Coming off of an extremely disappointing showing with Aliens: Colonial Marines, Sega has a lot to prove this time around with Alien: Isolation. Footage has looked promising thus far, but we all know that the way a game actually plays holds much more precedence over its level of success. Fortunately, I was able to get some hands on experience with Alien: Isolation at this year’s E3 conference, which gave me a much better idea of what to expect when the game releases on Oct. 7. Make the jump to read up on my impressions.
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I am a major fan of survival-horror games, so you can bet that Alien: Isolation was near the top of my list when it came to playable games at E3. There’s just something so enticing about being hunted by a monstrous Xenomorph bent on making you its meal, and Isolation‘s demo at E3 did an incredible job of delivering on that sick fantasy of mine. Of all the games I played at E3, none of them made me feel as tense and absorbed as Isolation did, a sign that The Creative Assembly has gone to great lengths in order to generate a user experience that greatly mirrors Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, Alien.
My play session began in a dimly lit annular room in which I was able to pick up a variety of different materials. I tried playing around with the crafting wheel, but the demo didn’t offer any instructions on how to create new items, so I wasn’t able to create anything new. I was, however, able to use a flamethrower – the best way to repel the game’s Alien – and some sort of wrench, which was great at providing a false sense of security when faced by two sets of snarling jaws. Still, the best defense against the clutches of the Xenomorph ended up being the ability to hide in the proper places while using the motion tracker to keep tabs on its sporadic movements.
I was a bit upset to discover later that the demo I played was actually a challenge level, mainly because it was nearly impossible for me to reach my end goal of “escaping the area.” Usually, I’m all for an increased level of difficulty in a game, but it felt like a bit much in Alien: Isolation. No matter how careful I was, the Alien was always one step ahead of me, making the smallest mistake calamitous. But despite my frustrations, I was still able to observe some of the finer elements of Sega’s upcoming Alien game, the most prominent of which being its ability to put me on edge constantly. If Alien: Isolation were a roller coaster, it would translate into one massive climb before a heart stopping drop, a feeling similar to being abruptly killed by the game’s Alien after nearly 20 minutes of sneaking and hiding. Yeah, that happened to me…a lot.
But nearly wetting myself multiple times after being surprised by Isolation‘s Xenomorph wasn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, the cunningness and competence of the game’s AI ended up lending itself to Isolation‘s malevolent charm. As the title suggests, I really did feel isolated and scared for my life while trying to navigate the dimly lit halls of the game’s space station. Whether I was hiding in a ventilation shaft with my motion tracker out or compressing myself into the confines of a locker, I never truly felt safe from the Xenomorph’s shadowy presence – a true testament to the creature’s design and behavioral patterns, which ended up being nearly impossible to predict.
Combined with music that intensified as the Alien got closer and a grainy film effect – reminiscent of Scott’s 1979 Alien – for an added sense of realism, Alien: Isolation had me on edge from the moment I picked up the controller. So long as the actual game ends up being a bit more intuitive than the challenge level, I have no doubt that it will provide one of the best horror experiences, and Alienvideo game experiences, fans have seen in quite some time. Just be sure to buy some extra pairs of underwear before you purchase the game. You’re definitely going to need them.
If you have any questions concerning Alien: Isolation, please leave them in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
This article was originally posted on GenGAME.net