November 06, 2018

Parole report #1138 - The early days of SCUM

I had spent a lot of time watching people play survival games but never actually got my hands on one myself. The level of detail involved to scavenge, team up, monitor vitals etc. really intrigued me but I always felt that if I wasn’t there when the game launched then I would be behind the eight ball.
But then I was lucky enough to get on board with SCUM in its early access and my mind was blown. Starting out with character creation is always a joy for me because I can end up spending hours making sure I get things right, and this is an important step before you even begin the game.
Depending on which attributes you give your criminal can really set you up for success once you’re dropped into the world.

Once you are dropped into this incredibly vast world and check out the map you get a sense how small you are in the scheme of things. The 12km x 12km map (which has been rumoured to quadruple in the future) provides a massive exploration area with endless exploration.
Scattered everywhere are small towns, firing ranges, training camps and most importantly the airport. Not only do have to deal with the local plague of puppets (SCUM’s version of zombies) but in most of these areas there are one or multiple mechs that you have to avoid.
These mechs are relentless, the slightest chance that they see you the bullets start flying and often it’ll only take two or three hits for you to be done.

I believe the most fascinating part of SCUM is the vital system they’ve integrated. This dashboard is incredibly detailed with the basics like your nutrition and water levels but then extends to all the key vitamins that your body needs to survive. What can make it difficult to survive is balancing all of those vitamins while trying to avoid hordes of puppets charging toward you with murderous intent. This system goes as far as you succumbing to illness, vitamin deficiencies or just general wounds because you haven’t kept your nutrition up to scratch so it’s really critical you keep an eye on this.
You can always just become a cannibal and just much on some delicious puppet flesh to fill your stomach but it doesn’t provide much sustenance unless you season and cook it up. Obviously I can’t go without mentioning that all this eating and drinking comes its own consequences, and that means keeping your bladder and bowels in check. Yes that means keeping an eye on when you need to use the bathroom, and this can be deadly if you don’t. Say you’re battling a pack of zombies and there’s mechs chasing you as well and suddenly nature calls, you need to stop what you’re doing and take care of business and BOOM you’re dead.

Finally, I want to touch on the crafting system. I have read many thoughts on this and how painful and clunky it is. Honestly I don’t find it bad at all. Once you begin to get used to the way it works then it can be quite intuitive and easy to use. The easiest way to figure it is to just start simple with crafting a knife from a few rocks and build from there. In no time at all you will find yourself crafting bullets and structures to keep yourself safe. Or maybe just making a mask out of human flesh to go with your necklace of ears as a warning to all the other puppets out there.

I am truly invested in this game, and the transparency from the developers has been amazing. Almost every week there are patches that fix bugs or add content into the game to make it more interesting. There is a PvP component I’m yet to explore because I’m so ingrained in building my character and travelling the world but I am definitely going to get stuck into it. If the devs continue on this path then I will continue to have so much fun in the future. I have heard rumblings of vehicles and other transportation coming to that excites me even more.

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