Aliens: Colonial Marines was tripe, serving as a sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens – and playing like a gung-ho action shooter. Alien: Isolation from develop Creative Assembly is more of a sequel to Ridley Scott’s creepier Alien. Does it live up to that? Is it at least a better game that Colonial Marines? Well, that depends on who you ask.
Much like what happened with the (In my opinion) Excellent ZombiU on the Wii U, American reviewers seem to hate it. Those based in Europe and its colonies, or who’ve hailed from there seem to disagree, thinking it’s possibly the very best Alien game.
And honestly, I think it comes down to that fact that you don;t shoot much in it. Americans seem to favour being able to shoot out of any situation, whereas stealth and sneakiness seems to be the way to go for our European chums. From everything I’ve seen (and played), this is the perfect Alien game for me.
Here’s what critics think.
In the same way that Ash respected the alien for its brutality in the original film, though, maybe I also respect Alien: Isolation just for how long, grueling and relentless it ends up being. Instead of completing the game, it feels more like I’ve escaped it and the nightmare it put me through. I no longer have to hear the sickening slump of the alien being spewed out of a vent.
Halfway into playing Alien: Isolation, I stopped to watch the first four Alien movies again. It wasn’t just for research purposes, but mostly because the game had me yearning for more of the universe. Isolation has some flaws, but it’s faithful to the film series, and I’d love to see a follow-up with a few extra alien evolutions.
That idea of never being comfortable with how the game is unravelling is something that feels quite unique and it’s extremely well imagined here. Plenty of survival horror games have you feeling vulnerable as you essentially fulfil the role of a hero but things are different here. In Alien: Isolation you’re not the hero, you’re the prey.
Alien: Isolation can be frustrating, but it’s mostly terrifying in a near-perfect way. The Alien is scarier than it’s been since Ridley Scott first showed it to the world, and the atmosphere is thick enough to cut.
It may seem strange to complain that a game’s too long, but when the genuine scares of being hunted by an unstoppable predator are so diluted by repetition and padding, Isolation’s epic length really does work against it. Someday, someone is going to make an incredible Alien video game that checks every box. But, sadly, Isolation is not it.
In the process of contriving story twists and turns to support this spectacle, Alien: Isolation ruins the unique focus of its premise and moves away from the inspiration of the first film. It becomes something depressingly predictable for fans of the property who have been hurt again and again by underwhelming video game representations. Alien: Isolation isn’t the worst Alien game, but thanks to its unrealized potential, it just might be the most disappointing.
Last Updated: October 3, 2014