Alien: Isolation - A review from Kyo.
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shadowDOESrock
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« on: October 16, 2014, 05:17:47 PM »

Alien: Isolation.

A Game that certainly had it's fair share of sceptisism carrying around. It's was not long ago when Sega, together with developer Gearbox, released the highly anticipated Videogame in the famous Aliens Universe titled 'Aliens: Colonial Marines'. As all of you know, it turned out to be one of the biggest dissapointments in gaming next to Duke Nukem Forever and Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. A horrible story, that could've directly come from a teenagers internet fanfiction. Bland presentation running on a decade old engine and gameplay that would've already been considered broken a bland when Aliens vs Predator 2 came out in 2001. Who even truly developed that game? Seriou- but, I digress.

Alien: Isolation impressed early on with fantastic graphics and a really neat concept. As mentioned before, there was a lot of spectisim around, because of Colonial Marines original showing. But as time went on, the Game shaped up to look as if it were not only the best Aliens-based video game out there, but generally one of the better releases this year? Did it deliver?

Yes. Yes, it thankfully did.

This Game, from the get go, emits a special feeling as all the logos look as if they were played off a VCR. You're dropped into this just breathtakingly beautiful start screen and hear that iconic undescribable noise the... something... makes and you're already sucked into it.


The Sevastopol hovers elegantly alone in the distance.

The Game starts out rather simple, you explore this vessel called the Torrens, where you meet your team members. You're all working for Weyland-Yutani and are heading for the Space Station Sevastopol, to retrieve the newly found black box of the Nostromo, the ship Ellen Riply was on in Alien. You're playing as her daughter, Amanda, who joined this whole farce to find out what happened to her Mother. Things quickly get out of hand as they try to board Sevastopol and an explosion during boarding makes them split up.

This Cutscene is accentuated by the wonderful sound design, as it only lets you hear what Amanda could actually hear, giving you a really Isolated (hah) feeling. Onboard the Sevastopol Station, you quickly realise that something has gone horribly wrong. Almost like a floading ghost city. For quite a while you're walking around Sevastopol slowly, reading news logs on computers and hearing nothing but fantasticly done ambien noise. You hear every little thing that you would hear in such a ship. You might even hear a cat meowing in the distance at some point. The fantastic minimalistic HUD and the sometimes in uncanny valley falling visuals simply make this game look fantstic. These are some of the best textures and lighting effects I have seen in ages. The Art Direction is amazing, perfectly capturing the low-fi vibe of the Alien Universe. From the lights, radio, music, sounds, screen and panels - everything looks like out of the 70s, sounds like out of the 70s and everything is manual. No touch screens and weird holograms. A actually not often seen setting in videogames, let alone movies nowdays. But, this is also has cons which I'll get back to. And there is so much detail in everything, it's amazing that they even managed to pull it off. Not one single room is left untouched or simply copy/pasted.


An empty control room on the Sevastopol

It takes a while until you encounter someone else: Scared Humans. They're prone to attack, but don't shoot immediately. Hell, maybe they're just scared and don't do anything at all. And some take no chances. And this is one of the things that makes this games so great. All the humans on board do not feel like random NPCs. They feel like Humans. You do not have fight anyone. You might go around the corner and find a scared man, who suddenly finds himself pointing a gun at you, telling you to just go away. All of this happens without ever taking the control away from you.

As time goes on you start to realise that something is here, but you never see it. This builds an massive amount of tension up the point the Alien appears for the first time about 2 to 3 hours in. And that's when the game truly starts to grip you. The Alien is unrelenting, strong, and intelligent. You can't kill it. And it kills you in a single hit. The Motion Tracker becomes you're bestest friend, as it shows near movement. However, even that might does not make you feel safer, as you see the dot suddenly going towards you, only to realise it's a level above or below you. And if you make too much noise, the Alien might realise where you are and set up an ambush. Coming out of one of the many hinding places Sevastopol offers.  Not only that, but the motion tracker blurs your vision. Your vision strictly focuses on the Motion Tracker, and not what is behind it. It doesnt sound like a big deal, but in the tight and dark places of Sevastopol, it is, as you need to pin point where exactly the alien is. While having the motion tracker equipped you can press the back bumper to either focus on it or the background. This game also lacks auto-save, so if you die, you have to go all the way back to the last saving point, which sometimes might be up to 15 minutes apart, if you do not look around.


It's right there. Don't tell me you can't see it?

You'll gather and can craft many tools during the lengthy 15 to 20 hour campaign. Like a Noisemaker to lure the creator into a direction. You could also throw it into the direction of other humans, so that Alien starts attacking them, and thus giving a major timley advantage. You can also do this by simply shooting with a gun into their direction and quickly walking away, as they start to shoot at you and search you, making noise. Noise always attracts the alien.

Similar to Metroid you wont be able to enter doors, regions and what not until you find the right tools. It is really tense standing next to door which you have to loudly cut open, as you hear the Alien walking around above you or screaming in the distance. No where is safe. Even at the saving points, the game will simply warn you that an enemy is nearby.

However, later on, you'll get into a region where there is no Alien. This is where combat against Androids becomes prevelant. (Although you already fight them sometimes before). The Androids are strong, almost unkillable until you fight the right tools. They slowly walk down the hallway, but always call closeby androids to gang up on you. Unlike the Alien though, they do not one-hit kill you. The Game then stats mixing both the Androids and the Alien, creating a weird dynamic where you sometimes have to take down the androids while being scared that the Alien might hear you. It is better to not fight them if you can, and to safe your found and crafted items for when there really is no other way. The Androids are relly creepy themselves. Unlike the ones we know from the movie universe and made from Weyland, these Seegson Adnroids are supossed to be cheap. And that's how they look. With their eerily not-moving rubber faces (especially next to the actually quite emotive humans in this game) and their before mentioned slow walk. They look so fragile, but are able to throw you across the room, as if you were nothing but a mere pretty doll. They walk through flames and continue to chase you regardless of them being set on fire.


A Seegson android - just a bit too close for my liking.

And this is the point where I realise I have been writing so much about this game and didn't even properly get into the Gameplay yet. That's how memorable this entire package is. Now, as I mentioned before, the low-fi art is great, but it comes with a con that might ironically feel really dated for videogames. Buttons and Switches. You'll be pressing a lot of buttons and switches. They try to spice things up adding QTE movements (like pressing both sticks down for a switch that requires both hands) and it's a really considerable effort - and you'll love it if you're into the universe, as that's just how it is. But, for someone whose pations is low and is just here to enjoy a good game on his gaming system and doesnt care for the universe, it might get really annoying. I should also note (if it wasnt clear before) that this game is really slow. There's a lot of waiting, walking and hiding. Not because it tries to artificially lengthen the game, but because that's the style of this world and the way it tries to immerse you in it.

Now, I already mentioned how the Alien behaves, and a few gameplay elements surrounding it, but not the meat it of it all, although you might've come to the conlusion already: This is almost a pure stealth game. You have to be nimble and fast, yet not loud. You have to hide in lockers - sometimes even have to hold your breath, as the alien stands right before it - under tables, in closests. It is tense. And both the Alien and the Androids can still find you in your hiding places, even if you didn't hide directly in their field of view. More so the Alien than the Androids. You'll be able to craft smoke bombs, and molotov cocktails later to obscure the view or scare the alien away respectivly. But even that isn't guareteed to work. The Alien isn't dumb. If there's just one path It'll get you anyway. If the Molotov isn't nicely thrown it'll just run through the flames. The best part is, the Alien learns. If you start to overuse a method, it starts realising that this is from you. That one perosn that keeps escaping. And it'll start to try more ways to get you.


Yes, there's even little details in the lockers.

All in all, this is an amazing experience. Not only is this the most moody and tense game I have played since Silent Hill 2 (and yes, this includes Dead Space and Amnesia), but one of the better games I have played in ages. There have been games that tackled a similar concept like the Amnesia series and Outlast, and the unkillable, chasing enemy thing has been done before (Resident Evil 3), however none came close to this feeling of being terrified and having endless fun before. And unlike those, this game doesn't need to disort your screen when the monster is coming, and it doesnt need loud creepy noises or jump scares to scare you (Although there are some). It scares because it is marvelous design. On top of that it also offers a lengthy and quite challenging campaign. Maybe sometimes too challenging. This game is ment to played on Hard. Even the game recommends hard mode. If you do not like to be challenged in terms of problem solving, I certainly wouldnt recommend this title. And while I have almost been raving about title, I do have one complaint. The Ending. You'll get dropped into this really epic and tense final level, with a really satisfying ending -- but there's one small segment after that Level. An Epilogue, if you will... which, yeah, kind of sorta a little bit really hints at a sequel... Now, while this might have been a fantastic game, I doubt it could sustain itself for another go. This certainly should've been a one-off title - but if they wait for long enough, the lust for Alien will certainly return.

I may have no writing degree, but trust me when I say what Creative Assembly created here, for me, is not just the best Aliens-based game out there, but a modern gaming masterpiece.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/FLezXTCuznU&rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/FLezXTCuznU&rel=0</a>

I give Alien: Isolation a 9 out of 10.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 06:58:42 PM by Crystal Candy » Logged
shadowDOESrock
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2014, 02:11:48 AM »

Or simply this:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/glG-Lq6170c&rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/glG-Lq6170c&rel=0</a>
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Hakudamashi
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2014, 04:18:04 AM »

You watch Caddy?
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