Alien: Isolation

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Gameplay : 9/10
Graphics : 8/10

Captured atmosphere of the original film

Unnecessary backtracking

Game Info

GAME NAME: Alien: Isolation

DEVELOPER(S): The Creative Assembly

PUBLISHER(S): Sega

PLATFORM(S): PC, PlayStation4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

GENRE(S): survival horror, first-person shooter

RELEASE DATE(S): October 7, 2014

Just a day before Alien: Isolation released, I decided to watch Ridley Scott’s Sci-fi masterpiece, Alien. Even after all these years, the film is still terrifying. Much of why the film is so great, is due to the plot. A slow, burning experience filled with great intensity and cringe worthy elements. I still find myself jumping out of my seat during particular scenes(Dallas’s death). Scott did a remarkable job directing,but it’s the art and design of the film that stands out. From the the dark and gritty layout of the Nostromo to H.R Giger’s bio-mechanical design of the Xenomorph, the visuals are what make the film so special. Not to mention the great score which brings even greater intensity to the audience. Yes, Alien is top notch and one of my favorite films of all time.

Alien: Isolation, developed by Creative Assembly brings that same magic and intensity. The dim lighting, the old technology, the game is an experience that looks and feels like the 1979 classic. While the game puts you in the Alien universe, there are some aspects of the story and graphics that miss the mark. Luckily, this game’s main objective is to scare the you, which it does well. Even with its shortcomings, Creative Assembly has given audiences an Alien game that is a genuine survival horror experience.

Taking place 15 years after the events of the first film, the story centers around Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley. Ripley, who works as a technician is approached by a Weyland corp officer, who informs her that the flight recorder of the Nostromo has been found, and is being transferred to the space station,Sevastopol. Ripley immediately jumps on board the ship Torrens, which looks exactly like the Nostromo from inside. The Torrens med-bay and sleep chambers are identical to that of the Nostromo, and are even in the same location. There’s a good reason for that, as both ships are the same modal. It’s a nice esthetic, and brings you even further into the universe.

After a cliché turn of events, Ripley soon finds herself on Sevastopol. The station is rundown, grimy, and at first, appears to be abandoned. She soon finds small groups of frightened looters, and androids refereed to as Working Joe’s. Eventually, Ripley finds the recorder and is soon confronted by the Xenomorph(the alien, for those who don’t know) and must escape. The story moves at a slow pace, which for an Alien game, is something to be desired; bringing the link between the game and the original film closer. I loved the fact that my anticipation was building every step of the way before meeting the Xenomorph. Unfortunately, near the end, the plot is filled with unnecessary twists and turns. Giving you one final scare before the end. The game is long, but it’s not the length that’s bothersome, rather those unneeded elements. Overall a frightening experience to say the least, heightened even more so by the gameplay.

A tense, palm sweating playthrough, Alien: Isolation’s first-person view helps to create a more stressful situation. From the distant noise produced by the vents to the enemies scattered across the station, walking around Sevastopol make for a haunting atmosphere. The game is all about stealth, which is necessary,especially when dealing with difficult enemies. There are only three types of enemies in the game, but it works well and is not over bearing. The looters are the first enemies you’ll encounter and the easiest to take out. Depending on the area, some will be fortifying shelters throughout the ship. If spotted, the looters will not hesitate to point their weapons at you. Fortunately enough, they will give you the option to back off before firing.

Other than the Xenomorph itself, the Working Joe is hands down, the most difficult enemy to face, and should be avoided. At first, each Walking Joe appears to be a standard maintenance android, but that all changes after a particular event. Unlike the looters, the Joe’s will follow you until caught, at which point a QTE will appear in order to escape. If not done quickly, the Joe’s will kill you almost instantly. It doesn’t help that they take a massive amount of damage. So when you do encounter a Joe, it’s recommended that you break their line of sight and hide in a storage unit or air duct. Both Looters and working Joe”s are nothing compared to the Xenomorph.

A slow build for sure, the feeling I got when I first encountered the Xenomorph is indescribable. The Xenomorph should also be met with caution, as its senses for finding you are heightened. If you are found, it’s an instant death, unless the flamethrower is equipped than in which case, escaping is possible. Its random movements also make the game more authentic to the film. One thing that should be noted is that the Xenomorph cannot be killed. Some playthroughs may be different than others. That alone will increase the fear of any who picks up the controller. While the enemies of Alien: Isolation are nearly impossible to kill, there are useful items that make the playthrough a bit easier.

Like any game, collecting specialty items is a must. One of the first items that you discover is a jack. Not only is the jack used to unlock doors throughout the station, but it can also be used as a melee weapon. A Revolver, Shotgun, and Bolt Gun can also be found, making combat slightly easier. The Motion Detector can be your best friend or worst enemy. Although essential for locating the Xenomorph and other enemies, The Detector also produces a sound, making you an open target if used too often. That use of balance toughens that gameplay, but not in a bad way.

The Access Tuner is another item that must be located in order to progress. While just used to unlock doors and computer terminals, Creative Assembly made the Tuner a bit more involved. When in use, a mini game pops on to the screen. Most commonly a matching game. With a time limit involved, various symbols must be matched to crack the code. There are only a few games overall, but the change of pace is nice. On the downside, the Xenomorph can attack while in the process. Annoying for sure, but not too difficult if done with caution.

A major part of this game is crafting. Throughout the station, Ripley can collect smaller items such as Bonding Agents, Sensors, Blasting caps, ethanol etc. Combine those with a specific Blueprint and item crafting can occur. Some of the items that can be created are Noisemakers, Pipe Bombs, Med-kits, and Emp Mines. Each created item comes in handy when needed. Using a Noisemaker to distract the Xenomorph or an Emp Mine on a Working Joe, make the encounters more bearable.

To save your game, pay phones are scattered throughout the station. Usually game saving isn’t a big issue, but there were a few frustrating instances. For one thing, saving the game takes too long, especially when the Xenomorph’s movements are unpredictable. I even managed to die during this lengthy process. An auto save feature would have been a better fit, not only to decrease backtracking, but to make progression a bit easier. Saving issues aren’t the only problem with this game.

This was played on the Ps3, and though overall a good experience, there were some graphical issues to be noted. First, the overall colors, and grittiness were spot on to that of Alien. Creative Assembly couldn’t have captured the environmental atmosphere any better. Unfortunately, during cinematics, there are noticeable slowdowns, which will take you out of the experience. Same goes with voice work. Every time a character speaks, their mouth movements and voice work are out of sync. This game is not meant for last generation, but a technical hiccup such as this, should have been fixed before the release.

The game also includes a survival mode. While I only played the first available level, I noticed how much the tension increased. Beginning in a small room within the level, you must collect as many items before the game begins. When the game does begin, the main objective is to escape. An even more difficult experience due to the cramped level design. Side objectives include speed runs, collecting crew cards, and locking down particular computer terminals.

The DLC, Crew Expendable, was also a welcomed addition, taking place during the events of the first film. With Brett and Kane dead, you control either Dallas, Ripley or Parker, tasked with luring the Xenomorph into the airlock. Without giving too much away, you will encounter the Xenomorph in small spaces. While the DLC only lasts about 20 minutes, it’s enough to fill the needs of any Alien fan. The original cast is also back, including Signourney Weaver, and Tom Skerritt. If it weren’t for the cast, the DLC would have suffered dramatically. The design team deserves props for the character’s likeness to their movie counterparts. The content is a nice touch, and getting a taste of the original film, is just one more desirable trait.

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Creative Assembly took a 35 year old film and made it their own. In some ways, Alien: Isolation feels like a true sequel. From the atmosphere, to the art style, Creative Assembly hit the mark when it comes to the overall visuals. What’s even more impressive is how the developer intensified the gameplay, not just having mindless enemies,but creating a sense of hopelessness. Unfortunately, Alien: Isolation is filled with technical hiccups and voice over issues . Even more so, the game’s final act is overflowed with backtracking and unnecessary twists and turns, becoming more annoying than scary. Having said that, Alien: Isolation should only be played once, because the majority of the game, is terrifying.

Author: GameSlean View all posts by

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