About a year before the initial release I got round to watching the trailer for Alien: Isolation. Well it seemed good, graphics looked great, dark shadows made it intense. Was impressed but didn’t make much of an impact. When the trailer was done I returned to playing the depressingly awful Aliens: Colonial Marines, and didn’t give it a second thought. It’s safe to say, the aliens haven’t or never really did get a proper good game except for say AvP1 and 2 which was released on the PC years ago. Still though in those games, the Predator was mostly the standout. But anyway, that’s for another review. Here we have Alien Isolation, this time leaving out the action from Aliens and taking us back to the cold dank corridors of Scott’s masterpiece.
You play as Amanda Ripley, fifteen years after her mother Ripley and the rest of the crew of the Nostromo go missing. After being contacted by a member of Weyland Yutani, she boards the Sevastopol a large space station circling the gas giant KG348. Upon arrival, not all seems right and later you find yourself alone against the alien.
So first things first. Unlike all the other games featuring the alien, this game only has one. The main drawing power is that this alien adapts to your movements. For instance, say you hide in a locker to escape but are caught, you will not be able to hide there again. The alien itself isn’t as silly as previous incarnations such as the exploding aliens in Colonial Marines who react to sound but not touch even though I was bashing it over the head…long story. No, this alien will react to even the slightest of sounds, you too will have to listen for audio cues (if it screeches, run like hell). Initially I was concerned about there being only one alien. I mean how do you stretch a two hour movie into an 8-10 hour game? Well, after a while there are more enemies. In fact, I found the androids more of a problem than the damn alien!
Weapons and ammo are severely limited so you must always plan ahead, or run, or just scream and start over. And scream you will. Many a times I was casually walking down a corridor only to be spun round coming face to face with those drooling jaws of doom. At least there are some nice kill animations here and there.
Graphics and sound are a complete love letter to the original film keeping in tone with the used and worn out look. The computer monitors display green text and look seriously dated. It’s a first person game so Ripley is only briefly seen here and there. Its main draw, the alien is everything you imagine it to be. Beautifully rendered, agile, and downright frightening. Plus this game is also available on the Oculus Rift.
The music is kept to a bare minimum rather letting the game reek of atmosphere which it does. Some of the voice talent could have done with some extra takes but a minor complaint. For the most part it works well and gets the plot from point A to B although slowly. Hell they even used the same sound effects for the doors opening and closing.
Overall, this is a successfully tense game. The Creative Assembly has done a fine job in recreating the look and feel of the original while adding a story that could be considered cannon. Expansion packs include Ripley and the rest of the original cast as playable characters. Although the slow pacing and lack of action could be frustrating to many, for me it was a welcome change.
Story 4/5 Interesting and suspenseful, could be considered canon.
Gameplay 4/5 Stealth is your ally and to pass this game you must be patient like those monks in Kung Fu movies.
Graphics 4.5/5 Beautifully rendered characters. Cool death animations too.
Sound 4.5/5 Hardly any score, just atmosphere. Will make you think you’re back in the first film.
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows