Scorn’s slithering spookiness is only slightly scary

In contempt, the survival horror game that slipped onto Game Pass last week, it’s just another day at the meat factory. A few hours later, that’s what it feels like. I’m just a man clocking in on HR Giger & Sons to push buttons, stick my fingers in grappling holes and scoop the guts out of screaming human flesh things. Just a full day’s work for a blue collar who works as stiff as me.

i wanted to try contempt because, well, it’s on Game Pass, which takes away my usual hesitation of trying weird games that look like they’re taking the shit out of my misophonia. I also wanted to try it because it is the high holy days of Spooky Season, and contempt itself generated a lot of buzz on social media, despite receiving little fanfare or marketing beforehand.

I didn’t know what to expect from this game. The advice on social media was to know as little as possible, so all I knew was to expect things to be dark and wet in exactly zero sexy ways. Surprisingly, despite being based on the work of horror artist HR Giger and your character walking around in a spaceship (??) taking its set inspiration from the inside of the human colon, my misophonia triggers aren’t really activated. Yes, you squelch a lot, but the sound is designed so that it’s not as bad as I expected. A nice ironic surprise since the most healthy game in the world right now, splatoon 3,

is completely unplayable for me due to all the splat noises.

A less pleasant surprise is that contempt doesn’t feel too scary either. The game throws you in the pit with a bare-bones UI that only appears when you’re holding a weapon or interacting with a device. There is no voiceover, no hints. Nothing. And while that adds a great vibe – it feels like you’re running around the insides of a rotting blue whale – it also lends itself to feeling a bit of a meat doll. With nothing seemingly getting you into a story, no information about who you are or why you are there, the game becomes: go here, do this, do the next, and hope you don’t get lost. The fact that you start with no weapons and that nothing attacks you (at least not in the parts I’ve played so far) doesn’t help with the scariness factor. If the game were riddled with little hiding places to crawl into to face some kind of slowly plodding menace à la

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Amnesia: The Dark Descenti think it would be a lot more terrifying and therefore more interesting. But there is nothing. Even if you are attacked in the second area of ​​the game, there is nothing you can do to stop it or defend yourself; you should just take it. The only thing that really upsets me about this game is the way the holes in devices vibrate when you stick your fingers in them and the way the alien cattle prod weapon – I’m sorry, there’s no better way to describe this – bump
when you fire it.

The fact that I knew nothing about the game may have done me a disservice here. If I had known a little bit about survival horror puzzle game type contempt I could have moderated my expectations of anxiety a little differently. That said, if a game is supposedly inspired by HR Giger, dammit, at least give me a few scares.

The puzzles are fine, if a little stupid at times. Again, this game gives you nothing. So half the time you’re wandering around wondering where to go or what to do, and when you come to a puzzle, you better pray that you understand what the puzzle is asking. There must be a happy medium between the species Horizon Forbidden West

style of “blur the puzzle solution 10 seconds after you actually see the puzzle” and contempt“Imagine fucking you are a misbegotten bag of electrified flesh.”

I’ve only played for a few hours and so far it hasn’t hooked me yet, which is a bit of a mortal sin for a Game Pass game. There is just this much offering that if a game feels boring or uninteresting, you don’t have to worry about wasting money. That said, the puzzles are only interesting enough to keep me playing contempt for a while. Hopefully the scare will set in soon.

contempt is now available on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox Game Pass, and PC.

Jacky

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