Alien: Isolation Review
Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers here to share my thoughts on Alien: Isolation by The Creative Assembly and SEGA. I received a copy of the game for review purposes back in 2014 on my old website UGR but like all of my reviews, this had/has no effect on my thoughts and experiences with the game. This review is another transfer from my old website UGR, updated and corrected.
Alien: Isolation is a first person horror game set in the Alien franchise. It puts you in the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter to Ellen Ripley, who’s set out on a mission to unravel the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance. The game takes place 15 years after the events of the first Alien movie and 42 years before the events that take place in Aliens. The game is modeled after the first Alien movie instead of the more action oriented Aliens in not only the survival horror gameplay but also the technology that you find throughout the game. All of the computers and other technology you come across such as door locks and the hacking tool are all based on technology used in the 1979 classic. Many of the actor’s from the original movie reprise their roles in the various voice recordings you find and the characters themselves. Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as Ellen Ripley, Tom Skerrit as Arthur Dallas, Yaphet Kotto as Dennis Parker and Veronica Cartwright as Joan Lambert to name a couple.
Once you begin the game you’ll begin your mission aboard the Torrens as Amanda is recruited to come along on a mission to retrieve a data recording left by her mother. The game truly begins when the team boards the Servastopol station where the voice recording is located. After the mission to land goes awry Amanda is separated from her team mates and must make her way through the space station alone. It isn’t until she encounters the alien that she realizes that she is in grave danger and must fight to survive with the alien actively hunting her. The alien isn’t the only enemy that she’ll have to survive against as there are a group of looters on the station actively killing any outsiders and civilians they come across.
Throughout the game there are many weapons and handy tools that you’ll acquire to gain access to new areas and to help combat your enemies. One of the first weapons you’ll acquire is a giant wrench that doubles as both a weapon and tool to unlock doors. Another early weapon is the revolver which can be used to combat enemies. It has no effect on the alien however so it’s suicide to even try. It’s also worth noting that ammunition is limited so its best to save it for situations that really call for it. Firing a gun can also attract the attention of the alien so it’s not a good idea to use them very often. You’ll also acquire a hacking tool early on that allows you to override door locks or access locked computers. Hacking is quite simple, all you have to do is use the mouse to find the entry point then enter the sequence shown on the screen. Other tools and weapons include a flamethrower, plasma torch, gas torch and the shotgun.
Stealth plays a very large role in the game and sneaking around will go a long way to keeping yourself alive while being hunted by the alien. The faster you move the more noise you’ll make causing the alien to follow your movements and ultimately kill you in the process. Crouching is the best way to move around as it keeps you out of sight and lessens the amount of noise you produce. The AI that governs the alien is quite impressive and will hunt you based on 3 areas, sight, sound and smell and will actively hunt you from all angles. You’ll need to use the motion tracker to keep track of enemy movements but doing so creates sound by which the alien will be able to find you. There are areas that you can hide in like, underneath desks or inside lockers and cabinets. There will also be times where you’ll need to hold your breath to avoid detection while inside a locker or cabinet. Failure to do so will cause the alien to detect you and you will die. If you do encounter the alien in the open… you’re as good as dead because it is swift and deadly. It will also one hit kill you if it catches you so it’s definitely best to avoid it.
The game also features a crafting system where you can create useful items using materials found throughout the game. Many items will require you to find the blueprint before you’ll be able to craft the item. .There are various types of items that you can craft including healing items, flashbangs, molotov cocktails, flares and an emp mine to name a couple of items.
All of the missions and areas that you explore are open-ended in nature, featuring multiple access points and ways to combat enemies. There are many different approaches to each situation and adapting to each will keep you alive for long periods of time. One way you could approach a situation where there are multiple enemies is use a flashbang on human targets to attract the alien towards them and you could bolt for the next area before it can see you, or you can sneak through the vents to reach the other side while staying in cover.
Overall, Alien: Isolation is a lovingly crafted survival horror game that’s been one freaky experience. It’s also been the most authentic game in the Alien franchise that I’ve ever played and it really captures the feel of the series perfectly. It’s been an amazing journey that I can’t recommend high enough and if there’s one horror game to play this year then it’s this game.
Thanks for reading my review folks and I’ll be back with my next review soon, until then, happy gaming folks!
Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) out!