Alien Isolation Review: Hunter Gets Hunted
It looks like survival horror games are back in fashion. Be it treading through the long dark corridor or poking around some abandoned asylums to be suddenly stopped by something horrendous that gives gamers a big kick and makes them feel weak, scared and powerless. And we have witness such horrors in Silent Hill and the latest The Evil Within.
And now, there’s Alien Isolation that brings back the Ridley Scott’s primal and gut-wrenching fear which is once again ready to haunt the gamers. Unlike Aliens: Colonial Marines, the latest in the franchise has nothing much to do with its action-oriented sequels. Also, rather than being an Aliens game, this one is an Alien Game. Survive and fight back- that’ what Alien Isolation can be best described as. Will it succeed? Or will be broken like Colonial Marines? Let us go through the review and see how scary the single Alien can be?
The Return of Ripley
Considered as an adaption of the original horror flick, Alien Isolation has ditched those gung-ho action aesthetics that we witnessed in the previous Alien video games; rather the Creative Assembly has opted to bring back the Alien Universe of Ridley Scott and H.R. Geiger. The developer has ensured to lend a suspense-infused story along with claustrophobic environment to make the gamers indulge in the most horrifying monster game ever made. Keeping itself focused on a one Alien rather than the swarms of space monsters featured in spin-offs, the developer also introduces Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley (the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the motion picture).
15 years ago Ellen Ripley was confirmed lost when the spaceship, Nostromo was said to disappeared. Now after that fateful incident, her daughter has been approached by Weyland Yutani’s executives to accompany in the trip find the truth and clues behind the disappearance, and also recover the proprietary equipment as the information was sourced out that the flight recorder of the lost ship Nostromo has been discovered and kept safely on the Sevastopol- another space station in the midst of the space.
The game opens with Amanda Ripley waking from hypersleep as the WY space ship is directed towards the Sevastopol space station. But as expected, when Amanda is commissioned with other two executives to embark on a routine space walk to reach the station and locate the flight recorder, something goes wrong and the Sevastopol turns into Amanda’s biggest nightmare; an Alien invites itself as the guest in the space station. When you though Alien is your problem (of course it is), there are rogue Androids committing mass murder, survivors taking every chance to live and deeply rooted corporate conspiracy that makes Alien Isolation worth every hours you spend playing it. The latest in the franchise comes with some great surprises and the subplots taking place within the game reveals the events that are related to the downfall of Sevastopol.
In the entire game narratives have been delivered through tape recordings that Amanda can access. Gamers can also witness the flashbacks to the events of LV-426 and few references to Nostromo crew. Moreover, the voice acting felt quite convincing but at various scenes Amanda’s voice felt weak. Also, her character seems quite under-developed; but despite these flaws the story and gameplay does eventually pay off. Alien Isolation ea expected sticks to its nostalgic and horrifying intentions. It manages to offer a thrilling and riveting experience that no other monster game has ever managed to deliver.
Alien Isolation offers an incredible atmosphere of tension and fear that has been dramatically attributed to the game’s technical brilliance. With no doubt, the game has been designed keeping in mind the Gen-X systems; and the game really looks great on high-end PCs. The environments are packed with detail and offer an advanced lighting system that make the gameplay look more brilliant. Also, the developer has managed to complement the art style that replicates the original Alien movie. If you have noticed, most of the computers on board the station look similar to their counterparts from the movie; and this gives a visual aesthetic appearance to the gameplay which again is well received by the fans. The sound design in the entire manages to keep that fear in your mind, and the graphics quality offered felt best in the series.
The first hours in game has sighting of the epic monster and feel irritated for some time, but Alien Isolation’s real meat can be found in its gameplay when you get to encounter other enemies apart from the Alien; that includes Working Joe androids and other survivors. But Alien is unquestionably the main trouble in the game that you have deal with. It has an extremely dynamic AI and senses that haunts you till the end and contributes to the suspense of exploration; though Amanda has been bestowed with some tools to trick the freaky monster. With the new game, the developer has also introduced the crafting system that let the gamers scavenge the material to craft certain items like pipe bomb, smoke bomb, medikit, EMP mine and flash bang. Moreover, Ripley has been provided with a small motion detector that keeps her warned about the movie organisms apart from acting as a navigation tool as well. Stealth is the key element in the game to survive, make noise, shoot or run; you die- a horrible death. Even if you hide somewhere and Alien detects you, you die. It is kind of fun hiding yourself from the monster and other survivors. Later in the game, you can make use of smoke bomb and flash bang to trick the Alien and other enemies, but not so too long. Just keep in mind; nothing comes easily in the latest Alien game- the monster is smart than ever.
Till the time Alien was around, the game was quite horrifying but again it was quite long and draining. The game has been criticized for its time duration and length, and many gamers felt that it was unnecessary. Moreover, backtracking was a big point of contention. But the rebellion of Androids does change the pace and tone of the storyline dramatically. The game might feel lengthy and repetitive, but we think that it is a good way to get familiar with the space station and witness changes that affects the storyline. Overall, the entire events in the game feel satisfying and offer a major twist in the end. I won’t play spoiler, but before concluding I would make a point that Alien Isolation is few of the rare video games that has managed to emulate the movie experience to quite an extent.
Alien Isolation is the rare of the rarest games that delivered some great scares with graphically shocking results. It is a game that actually meets the expectation of every fans of the Alien franchise but at the same time, it is not a game that might appeal to everyone. At times, the game might irritate you for being so lengthy and backtracking, but we are sure that once you get indulged in it deeply, you are sure to enjoy your time with the Alien. But remember one thing, in the game you are not the hunter, you are the prey.