Gemma ~ @juicygamereview
Over the last few weeks I've been sat on my sofa with my Turtle Beach P12 headset strapped on playing the shit out of Alien Isolation. I sat in on the developer session at Eurogamer back in September and I made a point of asking the following question afterwards "We all know that Colonial Marines was a failure. With that failure, what pressures did you feel in delivering the Alien we have all been waiting for?" I learned that Alien Isolation was being developed by Creative Assembly long before the release of Colonial Marines and the dev team had their own drive to deliver. But it is worth the hype and did they deliver?
I've heard complaints about the game being too linear. Here's my take on this. Overall, I did not find the campaign linear at all. Whilst the game requires certain tasks to be completed in order to progress, I found myself with a lot of choices to make. There were numerous corridors to choose which route I should go and choices between combat style, namely, to run and gun or stealth? If you add the varying levels of tensity to the campaign, I found this to overrule the more linear aspects. Have you ever played a game that doesn't hold your concentration because it's boring and linear? Playing Alien Isolation is not like that. I felt very alert and engrossed which helped me to maintain my focus the quieter areas of the game.
Graphically, this game packed some serious taste. Cut scenes in particular showcased the refined details on the faces of Amanda and her team. Skin pores, stubble (no, not on Amanda), wrinkle lines and blemishes were all present, adding to reality of the experience. During the live game play, I felt insanely happy with the smoothness of the frame rate alongside the glorious graphics. Oooohhhh could it get any better?
We know that our main protagonist is Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley and the story is set 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years before Aliens. I thought that this was the perfect recipe for Alien Isolation as we are not given much information about Amanda Ripley in the films.
I purchased the Ripley Edition of Alien Isolation which came bundled with the Crew Expendable and Lone Survivor Ripley DLC. I dived straight in to the main campaign before anything. Instantly, I felt a buzz when I heard the amazing sound effects and iconic music. Creative Assembly were given access to the actual sound files from the original film so I knew that I was hearing some first class Alien nostalgia. I found the sound effects and music score to an absolute impeccable aspect to the game. Those sounds of falling water droplets hitting metallic surfaces, the loading of a new canister in to the flame thrower and the intermittent beeps of the motion tracker all added to the tense atmosphere of Alien Isolation. I would highly recommend that you play Alien Isolation using a headset as I found a truer immersion.
Writing this without any spoilers is difficult but let's just say that the introduction of the Alien was timely! I felt that it was introduced at the right point in the game which was not too early and not too late. At this point, the game dynamic changed for me. Be warned that you'll need to change your tactics in order to progress through the dark, labyrinth of Sevastopol. Creative Design did a good job a mimicking the fright brought on by the Xenomorph. Here's a small gripe, I felt that the Alien seemed too agile at times. I remember it as a stealthier creature in the original film and I would have hoped that this would have been captured more. Nonetheless, the Alien still packs a bloody punch. If I made the slightest sound or came in to its view, I was toast. It looked great, sounded the part and showed no mercy at all.
The Sevastopol felt like a dangerous place when the lights went down. Creative Design were granted access to stills and footage from the original set design so the environments seemed absolutely spot on. From medical decks to locker rooms, hyper sleep chambers, kitchen areas and the 70's style computer terminals, Alien Isolation had it all. I was so pleased with the like for like nature from Alien. Practically, my navigation skills seemed to fail me at times. I felt overburdened with too many corridors and passage ways. I used the map a lot which helped me to plan my way but the constant switching to the map made me lose my tempo at times.
Overall, Alien Isolation definitely lived up up to the hype. Aside from a few of my own picky issues, I was absolutely hooked on the atmosphere of this game. The beauty lies within blending of the sound on top of the game play. The final product is fantastic! Alien Isolation deserves a 9 out of 10 from Juicy Game Reviews.
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