Alien: Isolation Video Game Review

Solid gameplay, suspenseful, dark, and very reminiscent of the early Ridley Scott films, Alien:Isolation from SEGA is everything you could want in an Alien franchise game.

Being a long-time fan of the movies, you would think this wasn’t my first Alien-inspired video game. In many ways it isn’t. I definitely enjoyed the hell out of the quarter muncher Aliens versus Predator from Capcom when it dominated in the arcades. Needless to say, this game is a completely different experience and I’m glad this is my first “real” Aliens game. It’s everything I would want (absent a few niggling control issues and the annoying crafting feature but that’s more personal than anything).

Alien vs Predator Arcade Game Intro

The game is similar in many ways to the Silent Hill survival horror series by Konami. Going into this game I didn’t think I would be able to do anything to fend off the xenomorph but you do actually use weapons, craft weapons, and even make some use of other people as decoys to lure the xenomorph away from your character. Speaking of…

You’re Ellen Ripley‘s daughter, Amanda Ripley and, lest you think she’s less than her mother, she’s pretty damn bad ass. I’m not going to try and spoil anything but if you think this game is glorified hide-and-go-seek, it’s not at all. It’s a survival horror game in the purest sense of the words – it’s surviving and it’s damn horrible. And by horrible I mean deliciously, invigoratingly suspenseful and sometimes downright scary.

(See Also: Alien: Isolation (Playstation 4 PS4) Playthrough Video)

I found myself recalling the best moments of Alien and Aliens in this game. The score is schizo-phonic and atmospheric in a skillful use of the score that helps to heighten the game’s action. Really, in so many ways it reminded me of a good Alien movie, and that’s not what I expected to get but deep down in my soul that’s what I needed.

The graphics are sharp if not revolutionary. The game goes to great lengths to incorporate the extended lore of the Alien franchise’s universe and there were so many times I found myself enraptured with my surroundings that I forgot I was being hounded by a pissed-off xeno. The Seegson Synthetics, androids you encounter on the space station Sevastopol, really broaden the Alien universe and give a larger glimpse into struggles between interstellar conglomerates and the power dynamics between them. It’s a nice change of pace outside of typical Weyland-Yutani drama. The Seegson synths are wicked cool in their primitive state. I really want to know more about this company that seems to have a “different philosophy” with regard to synthetic life.

Where Alien: Isolation really shines is in its bringing the Alien universe to life – this game does a much better job of that than any I can remember in a long time. The story is not the most groundbreaking literature devised by man but it’s way better than Prometheus (a film I enjoyed but also didn’t enjoy – as I’m sure many people can relate). The best aspect of this game is that you go in with all kinds of expectations and you come away with an experience, a real fusion of the art of filmmaking with the participatory nature of video games. Like all good art, Alien: Isolation also makes striking statements about human identity, the relationship of a parent to a child, as well as defining (or separating) terror (the primal state of fear) from “evil.”

Review Summary:
Good: Amazing atmosphere, gripping score, excellent utilization of the source material, better than Prometheus, androids, space, running away from a xenomorph, 1980s techno-futurism
Bad: Xenomorph behavior sometimes strange for a deadly predator, a lot of running around, graphics slightly sterile but still nice, occasional hiccups in voice acting, Alien pursuit conceit wears thin towards the endgame



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