Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s talk about Alien: Isolation. This is one hell of a game! I was at EB Games looking for a really great game to play. The employee at the store said this was a very good stealth game. I wasn’t sure I’d like it because it’s a first person perspective, but it’s nothing like any of the other first person games I’ve played (Destiny, Borderlands etc.). I took a chance and I got it. The thing I love about EB Games is that if you hate a game, you can return it before the week is up and exchange it for something else. But with this game, I was in love right from the beginning.
This game might be labeled as survival horror, but it’s more survival than horror. This is the sort of game in which you take your time to play. This game cannot be rushed, and you’re not going to get a Big Boss ranking if you beat it under a certain time limit, unless it’s the DLC, in which case that’s completely different. Also, it’s not fast-paced, and it’s definitely not a horror game. Think of it more like classic Splinter Cell or Metal Gear, where your best chance of survival comes from not being seen. It’s not an action game; in fact, your goal should be to avoid action altogether. The benefit of taking your time is you get to case the joint and make sure you pick up every single collectible or little item that might be lying around. The collectibles are the archive logs, ID tags, & Nostromo logs. There are 211 in total, and if you miss even just one, you won’t get that specific trophy, nor 100% completion.
Here’s a bit about the story. You, the player, are in control of the protagonist, Amanda Ripley. Amanda is the daughter of Ellen Ripley, the fictional character from the Alien franchise. The story starts 15 years after the events of the 1979 film, Alien. Ripley is approached by a man telling her that the flight recorder of the Nostromo spacecraft was recently located by the Anesidora and is being held aboard Sevastopol, a remote space station owned by the Seegson Corporation. So Riplay and 3 others suit up, and it’s time to do a space walk in order to board the space station, but OH NO!! Something horrible happened, and Ripley gets separated from your crew. She seems to be all alone the station until she realizes she isn’t. She discovers there are still androids aboard the station, and other humans which seem really violent, and a super scary looking Alien.
The gameplay in this Alien: Isolation is really nice. The player has the ability to run, climb ladders, sneak into vents, and also crouch and hide behind objects to break the line of sight with enemies, and covertly peek over or lean around to gain view. The player can even have Ripley to go under nearby tables or inside lockers to hide from enemies. I especially love how quickly Ripley will hide in a locker or small cabinet when the Alien is seen or heard. Although when I played this, I didn’t let the Alien spot me because sometimes if you are moving while it’s looking in your direction, it could potentially see you and stab you in the abdomen with its spiky tail. I must say I’ve face this death many a times in Alien.
Unlike most games with enemies, the Alien’s movements are very random, and I don’t believe it ever followed a predetermined path. The enemies in most other games follow the same path when they walk and Alien: Isolation does more than that. With that being said, the Alien will actively investigate any sounds the player might make while navigating around the space station. If you (the player) are playing a more difficult level and you decide to walk or run while the Alien is nearby in the vents, expect to die a quick death. That Alien has super-alien (not superhuman) hearing! Even the motion tracker can attract the Alien, so using it when it’s not nearby is always a good idea. I know a few times I was hiding in a very small cabinet, and the Alien was pacing around the room searching for me. I’d pull out the motion tracker for a second to see where it was, hoping I could escape to continue with the current objective, but I’d have to put it away quickly otherwise I’d give my position away. Speaking of hiding, I’m pretty sure I spent 50% of my time hiding in lockers or cupboards waiting for a safe time to come out. That Alien is so unpredictable!!! I loved how Sony created the Alien. No matter how many times I died and restarted one section, I could never predict where the Alien would be at any given moment. That was pretty scary.
Ok, changing topics to the top three things that scare me about this game. Now don’t misinterpret scary with bad. These scary things are what made this game amazing!! I’m going to list them in the order of scariest to least scary.
- Save phone. I never knew when I’d get to save my game. This game does not auto-save, and you are reliant on the save phones. I would always freak out if I progressed through the game and couldn’t save. I think in one area / part of the game, I literally would crouch around, looking for collectibles or the like, and then painstakingly crouch all the way back to the phone (without the Alien seeing/hearing me) and save my progress. I did it so many times that on my way back, a station had literally unloaded to the point that it was no longer there save for one itsy bitsy detail. Hilarious.
- Androids.The nice ones at the beginning of the game are fine, but when Ripley starts to encounter the ones that go around killing humans, it’s scary as fuck! They will follow you and break your neck if you don’t successfully hide from them. The ones nearer the end of the game… well… let’s just say I hope you’re not Nightmare difficulty. If you do, you’ll see what I’m talking about when you get there. Look at those eyes! They’re creepy!
- Alien. It’s undefeatable, it’s fast, it’s scary looking, it’ll investigate any sound you’ve made, and you’ll cry if you spend 20 minutes holed up in a locker because you made noise. If you get as close to the Alien as in the photo below, you’re pretty much already dead.
What else is great about Alien: Isolation? Well… The items Ripley can craft. EMP mines, noisemakers, molotov cocktails, pipe bombs (these are my favorite because they can take out many androids at once), smoke bomb, medkit (necessary to stay alive), flashbang, and finally the stun baton (also a fave for up close encounters with androids). I also really loved the motion tracker, but what I didn’t realize (and it took me nearly the entire game to realize this) was that when it chirped, it meant something was nearby. I remember playing and asking myself “Why is this chirping like this?” I also love the lean. When Amanda Ripley is in a locker or small cabinet, you still have some control over her. You can press forward or back on the left stick to lean closer to the ventilation slits or hug the back wall, and you can also move left and right with both sticks to get a better view through the slits. You can even have her lean back so you can pull out the motion tracker (like I mentioned above, but more vaguely). The lean is also good out in the open world when she’s not sequestered in a locker. You can have her peek at enemies. However, if you stare too long they will eventually notice her. Finally the rewire stations. Here you can control if the room will fill with a sort of fog, or if the lights will be turned off. Sure, it makes it harder for you to see, but the darkness is also your friend, because that means your foes will also have great difficulty seeing you. Resist the urge to turn on that dinky flashlight. You’ll only give away your position.
What I loved about the game:
- Everything. I loved the save system, how everything looked antiquated like it did in the Alien movies.
- The noisemaker. It sounds exactly like it would if I were to build one. So classic and wonderful.
- It’s just so scary! I’m usually the type to shy away from horror movies, but when I played this, I’d play in the dark with the volume up high so I could hear all the sounds. My heart raced a lot, and I was anxious a lot of the time, and even screamed quite a few times and I loved every second of it.
- The simplicity of the sounds used in the game, and the reactive soundtrack cues; when enemies come near, the score becomes more tense (with different kinds of music representing different kinds of dangers), and Amanda herself begins to vocalize her fear.
- One DLC comes with the game, and there are 7 more to buy. If you can get the digital bundle on sale on the playstation app, even better. I once saw the entire game and all the DLC for $40. I would have bought the bundle if I didn’t already have the game on disk.
What I didn’t like about the game:
- Dinky flashlight sucked battery power like you wouldn’t believe. Playing in the dark is so much better because you can almost see all the little details if Ripley happens to be in a very dark place.
Bugs I discovered while playing:
- When I first encountered the Alien, the whole space station unloaded. What I saw was space (no station), Ripley’s legs and feet, the exit sign, and finally the Alien walking by. I was so confused by what happened, it took me a moment to realize. So here’s the story…. I was playing, and was exploring the space station. This was fairly early on in the game when Ripley is alone. I was in this one room, and had moved on to another room. But apparently there was a short in-game cutscene where the Alien makes its first appearance in the first room I was in. And since I wasn’t in that room anymore, I got teleported into it. But the problem was that the room had unloaded, so when I warped into the room to see the Alien, the room wasn’t in fact there, hence my confusion. It kind of ruined the first Alien encounter. I guess I was moving through rooms too quickly.
- Then there was this one work station that completely disappeared after I went in and out of that room multiple times.
My score for this game? 10 out of 10!!! It was amazing! Even if I haven’t seen the Alien movies, I still really loved this game. If you love stealth, a slower pace, and a totally different style of game, then this is for you. I highly recommend this game. 😀 If you play it, or want to, feel free to share your comments with me!!
Cheers, and enjoy the game!!
Bitchin’ Gamer Girl