Alien: Isolation (Xbox One) Review

Price: $13.29 (Amazon)

 

 

Continuing my Alien series, I’m deviating from the path a little and instead of the next film before Covanant finally releases next Friday, first comes Alien: Isolation, a survival horror video game sequel to Ridley Scott’s original film. When I say survival horror, I mean it. This game strips you of all the convential things you’d find in a first person game. Instead of relaying on guns and ammunition, the game makes those objects few and far between and instead has you use your greatest weapon of all, your instincts. This makes for one hell of an experience and one of my favorite gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

 

Isolation takes place 15 years after Alien and puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley’s daughter, as she continues to investigate her mother’s disappearance aboard the Nostromo. When Amanda is approached by an android and told the flight recorder of the Nostromo has been located and is being held aboard the Sevastopol, a space station. When she arrives, she notices the Sevastopol isn’t what it seems and something slimy is making its way around and offing everyone. So begins Amanda’s quest for survival and answers as to what her mother came across.

 

 

 

Oddly enough, The D.C. of Aliens readded the storyline of Ripley’s daughter that was cut out of the theatrical for some odd reason and that makes this game fit so much nicer in the overall canon of the series. I absolutely adore this game. The production design, the story, the graphics and of course, the alien! Everything about it feels so authentic and it is in my opinion, the best adaptation of any movie into a game I’ve ever played. Although this isn’t a direct adaptation and instead has it’s own original story, this game takes everything great about the original Alien film and puts the player into this horrifying situation and it just feels great.

 

The best part of the game is definitely the production design because instead of trying and making their own take, they use the low-fi technology from the first film and puts it at your disposal. You as Amanda must relay on your motion tracker more than anything in the game. In order to advance, you must plan your next path by seeing just how far the Alien is in the next room. Once it is in the room, the motion tracker is a make or break tool for your survival. When the creature is out of your line of sight, you have to use your tracker in order to pinpoint where it is in the room, sometimes even being above you and creating a sense of paranoia. Adding to this paranoia is the fact that if you leave your tracker out for too long, the Alien will hear the beeping and begin to catch on come towards that area.

The Alien’s AI is some of the best ever in a video game. The way it navigates around the small corridors of the Sevastopol makes it extremely unpredictable. So much so that it’ll never stay on a particular beaten path. Sometimes it’ll be standing in the next room already and others it’ll be moving above you and slide down the vents. Never have I been so frightened and excited to see an enemy in a game before. I marvel at how great the creature looks but also just how much fun it is to try and get around the Alien and how amazing it feels to get to a save station. This game doesn’t auto save so if you don’t wanna lose hours worth of progress, saving is a necessity and I learned that very quickly in my first few hours of gameplay.

 

There are weapons in the game and they’re not useful to you when fighting the Alien, unless you get your hands on that trusty flamethrower which scares it off for a little bit. These weapons are for the Androids aboard the station which sometimes are even scarier than the Alien itself. More often then not I found myself shrieking in terror when I turned the corner and saw one of the androids with those red eyes which signifies that you really pissed it off. You have to either have a shotgun or be really good at nailing a headshot with a pistol because they’re usually extremely overpowered and for good measure. You never wanna be in a room with two because you’d be lucky to be alive, especially since the most ammo I ever had in a gun was six rounds in a revolver which is really underwhelming and makes you strategize, something I like and wish more games did. 

Another thing the game does well is start off really slow, like the film. The first two hours of the game are build-up and I thought this was a brilliant choice. The more forward progress brings more paranoia and tension are the sounds start to get louder and the bodies start to pile up. Save for one cutscene, you don’t see the Alien and even in this scene is just glimpses, adding to your fear until you do finally see it. I loved that it wasn’t some big climatic reveal either. The Xenomorph drops down and no cutscene or nothing, you’re forced to evade right from the get go and that was the best way to do it.
The game has a marvelous 3rd act that adds a brand new layer to the game and creeped me out even more. It doesn’t have this big dumb boss battle, adding up the realism and because of this, it kind of ends. I did however really enjoy the ending but wish there was like one more scene but hopefully we get more than one more scene in a sequel (fingers crossed).

While I did love the game, it is really long. Most games of this genre range from 10-15 hours and this is a 20 hour game. I said the 3rd act was marvelous but a portion of the middle section was kind of drawn out. While I never found myself bored, once you hit the 13 hour mark, the game does hit a lull. It becomes slightly repetitive and starts to do something that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Once you get to the 16 hour mark and hit that 3rd act, it picks back up but I think if they shaved like 3-4 hours off, the game would of been better off.

Alien: Isolation is a great game. It takes the great things about Ridley Scott’s classic film and creates a great continuation of the story. It’s scary, fun and intense which makes for one hell of a survival horror. Your wits are stronger then bullets and if you’re not always one step ahead of the Xenomorph, you’ll get very familiar with the portions of the game you have already played. Besides that middle act lull which still kept me invested because I wanted to know more, the game is worth picking up and playing especially if you’re a fan of Alien. Now’s a great time too to prepare for Covenant! 


Grade: 8.5/10

Pros

  • Story
  • Alien AI
  • Graphics
  • Production Design

Cons

  • Middle act gets slightly repetitive
  • Ending slightly underwhelming

 

 

 

 

Next up is Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s quesi-prequel to Alien and then Alien: Covenant!! 


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