Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Alien: Isolation

I’ve never been this excited yet worried for a game in my entire life. After the absolute pile of shit that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, my expectations for Alien: Isolation were never going to be huge. But surely it couldn’t be any worse, could it? No. This is simply one of THE best games I’ve ever played. 

Developed by the Creative Assembly and out now for Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC comes Alien: Isolation. The game is set in 2137, 15 years after the first film in the franchise. The game follows Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley. You are transferred to Sevastopol to find the flight recorder of the Nostromo, only to discover an Alien is on board. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I basically tensed up when I saw an enemy for the first time. That’s how I felt when I encountered the Xenomorph.

After you first encounter the Xenomorph, it’s everywhere. If you run or make a noise, trust me before you know it’ll you’ll let out a squeal while frantically trying to sprint, and you'll often end up getting impaled by its tail. It’s like when you’re trying to sneak downstairs at 3am while your parents are asleep. Dropping a piece of cutlery sounds like there’s a brass band in your kitchen, and that pretty much sums up what sprinting in this game is like to the Xenomorph. Not only is it everywhere, but also when it’s hunting you, you need to keep moving slowly. If it notices an open door/vent, it’ll hunt for who opened it. This could work to your advantage as you can trick it into thinking you walked through an area, but if it’s a genuine escape route, it’ll be on your tail without a doubt. You can also listen to the sounds the Alien makes, which is another key factor in surviving, as they’ll determine whether it’s coming to kill you or retreating.

The Xenomorph isn’t the only enemy you’ll come across either. You’ll come across some human enemies with guns, but they are nothing compared to the Working Joe androids. If they detect you, they’ll constantly remind you that you’re in the wrong area and won’t stop in their attempt to kill you unless you kill them first. Being in an area filled with Working Joes and knowing you can’t sprint is a very tense situation to say the least.

The sound in this game is absolutely perfect. It sets the tone and really does get your heart racing. There’ll be parts when you’re just walking around then the music will all of a sudden kicks in with a crescendo. The first thought to run through my head was always “Oh god, oh god, where the f*ck is it!?”, for it ultimately not to be anywhere near me. The game music really messes with you, and that atmosphere is prominent from start to finish. Unbelievable.

The overall gameplay can feel quite clunky to start with as the general movement does feel slow, but that’s something you’ll get used to quickly. That's how you should probably play the game – slowly. You can also crouch behind cover, which will obviously break the enemies line of sight, but being able to peek around the corners you’re hiding behind is once again a fantastic feature and key to surviving. The visuals are gorgeous too, with touches like lights constantly flickering and dynamic shadows adding an extra level of Alien authenticity.

The only problem I did come across with the game was minor graphical hiccups. The cut-scenes lagged (although I’ve heard this does not happen on PC), and I honestly thought that it was going to be like Colonial Marines all over again. However, this is something they’re creating a patch for, so not to worry. Another instance was that Ripley glitched, and when I looked down I could see inside her body (invisible of course), the same way you do when you crawl into dead bodies on Call of Duty.

 Overall, Sega had one chance to save the Alien game franchise and excuse my French, but f*ck me they nailed it. The Creative Assembly have done a fantastic job here, and this is probably the best game I’ve played on PS4 to date. The graphics are brilliant, the atmosphere is even better, and it is the epitome of the stealth survival horror genre.

Alien: Isolation receives a 5/5, not only because it’s the best game I’ve played in quite some time, but because it’s made me forget about Colonial Marines!


Sam Terry

Alien: Isolation at CeX
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