Does Alien: Isolation finally get it right?
Apparently, in space no one can hear you scream.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for my living room, prompting the wife to investigate if all was well with her resident man-child. I’d been previewing the PC version of Alien: Isolation, which is possibly one of the most terrifying games I’ve ever played.
And after the disappointing Aliens: Colonial Marines this game definitely seems to be a step in the right direction.
Alien: Isolation is a first-person stealth-action game set between Ridley Scott's original Alien movie and its sequel, Aliens.
The developer, Creative Assembly, has made a genius design decision when it comes to how the game looks.
In recreating the 1970's retro-future of the movie, Alien: Isolation has been given a very unique visual style that really sets it apart. The result is game with stunning visuals that look like they are straight out of the original movie.
Players take on the role of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley from the movies, on a quest to find out exactly what happened to her mother.
The preview jumped straight into the game with Amanda looking for a medikit to help her injured colleague. I was not party to the events that went on before, but from the blood and body-bags, it wasn’t nice.
In exploring the level, I came across a doctor looked in his office. Through his window he offered me a deal to get us both to the medical centre. All I needed was a password and a keycard.
The password was on the supervising doctor’s computer in his office. Easy. Just as I left the room a recorded voice warning of a containment breach sounded out.
In front of me a roof panel crashed to the ground. As I backed off and ducked around a corner I could see the alien as it gracefully lowered itself to the floor. After checking its surroundings the creature walked off.
This was pretty much the core of preview experience: me with things to do in a fairly constrained location and a seven foot tall alien xenomorph hunting me down.
Just as you’d expect from an Alien game sans marines, the game’s titular alien is unstoppable. It doesn’t like fire and can be distracted. But if it spots you, it’s coming for you. And if it catches you it’s going to kill you.
You need move careful and that’s when the motion detector comes in handy.
The developer hasn’t totally ignored Cameron’s Aliens, as Ripley wields a more compact version of the motion detector that’s a far cry from the bulky device that her mother used in original movie.
Watching that blip approach on the screen and listening to the corresponding and intensifying beeps is terrifying.
When looking at the motion detector a very cinematic focus effect is employed by the game, blurring the view ahead. It makes sense and, when the alien is close, adds at extra bit of stress to an already tense situation.
Too many times I put the motion detector down only to turn and find the alien - which I thought was in the duct above - standing right next to me.
Like a 1940s B Movie Alien: Isolation should carry a health warning advising those with heart conditions to stay right away.
The game is so atmospheric, I couldn’t actually bring myself to take the obvious chances that I needed to make and instead found myself cowering in corners a lot of the time.
On the odd occasion that I was brave enough to move about whilst the alien was stomping around, it usually ended in tears, or rather little yelps.
But it’s not just you verses the alien. During the preview I also came across deranged humans and killer androids that were just as deadly.
There were also a few puzzles that I'd like to say broke up the tension- but they don't. The alien could be lurking around every corner or in any open duct shaft.Whilst action fans may struggle with all the sneaking required of them, stealth fans are going to have a ball working out different ways of moving past the alien.
Alien: Isolation is a fantastic-looking game that looks like being a return to form for the franchise when it comes out on 7th October for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.