Being Alone Never Felt So Good | Alien: Isolation Impressions
San Diego Comic Con is known for its expansive exhibit floor and star-studded panels, but the off-site events are just as fulfilling. On Friday, we ran over to Petco Park try our hand at the Alien Isolation demo being put on by Nerd HQ.
While waiting in line, the one and only thing I could think about was that “other” Alien game. Yeah, you know which one I’m talking about, Alien: Colonial Marines. Luckily, I managed to not play that game, yet it still left the lingering thought in my mind that this is another Alien game. But hold on you say, the previews have been great for Isolation. They were also great for Colonial Marines if you take a look back. Alas, after waiting for about an hour, it was my time to step into the Alien universe!
Right off the bat, I absolutely loved the art style. A throwback would be an understatement when speaking of how the game felt VHS-like. The image-quality was there, of course, but the game just had that same feeling the first Alien movie did, and that’s a very very good thing. It is yet to be seen if the game’s overall feel measures up to Ridley Scott’s Alien; it’s safe to say though, that the section I was able to play was fantastic. It was intense, slightly nerve-wracking even. It didn’t feel like a mundane shoot this, go here, kill that, type of game. The game felt, for lack of better words, organic.
Instead of placing a huge arrow above your head to direct you, you have a motion scanner that you can pull out which directs you to your objective and shows you the approximate location of the Xenomorph with a dot, such a terrifying dot indeed. While making my way toward my second objective, a blip flashed on the radar. I froze, and it rapidly got closer and closer. Out of fear, I sprinted to a locker to hide in, Metal Gear Solid style. Alas, I ventured back out and got a torch to cut through to the next area. The torch allowed me to progress, while also being homing device for the Xenomorph.
Once I cut through the door, the first terrifying scripted-events occurred. The creature slithered up the ventilation shaft, making itself known that it is definitely watching. Out of fear, I stayed in a crouched position throughout my entire time with the demo. The ambiance as a I progressed through the ship was quite prophetic. I was alone with only a voice in my ear telling me my next objective. Each room was dimly lit which taunted me to turn on my flashlight. But, like just about every other action, the flashlight would make me Xenomorph bait. It’s not like I could fend it off either, if it caught me, I was done.
Right as I started to gain my wits, I was given a hacking puzzle to complete; it was quite unique while still being manageable to do during the allotted time. Finally, I was on my way back after retrieving what I had needed. In my haste, I put away my motion scanner, which would very shortly lead to a quick goodbye. I turned the corner, heard a noise, and whipped up my motion scanner. The dot was ontop of me, and as I glanced down to the scanner, I looked up, saw it round the corner to me. I jumped into a locker. I let out a sigh of relief, and then the Xenomorph opened the locker and, shortly thereafter, I was devoured. No hit points. No health meters. Just instantaneous death.
I thoroughly enjoyed what I was able to play of Alien: Isolation. The game was intense and quite frightening, to be honest. The lack of combat was a great thing which caused the tensions to rise even further. The ambiance was outstanding and the way the demo section played out has given me hope for the game. The only question I have is: what will happen when the game introduces other enemies? What about when combat is introduced? The dev team has talked about not having to kill anyone during a playthrough, so let’s hope that the game centers around the idea of avoiding the xenomorph instead of confronting it. The last thing we need is another first-person shooter.
Have a look at the video below to get a feel for Alien: Isolation.
Alien: Isolation is being developed by The Creative Assembly, published by Sega, will be released on October 7, 2014 on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.