Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: Alien: Isolation

So, I just finished streaming my first play-through of the incredible horror game Alien: Isolation. What follows is my review of the game, so I am giving my general fair warning, this review may contain spoilers for the game, as well as for the movies. So if you haven't seen either of them, you may want to skip this blog post. Or keep reading. You know, whichever.

This game fits in between Alien and Aliens. The Nostromo is gone, and Ellen Ripley has been missing for fifteen years at this point. Which is where you come in. You play Ellen's daughter, Amanda, who has spend the last several years looking for her mother. After years, the flight recorder of the Nostromo has been found and a helpful synthetic by the name of Samuels has decided to offer you a place on the crew going to pick it up. 

Of course, once you get there, you find all hell has already broken out, with people and androids alike acting out in their own best interests while the Alien stalks the corridors. As Amanda, you have to reunite with your cohorts, find allies among the other survivors, and make your way around the station without being horribly and brutally killed. Eventually, all hell breaks loose and you have to escape. 

Everything can kill you, from humans with guns, to androids strangling you.

This game is incredible. I don't know that any other game exists with as much real tension as this game has. Making your way through a level with the Alien stalking you through vents, rooms and corridors is as anxiety-riddled as you would honestly expect it to be. Even as frustrating as it can be, it still remains fun for the most part. 

The graphics are beautiful as well, with the ships from the movies re-created in amazing detail and for fans of the old movies, is worth playing just for the nostalgia you'll get. 

The music and sound are also expertly done, with very few unnecessary noises or music cues. 

There's really not too much good stuff for me to say about the game that hasn't already been said, or that I don't feel was already covered with "Incredible". 

That's not to say the game itself is perfect. Far from it. 

I have two main bones to pick with the game. 

The first is actually a minor control issue. The controls are pretty much standard for games these days, the only thing is the button to crouch is the right control stick which also controls where you're looking. So in particularly intense moments, where crouching means life or death, it can be relatively easy to accidentally push too hard on the stick, stand up from your hiding spot, and get a face-full of teeth. 

The other bone I have to pick is the last 30% or so of the game. It feels like two different groups were making the game at that point. The game could easily and perfectly have been ended at the 70% mark, but instead it was dragged out with little thought given to continuity or story. There is no suggestion at all that there was a queen aboard the station or that anybody went back to the planet for more eggs, so the appearance of eggs and facehuggers in the last few stages is really a bit of a headscratcher. (I considered inserting a picture of the facehugger death scene here, but, really, the game is considered M for Mature for a reason...) 

But yeah, despite those two little flaws, the game itself is solid and deserves every Game of the Year award that it compiled. I'm really looking forward to the DLC, to get even more of the story and spend more time on the edge of an anxiety attack. 

~ Shaun

1 comment:

  1. I haven't played it but I've viewed Let's Play by Markiplier. I would definitely play it if only I were a gamer in the first place. I certainly loved watching it (minus, as you say, the last bit).