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5 Aug 2022

PREVIEW: Scathe on PC (Steam)

By Jon Donnis
I was lucky enough to be given some hands on time with Scathe, a bullet hell FPS from publisher Kwalee and developer Damage State.

"Scathe is an intense, classic FPS with big guns and even bigger demons. You are Scathe, Enforcer of the Legions of Hell, forged from the earth by the Divine Creator himself. And you, like your fallen kin before you, must prove your worth by navigating a deviously crafted maze, entangled with demonic evil at every twist and turn. So, grab your Hell Hammer and get ready to unleash your almighty fury!

Use Scathe's brute strength and extreme speed to purge your way through Hell's most grotesque abominations, as you search for the Hellstones and defeat the all-powerful Guardians that protect them."

Gameplay is simple here, you find yourself in a maze, you need to collect Hellstones, and try to fight your way through hordes of enemies and escape. The game itself has a very hectic feel, everything is coming at you at once, luckily "Scathe" has super powerful weapons with names like Hot Hatch (which sadly is not the new Ford Fiesta) and Bow Blade, (sounds much more like an actual weapon than a mid-range hatchback car). Mini bosses and boss fights are fun, tough but fun.

You can collect relics and harness black magic from fallen mages, you can charge up your own energy and create spells which you can use to heal yourself or attack others.

So how does the game play? Everything feels intuitive, killing enemies and so on is satisfying. There is a slight issue with finding yourself running round in circles at times as it can be quite disorientating, but look for dead bodies and you will realise you already been there.

This is a tough game, deliberately so, if you die, it is back to the start for you. There is no "easy" mode, so newbies to the genre will struggle, and perhaps give up when they realise how hard the game is. The lack of a quick save option is glaring. 

Everything looks great, a lot of work has gone into the graphics, gameplay is smooth etc. The music is god awful. And with that playing, and the poor sound effects, it is hard to hear what is going on, I found myself just turning it all off, and playing without sound. This is the major flaw with the game.

The Good
Huge speed running potential here. This is a solid FPS that looks and plays great.

The Bad
Awful music, terrible sound effects. Very hard for players new to the genre, or not experienced.

The game is being released the end of August, but I feel like it has a long way to go to be the finished article. I expect the eventual console releases will be the best versions to buy as they tend to be the finished article, but if you want to jump in early, you can do on Steam.

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