Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Alien: Isolation Review


Alien: Isolation Review

Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game released by Sega for Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. After an extremely negative reception of the previous chapter, Alien: Colonial Masses, The Creative Assembly has put great efforts to give us an improved gameplay. As it is already in stores, let us thoroughly review the different aspects of this game title. 

Background and Storyline

Just like its prequel, the Isolation is based on the Alien movie series that was released in 1979. The game is set 15 years after the events of Alien (1979) and 42 years before Aliens (1986). The sole playable character of the game is Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley - a character from Alien movie. 

The overall storyline revolves around Amanda whose mother has gone missing. In search of her mother, Amanda travels to a remote space station called Sevastopol along with the members of Weyland-Yutani team. On their arrival to the ship, they come to know that the ship is breached by an Alien. 

Protagonist and Other Characters

As said earlier, the main character of the game is Amanda Ripley, a young engineer at Weyland-Yutani Corporation, who is controlled by you as first-person. Besides her, there are several other characters that play a significant role in the overall gameplay. These include Samuel and Taylor, who are a part of the Weyland-Yutani crew. 

The Sevastopol introduces a few more characters including Alex, a survivor who captures Amanda and helps her. Amanda also comes across the Colonial Marshall and his deputy - Waits and Ricardo, respectively. She then meets Marlow, who was the one to bring the Alien onboard. 

Antagonist and Other Enemies

It is quite obvious that your biggest enemy in the game is an Alien, which is an invincible creature. Besides, there are several other characters and forces that you may have to face. In fact, some of the characters mentioned above appear to be antagonists at the first place. For instance, the armed paranoid survivors start shooting as they see you. 

Sevastopol is a manufacturing facility that produces android workforce named Working Joes. At a point, these robots become violent and start hunting humans on the space station. 

Gameplay

Unlike the Colonial Marines, the gameplay of Isolation is based on horror survival rather than action shooter. It seems that the game wants to reinstate the fear element of the Alien movie. The only way to move along with the game is to survive through calamities and accomplish small tasks, simultaneously. For instance, Amanda needs to find Samuel and Taylor after reaching the space station, as all of them were separated during the spacewalk.

The gameplay is divided into sixteen missions starting from Closing the Book and ending with Tomorrow, Together. Each mission features a specific task that needs to be accomplished in order to proceed. 

The overall gameplay is extremely interesting, as the story keeps on taking new dimensions after each discovery. For me, the story ends very well. Amanda finds an entire hive of Aliens in the reactor core of space station, and is eventually the last survivor of that ship, while the ship explodes after she abandons it. A blur picture shows that Amanda walks up to a vessel, which means another chapter of the game is not far away.

Weapons and Equipment

The most basic weapon to survive on Sevastopol is Stealth Tactics. As the Alien cannot be defeated or killed, all you have to do is to hide behind walls and objects to stay unnoticed. You can also take a sneak peek or even run to escape. However, you must be very careful while doing that, as the artificial intelligence allows the Alien to actively hunt you. 

Right from the beginning, Amanda is equipped with a Motion Tracker and a Torch. With this, you can identify the movements of Alien, but again, you must be careful with them. You can also craft items of use including Med Kit, Security Access Tuner, Flare, Maintenance Jack, Head-mounted Flashlight, Smoke Bomb, Flash Bang, Noisemaker and EMP Mine.

You will also be able to find firearms in different missions to fight enemies other than the Alien, like Working Joes and Obsessed Militants. The weapons include Revolver, Shotgun, Flamethrower, Bolt Gun, Pipe Bomb, Molotov and Stun Baton. 

Collectibles and Achievements

Sevastopol is truly full of mysteries. You will find a lot of tags and logs to figure out what happened on the ship before you arrived. According to the publisher itself, there are about 50 dropped ID Tags and 161 Archive and Nostromo Logs spread across the station. 

As you continue to find collectibles, it will unlock certain achievements and trophies. For instance, 'The Missing' is an achievement that is unlocked after you collect the first ID Tag, while finding all ID Tags would lead to 'The Taken'. 

Graphics 

The Alien Isolation offers cool graphics, specially that mesmerizing view of deep space during the spacewalk. An immense focus has been put on details and consistency, setting new standards for the next-generation video games. The game is run at 1080p on Microsoft Windows and the latest generation consoles (PS4 and Xbox One). However, you may feel a slight drop in quality while playing it on PS3 and Xbox 360. Although the graphics are almost consistent across all platforms, PC users would experience superior visuals.

Price

The Alien Isolation is released with a price tag of USD 49.99. However, those who have pre-ordered the game must have received some extras and bonuses in their gameplay. For example, Nostromo Edition features an extra mission called the Crew Expandable, while the Ripley Edition includes Last Survivor mission. Moreover, all pre-orders have been upgraded to Nostromo Edition for free.

Although the overall impression of the game is good, some players are reporting DLC issues after not being able to download bonus missions promised earlier this year. The game publisher, SEGA is currently investigating the issue and may respond back shortly.

The Creative Assembly, who has lately produced world-class action, adventure and strategy games, has stepped into the horror survival for the first time. And I think it has already set an example for the upcoming games in this genre.