SCUM Alpha – First Impressions

I’ve been keeping an eye on SCUM since it dropped about a week ago. I’ve watched gameplay videos and the trailers, and my initial thoughts were “this looks like DayZ but better”. My initial thoughts—before even playing the game—were spot on in my opinion.

SCUM is still in Alpha so this review is of course only a placeholder, and when the full game gets released (hopefully it doesn’t take as long as DayZ has or I’ll be too old to write a review) we will be releasing an updated review for the full game.

I’ve already mentioned DayZ twice in this pre-release review and there’s a good reason for that – they are essentially the same game: the graphic type is similar (though SCUM does have the better graphics), the gameplay is largely the same, the loot is mostly the same, the bugs are present (which is to be expected in an Alpha release) and the best part of DayZ—which in my opinion was the interaction with other players and the community—are present in SCUM. SCUM however, already seems more polished then DayZ, even after the seemingly-endless number of years that DayZ has been in development.

To give you an example of what I mean by the community and player interaction, take a look at the first 10 minutes of the video below by Kotton:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8bOhTy4qZ4

It’s the rush of meeting other players and either trusting them, running away or blowing their heads off (I’m not a sadist, honest) that keeps you coming back to games like this and that is exactly what kept me hooked on DayZ for so long. To an extent this sort of gameplay is also found in the likes of PUBG, but usually on that game you run with the “blowing their head off” strategy, because in that game there are winners and losers, in SCUM there is just survival. As well as the interactions with other players, there are zombies to fend off and mechs which protect the best loot areas.

SCUM has gone into a lot of detail on the old survival front. For example, you have to defecate once you’ve eaten, and it’s always fun to do this in strange places, such as on desks that you know other players are going to loot (no, honestly, I’m not a sadist). As well as the various turd options available, you can also dig deep into your vital signs to make sure you’re in the best possible condition. The vast detail extends to other areas of the game too – when you shoot players or animals they bleed (as you would expect), but what makes this game different is that the blood stays on the floor, essentially creating a trail and allowing you to hunt.

So, let’s explain a bit more about the game instead of just talking about how much it’s like DayZ and how you can poo on desks:

What’s the story behind the game?

Good question. The short answer is that it’s basically the Hunger Games with convicts. You’ll battle it out on a private island for ‘fame’; this is basically a type of currency in the game that is dictated by what you do – the more entertaining you are, the more fame points you earn.

What is fame used for?

This is a pretty cool feature of the game. By playing the game you earn ‘fame points’, these points can be used to respawn in the world at better locations or with your squad mates. If you don’t have enough fame points, it will randomly spawn you somewhere on the map. I imagine fame points will also be used more in the future, for example to call in loot crates or something.

Crafting

The crafting in SCUM is really good. There’s quite a lot of stuff to craft (more to come, according to the developers) and it’s a pretty easy process. Crafting is especially important early on to give you a boost while looting areas – for example, early on you would craft a spear and a backpack. One thing I like about the crafting is that you don’t actually need to have the materials on you; if the materials you require are in the close proximity of you, you can use them to craft – this saves having to move stuff out of your inventory if you don’t have the space.

Cooking

Cooking is a thing in SCUM and of course so is a hunger bar – you can hunt animals and find food items in the world. To increase the potency of the food you can—as you can in other games of this nature—cook it on a fire.

In-Game events

While playing SCUM online you are able to drop into in-game events. This is basically PvP and these events really set it apart from DayZ. There’s a fully fledged deathmatch mode integrated within the game – it’s pretty good, but at the moment the combat in the game is a bit choppy and slow which lets it down.

The rewards for partaking are (you guessed it) fame points and of course loot – obviously you only get these if you manage to survive.

How big is the map?

The map is massive. To run from one end to the other would take hours – this is of course a good thing, however, at present there is currently no way to traverse faster i.e. no vehicles – these are on the developers road map though and should make an appearance in version 1.0.

Best Things to Craft Early On?

I’m in no way a pro at the game but the first thing you’ll need is a weapon. I usually start with a spear and—when I have the materials—I would then craft a backpack so you can carry more.

Can I run it?

Unlike DayZ, you’re going to need a decent PC to play SCUM. They suggest a GTX 1060 or similar. If you turn the graphics down you might be able to play it on a lower powered graphics card, but honestly in the games current state I wouldn’t even attempt it.

Bugs / Lag / WTF

Of course, there are a few issues with the game, things you would expect in an early access game. The framerate drops occasionally, which can be annoying. I’ve crashed a couple of times and I’ve had strange issues where I couldn’t pick up items.

The PvP also seems like a bit of a work in progress, as mentioned previously the combat is pretty clunky at the moment and the occasional lag and desync doesn’t help, but hopefully this is something that will be fixed sooner rather than later.

I’ve also seen reports of hackers in the game (I haven’t personally seen any), something that in my opinion killed DayZ – however, the developers seem to be on top of it and have recently upgraded their anti cheat system.

What’s going to be added to the game in future?

The developer has released a roadmap for the game and some of the standout features are:

  • Vehicles
  • Base building
  • Improved combat system
  • In game missions
  • Safe zones

There is currently no ETA on version 1.0.

I’ll add more to the above list as and when I find things out or things get added to the game.

To summarise, my time with SCUM so far has been really enjoyable. There’s a lot there to keep people entertained, especially if you enjoy survival games like DayZ and Rust. However, if you are not a fan of these games then the chances are you will NOT like SCUM. The game does involve a lot of walking around aimlessly trying to find loot and it does involve a lot of salty players just killing you on the spot even if you have no loot, both of which are an issue in similar games. But if, like me, you’re a survivalist and you love searching for that loot and you love the thrill that comes with the danger that other players bring, then SCUM may just be the game for you.

Ricky spent most of his childhood playing games, mainly FPS and RPG games and this has continued into his adult life. You’ll regularly see him on Overwatch until he rages, then he'll move on to FIFA until he rages again - then he gives up on multiplayer games and chills out with a single player adventure.

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