraded as can Kate which allows the player to upgrade new abilities. While Scars Above is a little dated here and there, it is still a fun next-gen experience with good gaming mechanics to help immerse you into this alien world.
Visually Scars Above looks impressive at times on the Xbox Series X and the attention to detail used to create this alien world is impressive. Additionally, the environments are well created and nothing looks small or confined but rather, this planet feels like what a hostile alien should be. Speaking of hostiles, the enemies in the game are well designed with detailed textures and movement to help with the immersion factor of the game.
Another highlight of the graphics in Scars Above is the lighting and special effects that creates that blockbuster feel from start to finish. The hero and protagonist is well animated and Kate interacts well with the broader gaming environment. My one slight gripe is that some of the human faces appear a little wooden with dead eyes but apart from that, Mad Head Games have done themselves justice.
Supporting the next-gen graphics and gameplay is the soundtrack that not only suits the premise of this lost doctor but it changes to meet the emotional and action cues of the story. Interestingly, YouTube star The Dooo who is also a gamer and a music producer lent his talents to help bring the score to life. A sample of the original soundtrack from Scars Above can be found at https://lnk.to/ScarsAbove.
Further, the audio effects go hand-in-hand with the gameplay and really add to the overall ambience of this gaming experience, including the professional voice acting that when matched with the graphics and gameplay, Scars Above provide something unique and enjoyable.
I really enjoyed Scars Above on the XSX and it was an enjoyable experience from start to finish, without the grind that are sometimes associated with third person games. Overall Scars Above delivers a strong narrative with playable gaming mechanics that is visually presented well, particularly with its alien world and its diverse denizens. So if you’re looking for a healthy distraction that provides the right amount of challenges, then look to the skies with Scars Above.