14 September 2015 | markhale-22640
Ripley's believe it or not
It's risky fare for Sega to pick up such a well-known franchise in an arena it has consistently failed to flourish. H.R.Giger's trademarked xenomorph has generally disappointed upon its plentiful player-immersing platforms, a cross-over plugging plunge that has always fallen short of expectation and in execution. But, the loyal fanbase continues to exist and for those inundated (and re-inundated) by 'Alien' prequel 'Prometheus', finally there's a game that lives up to the legend. For hardcore fans of the face-hugging fiends, 'Alien Isolation' co-exists in harmonious rapture to the first film of the franchise, controlling Ripley's daughter Amanda as she investigates the Nostromo to attain closure. An absolute delight whence interweaving Scott's feature within the game's plot, with a little aid from Fox, the game literally plays like the film - the production team have picked apart every element present within the film in great detail and recreated its brooding atmosphere, lo-fi retrogradation and deliciously dread-inducing soundtrack in making not only the best ever 'Alien' based game - fact - but have created much much more. SEGA have created the 'Alien' experience. For the ardent fan, the game is a must. For the gamer, however, its a necessity.
Experiential fabrication comes at a cost - and that cost was bucking the trend. With the capabilities of next generation consoles allowing for raging wars of epic proportions to engulf the screen, armies of thousands-strong battling it out have become commonplace for these supreme mega-bit simulations. Action revels in eponymous overture, guns blazing, kill everything in sight to win. Frankly, in todays market, all out warfare sells like hot cakes. 'Alien Isolation' renders this defunct. Or at least highly recommends against it. The aim of the game is to survive - any way that you possibly can, which means being strategic, being tactical, being stealthy, being quiet. It's a virtual game of chess between you and the alien. That's not to say you can't kill anything, it's just not advised - where you'd think offing the antagonist paves the way for linear progression, it's more worthwhile (and more satisfying) to plan out your undetected escape - be it in a locker, cabinet, under a desk or in a vent - it is for the virtues of patience and preparation that you will reap reward. As a minor con, the game is rather unforgiving, continual trial and error (and many a death!) will unquestionably frustrate the player, but the gratification is so much sweeter when you finally progress.
Graphically sublime, invigoratingly fresh, poignantly tense and foreboding; the wondrous intelligence of the game urges the player onto the edge of the seat and demands concentration. It's difficult, and at times rather repetitive completing an array of missions that require the player to go back and forth to fetch an item, but it's different. It's alien.