Alien Isolation Preview - You’re Never Alone

Alien: Isolation

We all know and love the series of Alien movies from back in the day. Ridley Scott’s iconic science fiction horror hybrid has always instilled fear, with the grotesque Xenomorphs that proliferate across the iconic series. In terms of games, well, let’s just say that the only series that has been butchered more than this one by gaming is Duke Nukem, or possibly Superman. The last time Sega published an Alien game, people were, uh, disappointed to say the least.

It was called Aliens: Colonial Marines, and it went through a tumultuous development cycle that ended with a half-baked mess of a shooter. It was bad, and I don’t like to say that about games, but it felt like something plucked from the bargain bin of 1994. Now, Sega is trying again, and teaming up with The Creative Assembly, a studio that has made some great games in the past. Most of them have been hack-and-slash or Real Time Strategy games, but not a shooter until now. Still, they’ve got this. At least, it looks like they do.

What’s the Pitch This Time?
This time around, the studio is taking a more purist approach to the game. Instead of making it an action shooter, they’ve billed the title as a survival horror game. This decision was made to make the game more akin to the original Alien movie from Ridley Scott, and less like the James Cameron action sequel Aliens. In this new spin on the series, the game features only a single Alien, or Xenomorph that cannot be killed.

This requires the player to use stealth tactics and careful navigation of the environments to survive. The weapons in the game will only be effective against human opponents and androids that you come across. This alone is a unique premise, but Alien: Isolation doesn’t stop there. The artificial intelligence of the Alien in the game is actually not scripted whatsoever. Instead, the creature is programmed to literally hunt the player using sight, sound and smell. The Alien will also investigate things like opened lockers or air vents.

The player does have some advantages though, lucky for you. The Alien will emit audio cues that the player can use to understand its intentions. For example, if it screams, you’re about to get attacked. Other sounds will indicate that it is searching, or has given up on your trail for the time being. As Amanda, the daughter of Ellen Ripley from the movie, you’ll have the ability to crouch and hide from the Alien. You can run as well, but the noise will be heard if the creature is close by.

Amanda will also have a motion tracker, which is iconic for the series, and a flashlight. These both can attract the Alien though, so caution is extremely important. The levels themselves are designed in a non-linear fashion, encouraging multiple paths to take for both the player and the Alien. There is also a crafting system in place that will allow players to make items and weapons to assist them on the journey.

The Creative Assembly has announced two pre-order DLC items for reserving the game in advance. Players will receive a free upgrade to the Nostromo Edition. This includes an extra mission called Crew Expendable which features the original crew of the ship where the game takes place. There is also a Ripley Edition available at certain retailers that includes the Last Survivor mission where Ellen Ripley must set a self-destruct system in place and escape from the Narcissus.

Alright, Fine, Add It to My List.
I didn’t have my eye on this game until now, I’ll be honest. For those of you who were scorned by Aliens: Colonial Marines, let the past be the past. Alien: Isolation is a wholly different beast, with a great horror focus, and some really unique mechanics for the series. I for one have to get it now, because the concept of a survival horror Alien game just makes me all giddy and nerdy. Alien: Isolation is set to release on October 7th, 2014.

What do you think though? Are you still sore about the last time Sega published an Alien game? Tell us your thoughts on this new approach in the comments!

Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 9/14/14

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