Impressions from E3: Alien: Isolation
Whether you are a fan of Aliens, Predator or both, the games that have tried to capture these two franchises over the years have been hit or miss. The previous titles revolving around the Aliens franchise have tried to mimic the feel of the James Cameron movie. They capture some of the tense moments, always giving you the weapons and tools to succeed and kill the xenomorphs. That is about to change with the newest installment, Alien: Isolation.
Published by Sega and under the development of Creative Assembly, Alien: Isolation aims to bring back the horror of Ellen Ripley's fight for survival in the original movie. Shown off at E3 as a playable demo, Isolation takes place 15 years after the events of Alien. You play as Amanda Ripley as she searches for answers to the mystery surrounding her mother's disappearance following the destruction of the Nostromo. The game takes place on the decommissioned space station Sevastapol as you try to survive against, not only a small band of looters, but a single relentless alien.
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/meNE4CPtnCo" frameborder="0" width="640" height="360" />
This title is being categorized as a first person survival horror game but has a few glowing differences from other games in the genre. First off, this game actively discourages combat. You can forget having easy access to weapons. The developers have stated that a pulse rifle will not be in this game at all.
Secondly, other than the small band of looters aboard the station, the game only gives you the one alien to worry about. Just like Ripley's cunning adversary in Alien, the xeno will be constantly hunting you and haunting your every step. Considering that the xeno hunts by sound, it makes stealth the primary way to go. This is what will set the game apart from the others. Rather than a series of bad guy encounters you have this intense game of cat and mouse going on the entire time.
Thirdly, unlike other stealth based games like those in the Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid series, you aren't tying to break in somewhere. Amanda is trying to get the f@#k out of dodge! The whole game is just you attempting to get off this station and away from this monster that just wants to kill everything. It adds this sense of desperation as well as the fear of death around every corner.
The alien is death. From that, that’s where the game play comes from. That’s where the tension comes from. It gives it a different feeling from everything else out there.- Will Porter, game writer Alien: Isolation
For the first time at E3, Creative Assembly announced a Challenge mode for Alien: Isolation. They basically throw the player into a sealed off section of the station. You then have a goal that you need to complete in a fixed amount of time with a xeno hunting you the entire time. So not only are you fighting the clock but also trying not to get killed by the xeno. Reports from people who tried this mode were positive, however very few people survived the mission. I'll bet that with all the noise on the show floor, no one heard the players' scream.
In my opinion, this is an excellent way for the franchise to go. There have been some good entries like the original PC Aliens vs Predator, as well as some bad ones like Aliens: Colonial Marines. None of these games succeeded in capturing the terror that was portrayed in the original 1979 movie. That movie is what set the bar and I think that is where this game is going. The more I see from this game, the more I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
Alien: Isolation will be launching on October 7, 2014. It will be available for PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. Until then, remember to stay frosty.