Alien: Isolation

9 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

Awesome Graphics/Gamplay | Great Sound Design | Truly Authentic World | Fun Story

Can be very challenging even on easy

Game Info

GAME NAME: Alien: Isolation

DEVELOPER(S): The Creative Assembly

PUBLISHER(S): Sega

PLATFORM(S): PS4(Reviewed), PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

GENRE(S): Survival Horror, Stealth

RELEASE DATE(S): October 7, 2014

With authentic pixelization and VCR like tracking bars on the intro movie and ship computer sequences, Alien: Isolation opens up with a truly authentic vibe. While many were disappointed with Aliens: Colonial Marines you’ll see that Alien: Isolation is a far superior game. Now, I’m going to start this off by saying I’m a huge fan of the Alien franchise so have that in your mind for context. I read the comics, watched the movies an uncountable amount of times and even read the novels. I am however not going to be one of those self righteous know it all gamers who bash an Aliens game because they think its their duty. I very much enjoyed Alien: Isolation and I’m going to be as unbiased as possible and explain why.

alien-isolation-ship

Alien: Isolation impressed me right out the gates from when I was at E3 playing a demo even to when I played the pre-release prior to the patch. The Art direction, graphics and sound design reflects Ridley Scott’s original 1979 film Alien perfectly, they nailed it on the head quite hard. Let me further clarify. From the animated DOS computer screens and sounds, down to the scan-line CRT monitors, the violin orchestra score down the sound the doors make, this team did their homework on the Alien franchise. To me the graphics were intense and beautiful. I felt like I was playing the game within the actual Alien universe and I loved every moment of it.

alien-isolation-enviornment

The one thing that I liked about Alien: Isolation and most people complained about it is that it starts off slow. I think its great and it makes sense as it establishes the plot and let’s you learn where you’re at and immerses you. This isn’t a run and gun game, it’s a game of survival. If you don’t understand that then you won’t understand how to play and will pretty much not enjoy yourself. If you go into it knowing this, you’ll have a better experience. You get the immense feeling of being isolated and alone right off the bat. You do encounter people along the way but you’re still left feeling that you’re on your own which I thought was key and it was great.

You don’t quite get all the goodies like the Motion Tracker until Mission 3 and the flamethrower and other tools don’t come until later on. The atmospheric vibe is key in this game, when vents fog out mists of air and sirens ring out you get the feeling you’re in the thick of it. Even though there isn’t an alien(Xenomorph) around in the starting levels, you don’t feel invincible, there are other things out to get you from rogue violent people trying to gather resources and survive, to androids that have different set of programming. The Xenomorph just adds to the complexity.

alien-isolation-amanda-ripley

You play as Amanda Ripley who is Ellen Ripley’s(Signorney Weaver) daughter. Amanda is definitely likable and is the definition of her mother, tough as nails. Once you do encounter the Xenomorph and it begins to stalk you around the Sevastopol space station, that is where the fun begins and the game hits its stride. This game is designed to make you feel isolated and stressed and it does an excellent job at that.

The best part about Alien: Isolation is that the Xenomorph AI is completely unscripted. This means all it’s actions, movements are all unique and generated on the fly, you won’t be able to guess what it will do like chase you down and kill you right away. Hunt you slowly, walk past you or find you hidden somewhere. This adds an extra level of complexity and realism that I absolutely love. As gamers we pick up on patterns super quick, with an AI like this, it leaves you terrified. There is no guessing what it will do so you always have to be on your game. Speaking of which, lets talk about controls.

alien-isolation-ps4-controls

On PS4(Which is what I reviewed this title on) if you hit R1, you’ll pull up your motion tracker, you won’t get this until later on, mission 3 to be exact. It’s designed very well and truly authentic to the film, you can even keep it up full time by holding R1 and adjusting your focus by pushing L2 from the foreground or the motion tracker so you can run and have it up. The top line that’s a thin bar that moves around top and left and right shows you the direction the objective is. The dots indicate movement, and the lines represent the direction of which that motion is coming from. In order to employ stealth while walking around levels make sure to push R3 to crouch and walk around. To cycle through your weapons you can use the left and right arrows on the d-pad. R2 will allow you to Melee, and is also the fire button when aiming, to aim hold L2 when cycled on a weapon. If you’re crawling around a vent pressing Triangle will turn on your flashlight but be careful because you can run out of batteries if you over use it. Square is the reload button. X will interact with objects and pick things up. Circle is the radial menu.

In the radial menu you can do quite a few things. You can select what you’d like to hold and use, Flares, your Revolver, Flamethrower, Flash Bangs, Med pack, etc. There is also an awesome crafting functionality built in game. You can collect scraps and other objects like sensors and chemicals and build yourself items you can use like med pens for your health, Flash Bangs, etc. This can come in handy when collecting items through out levels and you don’t have that item you need, well you can make it yourself. I loved that The Creative Assembly built this feature into Alien: Isolation, it comes in handy.

alien-isolation-motion-tracker

Another cool facet that people forget to mention in their review of this title is that Alien: Isolation has a mode where it ties into the camera and microphone. Since I played this on PS4, I used the PS4 camera and it will sense your movement, heavy breathing, and sounds you make and correlate them to your actions in game. So if an Xenomorph is near by and you are hiding in a closet and you are shouting or talking loud, it will hear you and come find you. I find this to add to the difficulty but it made things extremely fun. If you don’t have a camera don’t worry, it doesn’t impact overall gameplay it’s just an added bonus that makes it fun. You can still hide in the game and hold L2 to stop breathing and move the analogue stick back to scoot back in a locker or cabinet. If you hold your breath too long though you’ll gasp and start seeing stars which will lead to being found by the Xenomorph. Let’s also talk about difficulty in general. This game is very difficult on Easy Mode. When I tried it on Medium or Hard. I wanted to smash the controller in my face in real life because the Xenomorph is extremely intelligent, aggressive and resources are very limited as well. If you are a masochist then you may enjoy the harder settings, personally I enjoyed myself and the difficulty on Easy.

alien-isolation-alien

Alien: Isolation is about 15 hours of gameplay however it can be finished quicker if you employ stealth and don’t go running around guns and flamethrower a blazing like a colonial marine, although sometimes its tempting. It can also take you a lot longer if you don’t use stealth and try to brute your way through obstacles, this is a tactic I do not recommend, since you cannot defeat the Xenomorph you will only piss it off really bad and die a lot. There are a total of 18 story missions as well as Survivor mode and currently two DLC’s (Crew Expendable, Last Survivor) which I’ll talk about later in a separate reviews of each DLC.

 The Recommendation

Alien: Isolation is authentic to its universe, with beautiful graphics, sound design and accurate environments, I was greatly impressed. The game puts up one tough fight in terms of difficulty even on easy mode so you’re in for a ride but its a fun ride. If stealthy survival horrors are up your alley and you love the Alien franchise, then you’ll love this game. The controls are smooth and easy to use in stressful situations, there are over 15+ hours of content so you won’t get bored and with a whole season of DLC on its way this title has high replay value. I definitely recommend checking out Alien: Isolation.

 

 

 

 

Summary

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getamikeON
Author: getamikeON View all posts by
Managing Partner/Editor-in-chief and owner of GameGravy & NintendoFever – Mike spends most of his time working with the top brands in the Game industry & Advertising. Fun Factoid: he is also a musician and song writer. Google+ Author