Let’s face it Alien: Colonial Marines was an abhorrent mess. The shooting was boring, the level design was pulled from the early '90s, the difficulty level was below childish and the story was a waste of everyone’s time. Now that we have that continuously delayed mess out of the way, where does that leave fans in the hands of The Creative Assembly?
Let’s take a look at the history of these two companies. With Gearbox Software, we know they have recently excelled with the Borderlands series, but similar to the situation with Duke Nukem Forever (or should we say never) Gearbox was handed a game that just refused to be completed over so many years. Therefore, seeing as I am a great fan of Borderlands, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt concerning Duke Nukem…and Alien: Colonial Marines (though that one is hard to swallow) considering how rushed they both were.
But Alien: Isolation is in the hands of the team that has given us generations of tremendous Total War games. Can their skills with enormous scale battles in turn-based strategy heaven be transferred into the dark corridors of the Alien franchise?
Alien (1979) is without a doubt one of my all time favourite films. Its atmosphere, sound and visual design, performances and outstanding directing display not only the heights of sci-fi but of cinema itself. But are gaming company’s attempts at its replication in vain? Can such beautiful cinema be transmuted onto our consoles? Let’s take a look at what The Creative Assembly have in store for us.
Ellen Ripley's Daughter Amanda
The game is set in 2137, 15 years following the events of Alien and 42 years prior to Aliens. You play as Amanda, the daughter of Ellen Ripley, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother. However, upon her transfer to the space station Sevastopol, she discovers that an alien is on board.
Rather than opting for James Cameron’s alien style, the developers have sought a return to form in the learned ways of Ridley Scott. There is simply one alien in the entire game, one that we must constantly out-maneuver and employ stealth tactics as killing it isn’t an option. While the game does feature weapons they are only utilized against the human occupants and androids on-board.
Intelligent Alien AI = Awesome Gameplay
The alien A.I. has been effectively programmed to hunt the player with the use of all its senses, demonstrating complex behavioral designs. The alien allegedly learns from the actions of the player, altering its movements and methods of attack in order to outwit Amanda.
As we expected we are granted the traditional alien fighting tools: a torch and a motion tracker. With these in hand we must carefully navigate rooms and break the creatures line of sight as running will create far too much noise to be able to survive.
Levels are non-linear, allowing us to enter and exit the spaces as we see fit, likewise for the alien. All of this coupled with the lack of a heads-up-display demonstrate the lengths to which The Creative Assembly have gone to replicate the cinematic sensations we experienced during our initial viewing of Scott’s masterpiece.
Also, their addition of the original Nostromo team as pre-order DLC demonstrates the evil-genius side to their persona. We all want that DLC and it looks like I’ll just have to pick it up on its release date, October 7th, 2014.
Alien: Isolation will be released on PC, Playstation 3 & 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.