Alien Isolation Review

Introduction

Alien Isolation is a survival horror game that was developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega for PC and Consoles in 2014.

Review

It’s been 15 years since Ellen Ripley’s ship, the Nostromo, has been reported missing. Her daughter, Amanda Ripley has been trying to figure out where her mother went, and what happened that made her disappear. She finds out that her flight recorder has been retrieved and is enlisted to join the crew aboard the Torrens to go pick it up, on the space station known as Sevastopol Station.

Right out of the gate, the game starts with its creepy atmosphere. As you enter the station, after a spacewalk gone wrong! Oh no! Who would’ve thought!? The station is dark and abandoned, as it was decommissioned and is getting shuttered. But why was the flight recorder brought here? Well the crew from the Anesidora had to go there for reasons that I won’t exactly spoil. But there is a call back to the original Alien movie! I got really into the story of the game and the Sevastopol. There were computers littered around the station that you could interact with that had text logs on them. You learn how the crew felt when Savastopol was sold, or the lawlessness that started.

The game progresses in weird ways. Every “chapter” is broken up by missions, but a mission could be many areas long, or just one. Though I guess you could also break the game down into “Acts” with the way it progresses. The journey starts trying to find the flight recorder, only to turn into “how do I kill this alien!?”. This of course leads to the normal “time to get out of here! How?”. I truly loved the way the game progresses. A lot of people will say how the game felt way too long and made it lose all of its lustre. But the only time I ever got sick of the game, is in the odd event where the Aliens AI was being a jerk. 

The AI is programmed so that it can be sporadic. There’s no pattern to it. So it could leave me alone while I’m in an area, or it could make me hide in a locker for 20 minutes. This infuriated me. Sure I could stealth past the Alien sometimes, but not most of the time. One of the best parts of the game was when I was in a room and the Alien came in. I had to sneak past it, and I got so close to it, that I could smell it. My heart was racing and I was sitting there going “don’t turn around. Don’t turn around. Don’t turn around!”. Then I gunned it in a locker.

If you’re not hiding from the Alien, you’re hiding from rogue Synthetics or other human beings. Throughout the game, you find weapons that help you deal with all of these obstacles, but if I was ever given the chance, I was a stealthy ninja, as one gun shot made everything run to me and kill me. Plus the bullets from enemies kill you so fast! It wasn’t until the second half of the game where it turned into more of an action game than a stealth game. So you find yourself gunning down the Synthetics, which felt like a luck of the draw most of the time, on how many bullets it took. One enemy may take one shotgun blast to the face, and another may take 4. I never understood why. It wasn’t until the end that you got a kick ass gun that was a blast to use! Especially when it kills things in one hit. The only thing that won’t die is the Alien. If it sees you, you can only scare it off.

I did die…a whole lot in the game. At first I didn’t die a lot, but there were three specific parts that had me dying a lot! Once I had to interact with a computer, and no matter what, the Alien was behind the door I opened. So I died a lot trying to get into a locker nearby. A second time, the game wouldn’t give me a prompt for a vent system I had to enter, and the Alien would come from a door every time, no matter what. Whether it was the AI being lucky every time, or if it was scripted, I wasn’t sure. But I raged a lot. Then near the end of the game, I had to deal with a generator. But the alien hung around it constantly! I was lucky I finished the area before I just dropped it all together. Other than those three troublesome areas, I didn’t have any issues. I felt like it was my fault for not keeping track of the enemies enough. If you die though, you get sent back to your last save point. Not a checkpoint. So a save point was always a godsend. But if you play this expecting to not die a lot, that would be like playing Dark Souls, not expecting a death. They are abundant!

What I do wish for, was more space. There were two moments throughout the entire game where you actually get to spacewalk. The first time I was so excited. Even if it is just a basic area. I just wish there were more spots like it. Even though I loved the game, I found myself not being able to play it for more than a couple hours at a time. Mostly due to getting sick of hiding, but other than that, I’m not sure why. Unfortunately there’s just some games like that. Doesn’t mean they’re bad, or unenjoyable. 

With this being a survival game though, you do have to keep an eye open for items to loot. You get materials to be able to build survival items like med kits or smoke bombs. The one thing that did annoy me is that you weren’t given the ability to make bullets. So if you didn’t play smart and avoided combat a lot, by the time the endgame rolled around, you honestly could find yourself in a lot of tight spots. Sure it would’ve caused a lot of tense moments, but I would’ve found myself incredibly annoyed if I didn’t save everything!

Rating

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Atmosphere
  • Enjoyable Story
  • Tense Gameplay

Cons:

  • Some Problem Areas
  • Hiding For 20 Minutes
  • Not Being Able To Craft Ammo

Summary

Alien Isolation is easily one of the best survival horror games I’ve played. Yes it can be absolutely annoying to be hiding in a locker for 20+ minutes because of the Alien AI being a jackass, but other than that, it keeps the atmosphere tense! Plus the story kept me pushing forward to see if Amanda and crew actually make it out, along with finding out what happened to everyone living on the station. I can’t recommend this game enough, but just be warned that you may die a lot.

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Creative Assembly
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Sega
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £29.99/€34.99 Europe / $29.99 North America
Trophy Information: 51. 40-platinum 1 / Gold 3 / Silver 5 / Bronze 42

Images – https://www.igdb.com/

Alien: Isolation – Launch Trailer

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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