Alien: Isolation Review
CIVILIAN: "I wonder what the kids are doing right now." Seeing as how I spent most of October losing my mind, I figured it would be a good time for a brain cleanser. Alien Isolation is a game that I always feel like came out a year or two ago even as time marches on. I'm not able to easily shake that for a few reasons, but that doesn't change the
fact that the game is now starting to age and now getting issues from it. So I'll talk about some of those before I get properly started. See when this originally came out on PC, it had witchcraft levels of optimization. I didn't have a good computer at the time but I could run it on high with a good frame rate. Even friends I knew with overheating toasters could still play Alien Isolation pretty decently. So nowadays you can push settings to the max and still easily get triple digit frame rates. Now typically that's usually just PC nerd garbage not worth bringing up, but nowadays it
runs so well that it can start messing up how things are scripted. An item menu might not display, even as you try to bring it up. If you have really bad luck certain doors might not open, but those are still pretty rare. What is common is the sound for scripted events desyncing - when you get caught by an enemy on the station there's a chance that no sound will play or it'll play the right sound just far too early or far too late. The effect is watching a horror movie like this: You need that proper timing. The fix is easy enough, just lock your frame rate below 100 and
you should be good to go. And because you have so many frames to spare you can use these. While the game ran spectacularly the aliasing is pretty bad, and you can't easily override the setting like you can do in other games. So if you don't want object edges kind of crawling around on the screen, there's a tool called Alias Isolation. It's a fun little name, has a simple GUI, and fixes
most of your edging issues. Most of the jaggies are obliterated and the game still runs great. A little logo appears briefly on loading to let you know it's working and that's it. There are all kinds of engine tweaks you can do too, but nothing really worth covering here. A lot of these become trade-offs for other visual issues so it gets a lot more subjective. I'll pin a link to that tool and that covers it. So what's this all about? Well Isolation takes place 15 years after the original Alien movie. It relies on no knowledge of any sequels or Predator or . . . ugh, so just the 1979 Alien
movie and you don't have to have seen it. There's no Ellen Ripley as she's currently in the frozen aisle in deep space, so you've got a brand new cast and are playing a new character. ???: "Ripley?" This is Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda Ripley, who I'm just going to call Ripley from now on. A Weyland-Yutani android named Samuels informs her that the company has found the flight recorder from her mother's ship the Nostromo. It was found by a freelance vessel and taken to a freeport space station so they don't actually have possession of it yet. Samuels will be leaving with
a company lawyer to retrieve the find but he wants Ripley to come along. She's an engineer but Samuels doesn't want her on the retrieval team purely for her skill set - instead he's offering her the spot mainly out of compassion. SAMUELS: " I know why you're working in the region where she went missing." SAMUELS: "You're still looking, aren't you?" SAMUELS: "I've been cleared to offer you a place on the Torrens, if you want to come along."
SAMUELS: "Maybe there'll be some closure for you." Yeah, this will be a healing experience. I'll be just like traditional animal therapy but with a diddle beast. Ripley sets off for the Sevastopol station and things get heinous. The station has gone to hell and Ripley must survive. It's a simple story but you'd be surprised at how long it goes on for. There are some reasons for that
I'll get into later. Beyond that this game is all about the atmosphere and it's one of the best ever. From the moment you start the game the attention to detail on display is insane. The way lights flicker on and cascade on a dark hallway while smoke pours down from the walls. There are plenty of devices to interact with just for fun, and it's clear that they're really trying to make the world lived in. All the computers are blocky, heavy dinosaurs - 1979's view of the future still
included CRT monitors. The art team put in a huge amount of effort in keeping that aspect, they were even recording menu and UI elements onto actual VHS tapes then putting them back into the game. They'd pull on cables and use magnets to cause interference and the result is the effects are genuine. Like if you've grown up with, or seen actual VHS tapes, you'll notice some people who
try to replicate that style will use a digital plugin. Which a lot do look like dog [ __ ] but it's understandable because having a proper VHS to digital conversion setup can be a huge pain in the ass. There's all this equipment we need... tapes...ehh just use an overlay. It's a tiny thing no one would fault them for or even notice, especially in a video game, but that's just one example of where the ambition was at. The film studio gave the team virtually an all-access pass to all production assets from the Alien movie, so beyond being better able to recreate things in a movie like a set or a costume, they had concept art and other ideas that might have been too high budget for the actual movie. This meant they had an extremely precise and authentic
style guide because while there are homages and little fan service "remember that" moments, they make a ton of new environments and weapons and technology that fits right in. The core idea was if they reasonably could not make the technology or prop at the time, then we won't either. Sure the scale can be massive and impressive at times, but you'll never see a hologram or a touch screen. What you will see are smaller details like the FEAR OF JAPAN. See in that time Japanese products were highly esteemed. They hadn't invented EDF yet but their consumer goods were very high quality.
A lot of people believed that Japan could become a superpower purely through technology and business dealings. I mean that idea was instrumental in the cyberpunk genre forming, I mean could you imagine how something like Blade Runner would look without that influence? Oh... you're here. Anyways if there's some directional signage or an important location marked, that better be in Japanese too.
Sevastapol shows the influence by having a capsule hotel as an option, it's not showing katanas or mechs, it's showing how adults in the 80s might think things could go. They're making a sci-fi game under the layer of a period piece...like here's a throwaway line of dialogue. AXEL: "Hey, don't move!" CIVILIAN: "Oh! Okay...okay... We're not looking for trouble. Who are you?" AXEL: "I'm John, this is Ringo." Would that Beatles joke actually land in the future? I don't know, but if you're pretending it's for an audience in the 80s they sure as hell get it. Actually what year does this game take place in?
Oh no...oh God. It's back. Ohhhh proszę nie! The art direction's incredible. It's one of those games that seems like every hallway in every room could be a screenshot. The quality of all the models and
textures is complemented by how intelligently they use the lighting. The mood and tone is set perfectly. It's a well thought out and layered and gorgeous realized world, in service of a game where you hide from a big monster in a locker sometimes. Even then what the locker has inside of it can depend on where you are in the station. I mean hell, there's all the detail in the first person animations too. Which sure, mainly has a lot of ways of opening doors, but
there's still little bits of character here too. Like how smoothly Ripley handles her tools. She works in mechanics and engineering and isn't a soldier, so when she does get a handgun and is scared out of her mind they added a slight trembling to the animation. It doesn't affect your aim or anything, again, it's just a neat little detail that adds some character. Though reloading the revolver won't track your spent casings accurately. This is worth pointing out because there is no way someone somewhere didn't fight for that. I can see your pain.
Speaking of pain there are some shortcomings in the visuals. They're not horrible they just stick out because of how good the rest of the game looks. From the environments alone I could not tell you this game is from 2014. That effect stops the second you get up close to a character model. They're a little bit plasticky which is fine, it's just their facial animation is very stiff. The lip syncing is also barely there so you get this kind of ventriloquist dummy effect.
SAMUELS: "I realize it's a very similar model to-" RIPLEY: "The Nostromo." SAMUELS: "Yes. M-class. A later pattern, but close in spec." TAYLOR: "I feel like death. I don't know how you people put up with hypersleep regularly." Even the pre-rendered cutscenes are pretty rough looking for the time, and yeah this does feel like nitpicking since usually I wouldn't give a [ __ ] about this. BENNY: "No, no-no. If the bank spends it on fancy stuff-"
It's more this is the only way I can tell the game wasn't made a week ago, but more importantly it's that a trade-off happened. They didn't give the cutscenes enough time and budget to look like a mainline Final Fantasy game but the world itself looks like this. This was the right call to make. Yeah the humanoid models aren't the strongest but that gave them more resources to develop the real star.
On top of the visuals the sound design is also excellent. Like all the visual stuff they had access to, they were also able to use the movie's original sound banks. This meant not only could they recreate a lot of the environment stuff one to one, but they could also remix it in some interesting ways. For starters you go "oh it's an Alien game, you have to have the siren." "You've gotta have all the chunky computer sounds especially that one that's like:" These are the authentic touches you want but now you have an explorable world where you can really play with the Alien because they have the sounds that made the xenomorph. They can now mix
those into the environment. Is that just machinery creaking or is the Olympic orifice diver around? (clanging of metal machinery, pipe hisses and groans) Guess we'll find out soon. If you look around there's a lot of comedy in how mean they make some of these. (pipes hissing) It's not just a pipe hiss, it's probably the one they used to make the actual Alien sound. The game is so rich with its layers of sound effects. Besides the immersion factor, learning
how to properly pick out threats can give you a huge advantage. There are sections where the alien is close enough that you can hear it messing around but if you stay careful and quiet it might not ever leave its horrible hidey hole. There are plenty of areas players have thought there is no alien when it actually can emerge there in the right conditions. For example there's an area near the beginning of the game where you need to wait for a tram. They
take their sweet time building up tension as that tram slowly, agonizingly, approaches. (alien screeching in the distance) (tense music with a heart monitor sound) (tram whining into station) (alien screeching intensifies) Over the years I've seen a lot of people say that you can't see the alien until several hours in. That's because most people got to this part, wisely hugged the tram door, and went in the second it opened. If you would like to see the alien early, take a bit more time to explore or maybe make some noise. This is a good part to bring up the music. To no surprise it takes most
of its cues from the original film score. It's greatly expanded out and most of the soundtrack is dynamic. This can be a double-edged sword, like to give one example they'll use the horror sting effect, but sometimes the actual scare is so small that it just seems silly.
Yeah I guess he saw me. Oh [ __ ]. On the other hand sometimes the tension buildup is so good I've gone in hiding just because the music was that threatening. And in the big action moments sometimes the music has synced up so well it seems like witchcraft.
Considering how much can be unscripted it's pretty impressive. Then you have the moments where the music becomes horribly grating because the Starbeast knows you're around and keeps sniffing the air for you and the track can be caught in this kind of rising tension loop which can go on for a long time if the alien keeps sticking around. It can go from being music to noise and just deflates the tension. The moments that put the back of my pants the most danger playing Alien Isolation usually had very little musical build up because without that musical sting I had no clue what to expect. Jesus Christ . . . It's quality music and can be scary, but it's hard to beat the alien quietly breaking into a full sprint.
There are some relaxing ambient tracks as well, even a few diegetic ones that can be easy to miss like the one in Sevastopol's spaceport. Anyways there's give and take with dynamic music, but considering they were doing strategy games before this it's a pretty good implementation. I probably should have mentioned earlier that Creative Assembly made this game. The studio that spent 20 years making Total War games and Halo Wars 2. I don't know what was happening over there. This was their opening try at making a first person game. I guess they did okay. Put simply - presentation wise the game is a [ __ ] masterpiece. Even people who hate the
game don't seem to contest that often. Now we get to the fun part of actually playing it. There are a few difficulties to choose from, but the game recommends playing on hard. I'll do that for now, but we're gonna come back here. On first entering the station, it almost appears to be abandoned. You do see there are tiny pockets of survivors mainly keeping to themselves or in tight-knit groups and you're not welcome. In this initial stage you get to poke around on your own - scavenging for items and finding any clues to what might have happened. Discovering blueprints means you could take the
parts you find to craft new items, and you learn that some areas are gated off by needing a tool, or a passcode, or a key card. It's fairly linear but gives you some room to explore and kind of get the hang of things. If you are getting lost then you do have a map. You'll need to find local directories to fill a map out completely but it is another help between the audio logs and emails and just looking around. You put together where to go and also what Sevastopol was like. It's owned by the Seegson Corporation and was in the process of being decommissioned. This helps explain why some of the doors, elevators, and other machinery are on the fritz. It's a
quiet, atmospheric tutorial where you learn the ropes, discover things on your own, and get your trusty ...wrench. Huh. Anyways this makes it a lot weirder when the second tutorial starts. RIPLEY: "I'm Ripley." AXEL: "Where'd you come from, Ripley?" RIPLEY: "Off-station. A ship." AXEL: "There's no ships here!" RIPLEY: "There are now." This is Axel. He barely gives any more insight into what's happening, which is fine, it's more
like it seemed like the game could trust you to do things on your own and Axel feels like a Band-Aid. He teaches you things you've learned already and mainly serves as a bald commentary track. AXEL: "Inquisitive type eh? Stay close to me." AXEL: "Hope this ship of yours is the real McCoy." AXEL: "I've had run-ins with those guys before." This NPC holding your hand telling you where to go seems like the kind of thing they would start with immediately. So beyond just being
unnecessary, it's redundant, and you could apply that sentence to a whole lot of other moments in the game. This one sticks out the most to me because it immediately breaks that lonely pacing and it's done in service of: Axel teaches you your flashlight will run out of batteries. Axel teaches you to hide from people with guns loudly saying how they'll blast anyone who comes by.
AXEL: "We need to move! This way, get down!" CIVILIAN: "This is [ __ ] man." Yeah exactly! It is a short section and I shouldn't be that hung up on it. He does show firsthand how brutal the situation is between people, instead of you just finding the after effects of it. I think I just hated having some leeway and agency completely interrupted for this, because following someone around while they do...that! That motion right there!
I can't tell you how many games I've seen that in. We have too many of those and I call it the dog walking sub-genre. RIPLEY: "I need to know what's going on right [ __ ] now."
AXEL: "Fine, like I said, there's a killer." RIPLEY: "A killer? What does that even mean?" AXEL: "I ain't seen it but it's here...picking us off..." See we don't need this Axel monologue either because three minutes later we get a much more direct message.
AXEL: "There's a killer." RIPLEY: "A killer..." CARVER: "What does that mean?" RIPLEY: "What does that mean?" After the Axel incident is where the game properly gets going. Beyond the alien, the jumpy survivors are a threat. A lot of them don't want to kill you and will try to warn you away before opening fire. You can beat the game without ever killing a human being and there are some interesting aspects to that. For one sometimes there are unarmed friendly
survivors so beyond being a dick, ambushing them is just a needless waste of resources. Every hit you take means more scraps spent on making a med kit and every round you fire means it could be a long time until you find more ammo. You can't pick up survivor weapons either, which does stick out in a game where you dig through boxes for wire. You can find or craft
non-lethal options too like a stun prod, smoke grenades, flashbangs... you have a lot of options for sneaking around and distracting your threats. These still carry their own risks and poor use of them can affect you later. If you stun a human being it's quiet, but now it's a charge
you don't have for a different problem. Seegson staff Sevastopol with its own androids - the Working Joes. RIPLEY: "Hello? My name's Ripley - Amanda Ripley. I need your help." JOE: "Please take a seat, someone will be with you shortly."
RIPLEY: "No wonder Seegson is losing the tech race." As it turns out, people can be creeped out by human looking androids. You don't know who they are, or what they might be up to - at least that's how Seegson puts it. With their droids you "always know a Working Joe". They're behind Weyland-Yutani technology, so their robots look like horrifying mannequins, but at least you know. They're managed by the station's AI Apollo, which is also a budget
invention. Between the decommissioning, and the alien, and the anarchy, something's going glitchy with Apollo and the Working Joes are becoming... unpredictable. RIPLEY: "I need to get into comms control, it's urgent."
JOE: "That is a restricted area." RIPLEY: "It's an emergency, don't you realize what's going on?" JOE: "Apollo has the situation in hand, your registration is almost complete." RIPLEY: "Forget it, I'll find my own way in." JOE: "I wouldn't advise it..." They may not be high-tech androids, but they're still very strong. So when their
protocols get quirky it becomes a safety hazard. If you have to kill a man with a wrench - you can. Joe won't be so easy. JOE: "Tut tut."
And any sound of combat will likely attract the attention of more Joes. Not using an item or a weapon on a human could save you when you're facing off against the back page entry of a Sears catalog. They're an in-between threat of the humans and the alien, and they add so much character to the game.
JOE: "Don't do that." JOE: "Please come to your nearest fire assembly point, this is not a drill. Do not panic." JOE: "Biohazard containment level: omega." They're similar to the survivors that you're not always sure they're a threat, but
one going haywire is usually a much bigger problem. There are points where you need to work with Joes in order to move forward. While the game doesn't spotlight the choice there are times where you could not work with a Joe and find a way around it. They literally don't have a mean word in their body to say even as they're coming to murder you. When you're
dealing with a non-hostile one it's never clear how things might go. It adds another creepy layer onto them, they're such a great addition and add so much tension. You're always aware the alien is out to get you, with a Working Joe you never know. It's also worth noting that a lot of these elements are very familiar if you've played System Shock 2. I've seen people say this probably isn't intentional but... ...are you sure? I mean even beyond the story of dealing with a broken maintenance AI and an alien threat with a kind of hacker as your hero, it's interesting what elements they couldn't transfer over that they might have wanted to. When you take a moment to start crafting items the game won't pause, it's just like Shock 2 except there you can also pull up the map in real time and still be vulnerable. I'd guess this would be some kind of resource issue because not only would the game
not stopping to check your map add tension, it would also give you something to do while you're hiding inside of a locker. That's a little thing I thought about. While Isolation doesn't have skills, it does have blueprints and blueprint upgrades - letting you craft more effective items, sometimes for less. The game will already have you backtrack at points, but a lot of the time you could just go and explore back through the station if you want. You can use upgraded cutters and hacking tools to reach areas that you couldn't before, which is good, but on hard you can be drowning in items fairly easily. There are limits on scrap and parts to encourage you to craft but you can hit those item limits pretty fast too. You don't have System Shock 2's big inventory, you don't have skill
points or implants or nanites. No research items or chemicals or quite the variety of weapons with all the ammo, plus all the random [ __ ] you could grab. So Isolation tries to entice you with story bits like emails, or logs from the Nostromo, or the classic collect 'all these things to collect them all'. While System Shock 2 has its issues, it has a big variety of challenges and obstacles. This was made as a sci-fi roleplaying dungeon crawling kind of game. Isolation is streamlined all in on the
horror. It has some similar threats, but a much lower variety. The hope was for one super enemy to carry a lot of the game. That is a gamble, but if it's paced out tightly I can see how it would Oh [ __ ]. Yuh! Ohhh...
All right let's talk about the alien. The xenomorph has never before looked and sounded so good. When you reach the stage of the game where it's regularly around, a lot of earlier systems fall into place. Using tools on doorways require a little more interaction
than usual. Something like using a movement key to go along with a wrench or guiding along with the path of a cutter. Hacking a door involves matching up symbols on your tool. You manually find the signal, you line things up, and it's easy as that. Stronger security systems might have more symbols or something else of a shake-up, but they're so simple I wouldn't even call them mini games. Even if you go in and try to get the fail state that just leads you to the universal
tech solution - you have to unplug it and then plug it back in again. It's clearly not meant to be a challenge, what they do is narrow your vision and force a tiny bit of attention on it that you wouldn't have just from a timer. So it does seem nearly brain dead until the alien arrives. The presence of the alien can change how this goes for players. Someone who's more
freaked out has a higher chance of slipping up and messing up a symbol. When the alien is on the hunt every second counts. It's not just "can I get to a door" it's "can I get through it in time" and this effect definitely works better on a controller. These interactions force you to be vulnerable and add a bit of uncertainty. A second or two can be life or death. I do wish that if you failed a hack would trigger like, a loud security alarm.
That would be funny. The save stations follow the same idea, except they purely do use a timer out of mercy. Once you do, it needs some time to recharge before you save again. It also warns you when enemies are nearby but they have to be extremely close for this warning. A raging alien can easily clear that distance in that short amount of time. Where Resident Evil has safe rooms, here you're never 100% sure. All the combat and distraction stuff
I talked about earlier - that might also bring the alien over. This means in a weird way the alien itself is a tool you have. The maintenance jack's greatest strength isn't in opening doors or being a combat wrench, it's making you a great shaman who summons the xenomorph. CIVILIAN: "Hey did anyone else see that?! Someone's here." SECURITY: "Something's moving around out there."
Something else funny is that the alien is not a solution to the Working Joes. They don't know what to make of the creature and they're so artificial that the alien doesn't even register them as a living thing. There aren't just alien encounter set pieces, it meshes into everything else. Those one-on-one encounters are what people wanted but they added a lot more to it. It's interesting
because these face-offs have some of the game's best stuff and also some of its very worst. The alien has a good amount of ways of trying to find you. It'll stalk around rooms, looking around or even under furniture it thinks you might be. You can even hide in certain lockers and cabinets, though unlike Outlast where you close it quietly, here you slam it like a middle schooler who just lost yet another argument with Dad. There are all kinds of objects you can bump into or knock over that seem like they should attract the alien, but they don't. This was likely deemed to be way too frustrating to be practical but it does feel strange because sound is so critical.
One of your key tools is a motion tracker which was converted over from some kind of rat catching device. It's instrumental in finding the alien through the walls and ceilings, since sometimes the thing will lie in ambush waiting for you. If it's too close the beeping of the tracker can give you away, so it can be unclear what sound counts for the alien, which is uncertain in a bad way. It still doesn't stop the hunting sequences from being a lot of fun. You're given
a lot of options for dealing with it, and sometimes have to change things up. If you start to overuse distraction items in an area, it'll wise up and begin ignoring them - instead looking around to try and find the source. The AI has all kinds of conditions and behaviors attached that change as you play the game. That way as the game goes on it appears to be learning, doing new things, and acting unpredictable in a good way. None of your weapons are powerful enough to kill the alien but you might be able to ward it away or buy some time to escape. Getting a flamethrower at first seems
like the perfect fly swatter, and it's no longer a problem, until it really starts probing it. Maybe even getting some hits in before the flames drive it off. But even as you walk around that sloshing sound reminds you of how limited your ammo really is, not to mention how long it takes to reload.
You're given just enough agency to experiment, distract, and fight back, instead of only hiding. At its best it's an amazing back and forth dynamic with some risky maneuvers and relieving payoffs. Then there are the times where it won't [ __ ] leave. I've spent minutes under a desk or in a locker doing nothing as it circles the room over and over, steps out for a second, and comes right back in. Oh Christ...
Sometimes it'll weirdly bug out and notice me for a reason I don't understand, but there are plenty of other times where I have no clue how it didn't see me. These still pale in experience of the puppy guarding, because really there is no perfect stealth game. I mean the canonical xenomorph hunt experience would be some kind of experimental art game where you would just be murdered by this thing in five seconds over and over again. The issue is the game kind of tethers you to the alien to stop it from getting too far away, but sometimes it feels like something has gone wrong and it can't be more than 10 feet away from you. I've tried mods that remove this tether, but that's not a perfect solution either. There can be more surprise encounters which is great, but there can also be a lot more nothing. By just hiding for a
bit the alien can wander off so far that you don't have to deal with it for a long time. You're not as likely to be annoyed by the alien, which is a win, the drawback is if you're an experienced player who seeks out and downloads the mod you probably know the game well enough that you won't have to deal with the thing that often. In general making a realistic stealth game would be fairly easy. Everyone playing it would probably hate it when they realize how easily detected they are. Stealth game enemies are annoying if they detect you too easily and annoying if they act too stupid, and this range is measured by everyone subjectively. So when your game stars a variable hydra it's no wonder it's so polarizing. Sometimes I've played this and the alien will haunt my dreams that night, sometimes I wonder if it'll make it up the stairs. It's the nature of the beast. However there's also
nightmare mode. This is a different way of playing the game that gives you a lot more to appreciate. (alien screeching) Nightmare mode takes away your UI, takes away your maps, makes your motion tracker broken and glitchy, and significantly changes the balance. You will barely find parts to craft anything, let alone items. You have to dig deep in scavenging to afford anything. Your enemies are deadlier and much more aware Nightmare becomes an oppressive survival game that strangely calls for a faster pace at times. Stationary hiding is a lot less effective. Areas that might have hidden you before will no longer work. The alien also appears to hunt faster and will linger in an area for far less
time, but without items it's all about sneaking. A misconception about this game is that you have to crouch walk everywhere and you don't! Usually I automatically assume this too because it's what most games seem to want, but people who play nightmare figure out pretty quickly that walking is still quiet. You need that speed to keep moving and away from the threat. It's not the perfect solution, there are times where it lingers around for way too long, but it does make me wish they divvied out the difficulty like System Shock. Because nightmare is hard to recommend for a first playthrough because you are so resource starved and miss out on some fun combat encounters and using items. But compared to hard the AI does seem consistently
better to play with. It's still a great mode but probably too far in the deep end for first timers. Difficulties aside they did try to add more variation in dealing with the alien but now we're getting into spoiler territory. Without those I can say the game is too stretched out and the pacing is all over the place. There was a massive story rewrite only a year or so before the game came out. There were even plans for multiplayer modes until big daddy Sega saw how Colonial
Marines did. That really is the game that keeps on giving. So if you don't want spoilers go to here: Well story wise, I don't find much worth talking about. When the scummy, blackmailing businessman is named 'Ransome' and he wasn't written by Kojima, there's not a lot there to get into. Well after doing various odd jobs, Ripley meets Marlowe - the captain of the salvage vessel who found the Nostromo flight recorder and who landed on LV-426 with his crew. It's a walking sequence that for the most part just lets you re-experience the original Alien movie. I also don't think it's fair to write
this off as pure fan service, even though it was [ __ ] awesome going through it the first time, but someone in the world has played this game without seeing the movie. So instead of just hearing the story they actually get to be there and feel the wonder and mystery. The Space Jockey captivated me as a kid and it's still kind of magic now. The cast and crew on set, various franchise directors,
those who made the prop and set, all had various ideas on what it could be. James Cameron thought it was a bomber from some kind of ancient war, the film's cast who got up next to it said It felt benevolent and if it was alive it wouldn't have hurt them... let's not talk about what Ridley Scott thinks. There's no ties to any of that beside a single piece of technology which is pretty organic looking. You could interpret it as a reference to a different movie but it still seems too appropriately alien to me. I get the sense the art team made it ambiguous like
this because they may have also hated the idea of seeing living Space Jockeys. In any case one of the crew got infected and brought the alien aboard Sevastopol. After this, a plan is hatched where Ripley blows the thing out into space... and it works. Right after this all the Working Joes go on
the attack. Apollo has them murdering everyone on site and this is where things could get really interesting. The game has gone through all the beats of the Alien movie, a bit out of order, but now we're in brand new territory - an android apocalypse with no alien. The issue is the pacing slows down again greatly and there are still big stretches of emptiness. When you do get to the points of interest it's great and the journey down to Apollo's core is very tense. As much as I love
drama queen AIs like Durandal or SHODAN, I deeply appreciate games like this and Soma where the AI is very clinical. They don't talk directly to you really, you put their actions together. Well Seegson lucked out and the entire Sevastopol station was purchased right as Marlowe arrived. The buyer was Weyland-Yutani, once again after their prize. All the Working Joes and intercom announcements
about containment breaches and hazards weren't about protecting you or the people - it was about protecting the alien, which is a clever twist to throw in. Unfortunately Apollo won't accept the alien is no longer on board, because the reactor has not been scanned. You then get the reveal of this massive open space maintained by the Joes and descend down into the reactor.
RIPLEY: "Ricardo, they're all here. Everyone that's missing. Everyone!" The alienS are nesting in the reactor. Your motion tracker is lit up. There are new threats in the forms of eggs and facehuggers. The threat of one
alien is now a squad. It's a fantastic way to mix things up for the end, and there's no queen. The team had made assets that would tie into Aliens which were ultimately cut, meaning it's possible they're reproducing by eggmorphing. This was a scene from Alien that was cut, ironically, for breaking the pacing. The weird hive [ __ ] on the walls breaks whatever is put onto it into a genetic soup that it then forms into eggs. This came from the idea of the alien being a high metabolism bioweapon that would kill a lot and then die off shortly. They weren't space bugs yet, so could that be happening. The game's writer has given a definitive answer but that's no fun.
The reactor isn't too big either so it doesn't take Ripley long to initiate a system purge. It's all built up to this, but the aliens are clearly running out of it all over the station, which means we have hours more of the game... and we go back to having a single alien at a time for most of it. There are impressive environments and set pieces that don't amount to much, it seems like they had areas that were far along, but when the rewrite happened they couldn't just throw them out. This amazing set was scrapped for pacing, this was not, but at least Ripley finds out what happened to her mom.
ELLEN RIPLEY: "I'm stuck on this lifeboat, long way out." Iit builds up again to more aliens, and again to more aliens. Sevastopol goes boom and Ripley escapes, but there's a single alien again with a terrible, terrible, quick time event. She gets away, someone finds her; The End. The story just refused to die, like the franchise. The lore and setting stuff they show is interesting, seeing how these stealth remixed elements from later movies like having their own Bishop is fun to chew on, but man these characters are so flat and spread thin. Even when they have their moments or bring up an intriguing point or conflict it's over so fast. It gets to a point where it's out of new challenges so
keeps looping back in on itself. For all the many, many issues Prometheus has it at least keeps you guessing throughout the movie. This was a game made for an Alien purist so you're going to get the alien. There's no strange variations on that or nothing you haven't seen before, but where they did break the mold a bit was impressive. I would love to see what this team could do with an alien story that goes off in their own direction. Sadly most the brains behind the operation are no longer at Creative Assembly. The most development I would realistically see going
from this would be some kind of RTX patch. This seems like the kind of game that Nvidia would want to show off reflections in and maybe in that process some bugs would be ironed out. Keep in mind this is my pipe dream version of events. There was DLC that included challenge maps with
some of them featuring locations that didn't make it into the main game. There's Lone Survivor where you play as Ripley aboard the Nostromo, and Crew Expendable where you can choose from a variety of characters. This means you could pick Parker and fully immerse yourself in the nuances of the bonus situation. I adore Alien Isolation but I can't deny it has lots of problems. Though I think
some outlets might have gone too hard on it. It may not have made huge waves in video games but it's not leaving Alien as a franchise anytime soon. The GOGlins have arranged for it to be 80% off for the next while so I'll pin a link to that too. In space no one can hear you ...whiff a flare. "What is the worst game I've purchased that I could not stop playing?" Ironically Aliens Colonial Marines. A group of friends and I bought it and multiplayer was extremely funny to break.
There was a class of alien that exploded on death and left, like, an acid pool around it when you died and we figured out if we all use this class fighting marines in their escape mode they could not get away. If they tried to revive anyone they would just slip and slide to death. "Any opinion on games back seating like the new God of War?" Please make it an option. Cyberpunk or Shadowrun, conceptually? Shadowrun sounds like it should be more interesting but Pondsmith Cyberpunk actually is. "Are there games that have made it hard to sleep at night as an adult?" 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. I was horribly ill that week which could have been part of it
but trying to sleep I thought that was another symptom or even a feature of the game. Try it, go in blind. "Are there games I adored as a kid but realized are bad now?" Oh man there's a lot of those. I will make videos on some one day, I'll say the most prominent one was about King Arthur. Okay have a Happy Thanksgiving, or Black Friday shopping, or whatever is happening today.