Alien: Isolation

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a game by Creative Assembly
Platforms: XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3
Editor Rating: 7.5/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 8.8/10 - 10 votes
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See also: Alien Games, 2021 Movies, Stealth Action
Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation

When it comes to survival horror, there are a few big names in the industry that seem to be the only ones that get the formula right. That’s why it was so impressive when Creative Assembly, better known for their strategy games, released Alien: Isolation, a superb single-player horror experience that masters the pacing and ambiance of the genre.

Filling the gap that the Dead Space series left when it ended, and continuing the story of the original film, Isolation is a game that can be appreciated by fans of the movie and by survival horror fans in general.

No One Can Hear you Scream

In Alien: Isolation, players control Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley. When her mother’s flight recorder is found and brought aboard the Sevastopol station, Amanda makes her way there, only to find the space station in chaos. Now, she has to survive the threat of an android malfunction, and even worse, survive a seemingly unkillable alien menace that lurks around every corner.

Isolation takes inspiration from the first Alien film: unlike the creatures in the sequels, Isolation’s Xenomorph is an unstoppable force of nature. Featuring an impressive AI system (based on Left 4 Dead’s Director AI,) the Xenomorph in Isolation will hunt the player relentlessly.

The constant tension of being hunted, along with the eerie environment that is the derelict Sevastopol, turns this game into one of the very best survival horror experiences of all time. That said, pacing could be improved, as there comes a time when the Xenomorph stops being a threat and becomes more of a nuisance.

Just Like the Classics

Alien: Isolation might be one of the only games that use chromatic aberration to a positive effect. The game’s post-processing effects look fantastic, giving Isolation an authentic VHS-like feel that will make you believe you’re playing Alien in an old VCR.

Even though some textures might be a bit bland upon closer inspection, the graphics in Alien: Isolation work amazingly well. A terrific sound design is also part of the game’s outstanding presentation. The sounds of the Xenomorph stalking the hallways of the Sevastopol is the stuff of nightmares. The decision to play the game in an entirely first-person perspective also helps a great deal with player immersion. The fact that you can never know what’s lurking behind you will keep you on edge, no matter how much time you’ve been playing the game.

Close Encounters

Unlike games like Outlast, Amanda isn’t entirely defenseless against the Xenomorph. Our heroine has access to a variety of utilities that can help her survive the deadly Sevastopol, including a revolver, flares, and your trusty flamethrower.

Each weapon is better suited against a particular type of enemy: the revolver won’t work at all against the Xeno, but the flamethrower will become your best friend against the alien. There’s also a very basic crafting mechanic that will let you create some survival gear, but your best strategy is to avoid combat entirely and rely on stealth.

Once you get the flamethrower, encounters with the Xeno become more of a chore than anything, easing some of the tension that was present in the early stages of the game. That said, the alien can still kill you in one shot, so keep your eyes on the motion tracker whenever you can.

9

A survival horror masterclass, Alien: Isolation has all the makings of a true genre classic. The way the game handles tension, and its beautifully rendered environments, will keep you mesmerized from start to finish. Definitely a must-play for horror fans.

Pros:

  • Outstanding Xenomorph AI
  • Eerie ambiance and excellent visuals
  • Amazing sound design

Cons:

  • Combat can get very repetitive
  • Some glitched instakills can ruin your experience

Download Alien: Isolation

XBox 360

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 3

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Early footage and design descriptions of Alien: Isolation strongly suggest that The Creative Assembly is crafting the Alien game we deserve--one that lovingly embraces the unique sensibilities (not to mention aesthetic) of Ridley Scott's groundbreaking 1979 space thriller.

Gone are all the guns and hordes of xenomorphs. This is back to the basics--one Ripley, one monster, and a lot of horror.

The Ripley in question isn't the exosuit-boxin' Ellen we all know and love, but rather her daughter, Amanda (you may remember her being mentioned at the start of Aliens). Upon learning that the USCSS Nostromo's black box has been uncovered at a space station called Sevastopol. Amanda heads there with the hopes of learning more about the fate of her long-lost mother. What she finds instead is more suspicious Weyland-Yutani activity and a lone, hulking xenomorph.

It's that singular, predatory threat that made the original film such a tense nail-biter, and that's what The Creative Assembly is trying to recapture in Isolation after a number of less-than-stellar attempts from other developers. There aren't any full-scale "oorah" firefights in sight--just a lot of terrified gasps and slinking in the shadows punctuated by the constant, nerve-racking need to check your motion tracker. It's a change of pace that, as Alien fans, we welcome.

Snapshots and Media

XBox 360 Screenshots

PC Screenshots

Playstation 3 Screenshots