Hands-on: Alien: Isolation

After the disappointment that was Aliens Colonial Marines, Sega has finally decided to take the Alien franchise and give it to its own development team at The Creative Assembly. Sega bought a license to make three Alien games and with Alien: Isolation being the last of those can Sega really redeem themselves with this franchise?

 

 

Even when you take a look at the name you can already tell that they are going in the right direction. The title is no longer called Aliens, but instead Alien, meaning the focus will be on a single powerful Xenomorph who you will need to evade time and time again instead of shoot down like in the past.

 

The story follows Ellen Ripley’s Daughter Amanda as she searches for her mother who has mysteriously disappeared. The plot will be considered as canon in the Alien universe, making the events tie in with the films.

 

Because of the horrendous AI from Colonial Marines, The Creative Assembly has decided to make a single very intelligent Alien. The Alien will learn as the game progresses, meaning you cannot use the same strategy over and over again. For example, if you keep throwing a decoy sound generator the alien will stop inspecting it, making things more difficult.

 

The unpredictability of the Alien will keep the player constantly under pressure. The Alien can crawl into ventilation shafts and attack you when you least expect it. Add the fact that the Alien can instantly kill Amanda and you will see how difficult the game can get. Almost everyone who played the demo at Gamescom kept dying over and over again. Players will have to learn to adapt to this new style of gameplay in the Alien franchise where hiding and sneaking by is the only way to survive.

 

Throughout the game you will meet various survivors and androids. But you will need to be careful as you will never know if they will be friendly or aggressive. If the group of people you meet are armed you can even lure the Alien there in order for them to duel it out. The developers confirmed that you can play through the entire game without killing a single human.

 

You aren’t defenseless. In the demo Amanda could pick up a flame thrower and flares. Both of these could be used to ward off the Alien, but neither last too long, serving more as a way to escape from certain death.

 

The motion tracker is your best friend. It will allow you to see items but it only shows objects if they move. This also serves as a great way to build on the atmosphere. When you use the motion tracker the background will blur as you focus only on the motion tracker. This makes things a lot more nerve wrecking. Sometimes you will need to use your hacking tool in order to bypass doors. Hacking plays out like a minigame leaving you vulnerable in the process.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZyT2kh3j0s

The whole aesthetic will have a Lo-Fi Sci-Fi feel, making things represent the view of the future from over 30 years ago. Both the hacking device and motion tracker will have the retro monochrome screen.

 

With the game taking around 15 hours the question pops-up whether or not hiding and sneaking past one Alien will be enjoyable during the whole playthrough. Still, with what we had time to see, Alien: Isolation may very well be the game we have all been waiting for. Alien: Isolation will be out this October worldwide, for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows.

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