Indiewatch: Alien Shooter 2 Reloaded - A sequel done right
Welcome to Indiewatch, a series where I take a look at good yet unknown, unappreciated and overlooked indie titles. It is time to give some appreciation, attention, and love to those games that deserve it but never got it. In order for a game to be covered on Indiewatch, it must fit into the following criteria:
- It must be an indie game
- It was not covered or given minimal coverage by mainstream video game websites and YouTubers (Destructoid, Polygon, IGN, Totalbiscuit etc.)
- It must be good! Nothing below 7 out of 10 will be covered.
Today we are going to take a look at Alien Shooter 2 Reloaded, an isometric shooter, developed and published by Sigma-Team. Reloaded is a revised version of Alien Shooter 2 Vengeance. Reloaded has simplified the skill system in comparison to Vengeance to make the gameplay more like the original. It released in 2008 (watch the review above for a deeper look at the game).
Here we go again
The story to Alien Shooter 2 isn’t that different from the original, but rather more detailed. The Magma Corporation opened a portal to another dimension, revealing monstrous beings. They attempted to control the creatures but lost, resulting in everyone within the facility being killed and it being overrun.
A security force is sent in to deal with the situation, led by a General Baker. Baker calls you in, offering a hefty reward in exchange for your help while keeping your mouth shut about the whole ordeal. You arrive at the facility to find it in ruins and must battle your way in to reach General Baker and his squad.
Essentially the story is exactly the same as the first game; it is just more fleshed out. It does have two different endings but they are about as basic and uninteresting as endings get. With that said, the plot with Sigma-Team is always secondary, while action is primary
The story isn’t anything special but it does its job of progressing in an understandable, continuous and logical way. If you are looking for a game with a deep story to it, Alien Shooter 2 is not what you are looking for.
What is new?
Alien Shooter 2 builds up from the original adding in a nice array of new features. First up is the new engine that it is developed on. Both the graphics and the sound effects are greatly improved.
There is the addition of an experience and level up system where each level up grants skill points that you can distribute how you see fit. It adds a nice layer of depth to the game and gives it character development and allows players to create different character types.
At the start of the game, you get to choose a perk that gives you a special ability. While most of the perks would be pretty much useless, a small number of them are handy to have, such as Hypnosis, Quick Learner, and Economist.
Different perks can really change up the gameplay.
Another new addition to the sequel is vehicles. Throughout the original game, there are two types of vehicles, a modified Jeep with a turret and a tank and its destructive cannon. Reloaded, offered one more vehicle, a police car, in one of its new levels. While it is more than capable of mowing down aliens, its lack of weapons leaves it underwhelming compared to the others.
There is a huge advancement in the arsenal of weapons. While the first game had only nine weapons in total, Alien Shooter 2 contains over fifty. All the weapons are well balanced, none being over or underpowered.
A few new enemies are introduced along with all the old ones being completely redesigned to fit in with the new graphics. Like the weapons, the enemies are all well balanced and their new designs are really well done.
For the more adventurous players looking for the ultimate challenge, an additional difficulty was added for the sequel, Impossible. The new difficulty really adds a whole new level of challenge but it is far more balanced than that found in the Alien Shooter expansions.
While challenging, the Impossible difficulty is possible with the right character setup.
All the new features and mechanics that the sequel added are more than welcomed, polished and balanced. Alien Shooter 2 is a huge step forward and Sigma-Team didn’t forget what it was that the fans loved about the original.
Good old fashioned mindless action
While having a bunch of new features and mechanics is great, what good would they be if the game's core gameplay was not the same? Despite everything new, Sigma-Team was able to keep the gameplay pretty much the same, lots of guns and lots of aliens to use them on.
In the Reloaded version of the game, there is a total of seventeen levels to complete each with their own objectives. Just like in the previous game, the levels have secrets to be found. Thanks to the new engine, the developers were more creative with the secrets and give secret hunters and completionists a run for their money.
As for the general gameplay, it is still completely over the top, mindless action. The main idea of the game is to slaughter tons of aliens. While starting off easy, the groups become bigger and tougher with each new level. A level can contain anything between five hundred and nearly two thousand enemies.
At the beginning of most levels, you can access the shop through a computer. Here you can buy new items, weapons, armors, implants and ammunition along with selling old or obsolete equipment and repairing armor. As the game progresses, new items become available. Money is obtained through destroying objects, finding secrets and completing levels.
Overall the gameplay to Alien Shooter 2 is as much fun if not more than the original. The redesign and additions to the gameplay and the shop are far more polished and refined than that of its predecessor.
While there is more variation in the gameplay with the addition of vehicles and changing environments, it is still repetitive. If you enjoyed the original you are going to absolutely love this. If you didn’t, your opinion will be no different.
All new survival modes
Alien Shooter 2 Reloaded contains a total of three survival modes, Campaign, Stand firm and Gun stand. The latter was an addition of the Reloaded version. First up is Campaign. This mode takes place over a series of five levels where the sole objective is to survive each one.
As you kill enemies you gain experience and level up. With each level up you get to choose a new weapon and gain three skill points to distribute how you see fit. Enemies have a chance of dropping ammunition, health pickups, armor and various power ups, some unique to this mode.
While the Campaign mode is a lot of fun, it can come down to luck rather than skill to determine whether you will win or not. What power ups and drops you get from enemies can make a big difference between facing impossible odds and having a fighting chance. And it can sometimes lead to some frustration.
Stand Firm is a redesign of the original game's survival mode. Essentially you just have to last as long as you can while killing as many enemies as possible. At the end of each wave, a boss will appear. When defeated it will drop a new more powerful weapon, there being five total. As usual, enemies will drop various equipment and power ups to help you even the odds, but your death is inevitable.
The final survival mode is Gun Stand, which has a more unique and fun gameplay. You control a turret that sits in the middle of a map and you must fend off wave after wave of enemies. Upon completing a wave, a nuke is set off killing all remaining enemies.
Before the next wave starts, you get to choose between turret upgrades that come in four different forms; upgrading the turret itself, adding rocket launchers to it, calling reinforcements, or repairing and upgrading the walls. As you progress through the waves, the enemies become more plentiful and stronger.
There is some tactical design as to how the order of upgrades work. Some will work better than others. While it is the most tactical of the survival modes, it is great fun and not luck based like the campaign. Some are not perfect, but all the survival modes have fun to be found. Yes, Campaign and Stand Firm can be reliant on luck as to how long you survive but in a sense that is part of the fun. It also makes Gun Stand’s tactical approach ever more welcome.
A great addition to the series
Alien Shooter 2 Reloaded is a great addition to the series. Not only does it improve everything that made the original game good but expands on it. The over the top action is all brought together with a brand new adrenaline filled soundtrack that is simply great.
The game does have a few bugs that cause very occasional problems, such as events not triggering and vehicles getting stuck on the terrain. Also, the Vsync can cause stuttering with more modern graphic cards and requires turning it off in your graphical settings to fix. Aside from those, however, Alien Shooter 2 Reloaded is everything you could ask for in a sequel.
Yes it is still repetitive, just like the original and its story is pretty much the same but it is a game you play more for the action over anything else. If you like Alien Shooter and this form of the game, you will love this. If you don’t I would advise giving it a miss.