Alien: Isolation

Isolation is probably a strong word

What. A. Game. A far cry from Colonial Marines (*shudder*). Looking for your next favourite horror game? Then look no further. Oh, and don’t play it on a full bladder.

To kick this all off I think we have to acknowledge how beautiful, and astoundingly loyal to the films, this game is. I’m not usually one to be too picky over how graphically superior one game or console is to the next (although, like most, I like my games to look as nice as possible), but here I would say get the beefiest computer, or the most advanced console you can to truly appreciate just how gorgeous your experience would be. From silent, hostile, space vistas, viewed through the perfect amount of windows; spaced infrequently so that one view is never exactly the same as another and the not so often that you become numb to the scenery. Then you get the variable and interesting interior settings, complete with sections in various states of decay and of course glistening blood trails. It’s the interior that truly grabs your attention, setting aside the obvious fact that you will spend most of your time here, I mean come on, you’re on a space station, it’s not like you’ll have many other options (stress on the most of your time). Die hard fans will notice the key details that make it seem so loyal to the films: from the mixture of modern and 80s tech such as computer screens in blocky text with few pictures, and when pictures are present they seem faded with the light scale way too high. Then the androids, to androids from older sci fi flicks that seem barely human, with one notable and familiar exception. You jump in straight away to a familiar scene, and one that woke the butterflies, and a cartoonish grin over this particular bloggers face. You are aboard the Torrens, a later model of the Nostromo, the ship that Ellen Ripley is serving on in the first Alien film. You then transverse a limited difference in terrain, even here though, the game surprises, as they change in condition, lighting, and content enough to seem different at each angle, meaning each mission is never dull.

Medbay
A recreation of the medbay of the first films, brilliant levels of detail

 

Any fan of the first Alien film will be struck by the amazing recreation of the medbay, with so many tiny details, you almost feel as if you’re in the film!

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One of the beautifully rendered hallways which never get dull

 

One of the hallways you will become used to, and terrified of for the lack of hiding places. Better pray that doorway has a locker in.

As I am risking far too much time splurging on the beauty of the game we’ll move onto the gameplay, one aspect of which does unfortunately let the game down. Starting with this negative, the controls. The controls are incredibly clunky, no matter what platform you play them on. There are certain aspects that are enjoyable every time you use them, such as the basic crafting system (which can get ever so slightly irritating after a point when that one bloody component will not go into place) and the interesting button combinations for using the jack to open doors, using handles or the plasma torch. However, on a play-through on the Xbox One, the item selection wheel is a nightmare, as is getting used to the hacking console system of aligning the bars.

There is however one particular part of this game that redeems these features. The Alien. Frankly, because most of the time you don’t notice these irritants as you’re more concerned about losing your face.

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The ultimate predator, hunting it’s favourite prey

 

Your enemy is utterly terrifying. All know him to be the ultimate predator; a combination of human intelligence, heightened senses and pure animal killing instinct. This guy scares the utter crap out of me. I am amazed by the incredible AI programming, with no set paths and no regulation to when he is going to appear, and for that I love this xenomorph. But I hate it. I fear and hate this thing. On it’s first appearance I spent half an hour in a 50 metre stretch of corridor, moving from under a bed, to a cupboard, to another bed, then back again when I thought it might see me. For half an hour. Eventually I grew some balls and made a move to put in the code. And then I was violently shanked by this crazy bitches tail. And the whole sequence starts over. Good god do I hate this thing. But you will be left in utter awe when you meet it, and probably not be able to play it for more than an hour, hour and a half tops, without suffering from some form of cardiac arrest. The game comes with a fear warning and an 18 label, really not enough. If you have a heart condition I strongly advise avoiding this game, if not then play away at your own risk.

The story itself is very immersive, if a little tangled at points, and the use of the scanner as a way to find your objective is creative, although not immediately obvious or notably explained, I didn’t notice this feature until half way through the game! Overall though, it is a thoroughly enjoyable, gripping and utterly terrifying experience, with points of tension you could cut with a knife. And you really don’t see one of the twists a couple of missions before the end.

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Up close and personal with a flamethrower and your least favourite re-occurring character

 

One of the familiar scenes from the film, re-enacted in first person! Spooky!

One final congratulations is deserved by the soundtrack and general sound composers, the soundtrack featuring many familiar tunes and clips from the films, and the sounds truly terrifying: the Alien makes a ‘chuff’ sound, presumably a modulated tigers, and when the Alien disappears from your tiny field of vision in that locker, try not to jump when the noise comes from behind you. Oh and a word to a wise, don’t wear headphones, bloody terrifying to hear it scream at you whilst your examining a body.

In conclusion, buy this game. Aside from the already mentioned fantastic artwork, graphics and scenery, brilliantly terrifying gameplay, and riveting storyline, you have the multiple optional dlc, one of which allows you to play through the first Alien film as one of 3 characters! On top of that is the intense survival mode, one that I’ve barely lasted half an hour on.

If I haven’t convinced you, then read through the reviews here: store.steampowered.com/app/214490/, where you can also, conveniently, purchase the game for pc.

Oh, and yes, there are facehuggers.

Cheers for reading, if you have any feedback I would love to hear what you have to say, as ever! And I wish you luck. Remember ‘Running causes accidents.

The Maile Online

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Get used to that shadow… and the bodies
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