A multiplayer online survival game from the Croatian studio Gamepires, SCUM hit steam early access in August of 2018. The game was dropped the summer before DayZ hit its official release, after its 5-year development cycle. As the latter struggled to complete its development, SCUM hit the ground running. It boasted great high-resolution graphics, extensive metabolic system, skill system, character designing, FAME system, events 100 player servers, and dynamic visual systems. This game sold 1 million units in 3 weeks and has a lot of promise.
The story of this game is that you are a prisoner, and you have been put in the custody of the TEC corporation. They run an island as an open-air prison and use a drone to monitor the behavior of their prisons for a television show. Using implants in the back of your skull can take over your body to make you into this game’s version of zombies. This implant also keeps you from escaping the island as it has an explosive in it. Once the endgame is implemented it is intended that you remove that device to escape. Populating this island are zombies, explosive vest equipped zombies, 20 foot tall heavily armed robots, various animals, and other prisoners. This potent mix is initially spread across 144 square kilometers before the last update.
I have played many hours with this game. My friends and I have built extensive bases and pushed all the competitors out of our sector. We will come online and play once major updates come out until we become bored. This game has many aspects that are planned that will implement in the future.
The v0.5 update added 9 new sectors to the game’s 16 sectors, 4 of these new sectors expand the map and the remaining 5 sectors add a few new islands. Boats, fishing, and sharks have been added to the game allowing the players to embrace the naval lifestyle. Keycards have been added to access the locked areas of the already secure TEC bunkers.
To explore the new expansion, I rounded up members of my posse from the last time we played. Our group was once over 30 members but now could only get 4 other members. The server we chose had 5-times the normal loot, no mech guard robots, with a population of 40 on average. This only slowed down our progress a bit. In this iteration, I initially started on the new island. This new version changed the nights and darkness. Now the depths of bunkers are dark enough to require a flashlight, torch, or night-vision goggles, and moonless nights are pitch-black. Spawning to the southeastern side of this new land I got to experience this new dark. I made my way to the nearest bunker to get some gear. Fighting the zombies guarding the base, I was able to pick up a pair of night-vision goggles. Rather than gamble with my gained gear moved off into the dark and headed northwest. I made my way to the sunrose to be greeted with the stunning vistas of the world of SCUM. The natural terrain is fully rendered with trees drawn in at a great distance. Adding to this terrain is a newly revamped weather system that generates cloud and weather cycles. A dry day may bring high spotty clouds, and a storm with bring heavy clouds moving in tune with the wind. The wind will affect the sea state and the dynamics of the oceans.
Coordinating with my friends, I arranged to meet with them at a new point of interest, an abandoned weapons factory. In a normal server, this location would be crawling with robots but in this server, it was empty of that menace. I was able to loot to my heart’s content. Once my friends arrived we set about to make a base. We tried out the new base building mechanics that replaced the previous walls with a set of walls that can be upgraded to increase their toughness. Once we built a wall around a building we logged off for the night.
In the next session of play, we found out that our location was not okay per the server rules. We gathered up our loot and headed on an exodus. Wandering the countryside we discovered the lack of building outside of the point of interest on the southern island. Knowing this to be the problem we headed back to the main island. Once we found an empty build with some distance from other bases we set to build a base again. This base provided us a location to send out teams to loot. We were able to build a boat but found the sailing system to be tough to master. One of our team was killed by a shark while out exploring on a boat.
Other players are the most potent adversary in the game. We would often run into players and have varying experiences. If we found a player looting in the wild, and we had the weapons and numbers advantage, our groop would hunt them down for fame and fortune. If you found yourself in an even match, depending on your situation you might choose not to engage as to draw the ire of other players, or to risk your gear. We attempted many times to take captives, but the player base would choose to fight us even at disadvantage, or commit suicide. We found on the server role players, who spend their time in the safe zones, engaging in their fantasies. One player going by the moniker, Meat Man, spent his time running a restaurant, with dinner service that he announced to the population. We traveled to this restaurant with our tractor, found parking, indoor and outdoor dining area, and bar games in the form of a target with a spear provided by the establishment. Due to our proximity to certain loot spawns we have begun roleplaying as alcohol merchants as well. On the negative side of player interactions, we had to endure a pack of players who performed a textbook base camp, where they sat outside the walls of our base and waited for us to open up so they could raid us. Our small team was under-equipped to fight these players who had better gear and we had to wait it out. With the addition of other players hunting these would-be hunters, our team’s superior use of tactics, and anti-personnel mines, our base has been door camper-free.
As you do any activity in the game you gather fame points. This currency is used to select your spawn location when you die. The use of beds and shelters allows you to spawn at a particular location but you need the points to select the location. You can also accrue fame points by participating in the in-game events, these are built-in deathmatch, team deathmatch, and objective-based matches that give you a new set of gear to participate, without the fear of loss. This game mode gives the players something to do while the environment is less advantageous to players such as the nights or heavy rain. The reward for these matches is more fame points. Additionally, in the server we are playing in you can trade fame points for currency, that can be spent at a black market provided by the admins of the server.
This update to SCUM was nice to play, and would further enrich this world. The development of this game is showing the potential this genre has to offer, and as long that the developers continue their vision of this game it looks promising. I look forward to further updates and can not wait to play the completed version of this promising game.