Alien: Isolation – Game Review…ish

Book reviews, weird stories about electricity and horses, what’s next? Games of course! And here is my first review, of Alien: Isolation.

There is a slight problem with reviewing this game and it rhymes with clucking scarified…Yes I have only managed to play about 3 hours because it invokes so much tension my poor heart was going to give out. So what have I seen?

Well right from the off it feels right, the aesthetic is spot on, it looked, felt and sounded like I was aboard the Nostromo in the first alien movie. But of course I wasn’t (you can in some DLC…If you dare), I was aboard another ship and playing as Ripley’s daughter, heading towards a space station (that looks pretty similar to the refinery the Nostromo was towing) to retrieve the Nostromo’s flight recorder and get some closure. What could possibly go wrong?

From the first moment we see the beaten up station and it neglects to answer hails things go from bad to worse quickly, and after a very hairy space walk you end up alone on the station. Let the fun begin.

There are three enemies in this game (four if you count yourself), the alien, the androids and the station survivors. While the latter are just as terrified as you and only looking out for their own survival they are still quite dangerous. The androids, while keeping you on your toes, aren’t too much of a threat so long as your smart. The real threat, as it should be, is the single Alien wandering about the station.

I’ve encountered the alien a grand total of three times so far, but it’s not the times you see it that are the worst, its when you don’t but you know it’s there. A blip on the motion tracker, a noise in the wall, a scream from a room not far away, it all adds to the tension, and the sound design in this game is nothing short of phenomenal. One of the moments which sticks with me is glacing a blip on the motion tracker and thinking it was an android I had just seen, only to look round the corner and see nothing, until that is I looked up and saw slime coming out of the vent in the ceiling…..I spent a good half a hour edging round that vent.

The story, what I’ve seen of it so far, has been very good and kept me really interested. Not interested enough to overcome my fear yet, but interested. Hopefully when I stop being a chicken I’ll be able to finish my review and let you know my final thoughts, but for now I’ll tell you the story of my final moments.

I had to go through a room in which I could hear people screaming, a group of survivors was being hunted down and killed, but while this was unsettling it was a large room with multiple layers so it meant I could sneak through and hack the next door undetected. I continued on and finished that section of story, only to be told to go back to the transit terminal….Back through the room.

When I got back there were no screams, just unsettling noises and the occasional shadow to spook me out. I mastered my fear momentarily and moved up onto a walkway, crouching behind a wall it was there I hatched my cunning plan. I would throw a smoke grenade (haven’t got noisemakers yet but they still go bang) back towards the door I just came through, thereby distracting the Alien and leaving my exit route clear. I figured it was a good plan because it was simple and my fear couldn’t screw it up…I was wrong.

I got out the motion tracker to check where it was, and it was right next to me on the other side of the wall! I freaked, I threw the smoke grenade towards my exit and ran back the way I had come without any sense of stealth. Alien feet pounded on the floor behind me getting louder and louder but I didn’t stop, not until a tail went right through my chest that is.

And that, my friends, is all I’ve played.