Game Review: Alien: Isolation

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Alien_IsolationIf you or your offspring enjoyed the original Alien film, this review is something you’ll want to read. Otherwise? Run.

Everyone else? Hide.

Title: Alien Isolation

Genre: First Person Stealth Horror… yes, that’s a lot of genres.

Platform

Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

Story

Ellen Eipley, of Alien, has been missing in action for 15 years since the events of that film. Her daughter, Amanda, is looking for her, and may have a clue to what happened — the flight recorder from Ellen’s ship, Nostromo,  has been found.

However, that clue may eat her.

Amanda signs on to a Weyland-Yutani expedition to the Sevastopol station, where the recorder has been kept. When they arrive, everything has already hit the fan. The humans on the station have turned on each other, and a ten-foot tall black alien is stalking the halls, killing anyone that crosses its path.

Your mission: get out alive.

Mechanics

Press one stick to crouch / sneak (most of the game will be in this position).

Press and hold the B button to open a menu, move the left stick to select and item, and if you want, hit the Left Bumper to craft that item.  Yes, it is awkward. But you get used to it.  The crafting items include smoke bombs, noisemakers, pipe bombs, and other things that will annoy the alien hunting you.

To draw down with your amazingly useless handgun, press and hold the left trigger, and to fire, press the right.

Yes. It’s complicated.

But wait, there’s even a hiding mechanic.  Yes. If you’re hiding in a locker from the alien (which you will do a lot) first you press the left trigger for Amanda Ripley to hold her breath, and then you pull back on the left trigger to press against the back wall of the locker … however, this manuever will drain health, and you’ll need every last ounce of it.

Gameplay

Hide. A lot.  Hide from the alien, hide from other humans, and hide from the crazed killer robots called Working Joes.

If the alien finds you, you die. You can run, but not very far.

If the humans find you … you might be able to take one or two of them. More will simply end you.

If the androids find you, first you have to stun them with a shock baton, and then either shoot them in the head or beat them to “death” with a hammer.

And dang if it isn’t the most tense, tight game I’ve played in a while.  Death comes easily and sometimes quickly … and often.  Yup. You’re gonna die. A lot.

Oh, by the way, there are no automatic save points. And if you don’t save, it will not be fun.

Music/Graphics

The graphics are stunning.  Bravo.  The lighting? Beautiful. The alien? Marvelous.  The space outside the station? Amazing. The lighting is a character all by itself.

The character designs?  Eh. I’ve seen worse. I’ve also seen better.

The music  only enhances the pure terror.  I played with a group of people, all adults, and it scared the heck out of them.

Morals/Appropriateness

Do you know someone who likes scary movies? Then this will be perfect for them, because this game is terrifying.  I would be hesitant to recommend this to ANYONE unless they enjoy being terrified.

There is language in this game that includes four-letter words. However, they’re hard to remember, as I didn’t spent a lot of time listening to the people around me, and mostly listening for alien footsteps.

Community/Multiplayer

Nope.

Addiction Danger

None. Because multiple character deaths may lead to controls being hurled across the room. And I was playing on easy.

Problems/Ending Comments

This was a fun game, and though the controls are awkward at first, and the language is a bit strong, I would recommend it.

ESRB Rating: M for Mature.  Blood, Strong Language, Violence.  Except the blood is black, not red, and despite the language, I honestly didn’t notice it.

My Rating: 8/10, a great game. Very well designed, but unless you like being challenged, scared, and exercising lots of patience, this may not be for you.

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Copyright 2014 John Konecsni

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