Scars Above Might Not Be Original, But It Looks Great

Made of Scars.

Scars Above
Scars Above

Announced during the Summer Game Fest stream, Prime Matter is Koch Media’s new publishing wing for diverse, AAA experiences across IP both new and old. Prime Matter already has a wide portfolio of games to show off, all of which look to offer something new and a bit different from the other games they have. Aside from Final Form (working title), one other game that shows a lot of promise is Scars Above.

A third person sci-fi shooter, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Scars Above shares a lot of the same DNA in terms of its setting and premise to the likes of Returnal and Outriders. You control a lone scientist, Kate Ward, who finds herself on a hostile alien world with very little in the way of weapons, forced to survive as the hordes of aliens seek to eliminate her. Okay, that’s pretty much like-for-like with those two games, but Scars Above still shows a lot of promise and could be a real hit when it launches on PC & consoles next year.

Described during a behind closed doors presentation as Alice In Wonderland meets Alien, the game really lives up to that premise. There’s beauty to be found in the landscapes of Scars Above’s alien planet, but if you stop and stare at it for too long, you’re probably going to get your head caved in.

There’s a realism to Scars Above too. Developers Mad Head Games and publishers Prime Matter were keen to sell the idea that the game would feature believable weapons and technology, meaning you’re going to be using whatever tools you can to survive on a world that’s actively out to get you.

Feeding into that was the sense that you’re playing as an actual scientist and not just some super-powered demi-god who can oneshot anything standing in their way. From the footage shown, lead character Kate didn’t look like a conquering badass who had everything under control. There was a sense that she’s almost always overwhelmed by what’s happening, hanging on as much as she can to survive and stay in control during combat.

While I can’t speak for how the game actually feels, the gunplay also looks tight, with the weapons making satisfying noises to really add to that punchy feeling that comes with shooting enemies. Just watching gameplay felt satisfying, so actually getting hands-on with Scars Above would hopefully be a joy too.

Again, Scars Above might not be the most original game ever made. Surviving on a hostile alien planet is like “sci-fi story number #24”, but Scars Above seems like a smartly-made game, taking the best that the genre has to offer to create something worth playing. It’s too early to tell if that efforts will pay off, but I’m quietly excited.

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