Pub­lisher Sega De­vel­oper Cre­ative As­sem­bly For­mat 360, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One Re­lease Oc­to­ber 7

Alien: Isolation is beau­ti­ful, its aes­thetic taken from the 1979 movie and ex­panded un­til Cre­ative As­sem­bly had en­vi­sioned an en­tire world in the same style. The stu­dio’s faith in the source ma­te­rial has made for a ter­ri­fy­ing game, too, but it’s pos­si­ble its story’s shocks and thrills will be good only once, even with a sys­temic, AI-driven alien hunt­ing play­ers dif­fer­ently ev­ery time. The an­swer, then, is a se­ries of chal­lenge rooms, the first of which was de­moed at E3.

Each chal­lenge sand­box places Amanda Ri­p­ley in a con­fined space with a dis­tant ob­jec­tive and a lone Alien hunt­ing her down. It’s Alien: Isolation re­duced to its most es­sen­tial parts: Ri­p­ley, the alien, and as many stealth op­tions as Cre­ative As­sem­bly can of­fer. Tak­ing a cue from Rock­steady’s

Bat­man chal­lenge rooms, each mis­sion of­fers three ob­jec­tives which, when com­pleted, shave sec­onds off your recorded com­ple­tion time. The thought of fac­ing the Alien with­out a mo­tion tracker is a ter­ri­fy­ing prospect, but to do so while com­plet­ing two additional jobs in Sev­astopol Sta­tion’s chal­lenge spa­ces for a full 90 sec­onds of bonus time is near unimag­in­able. Few at E3 even saw the area’s exit, and many more backed out early – the game’s pro­ce­dural scares as ef­fec­tive as any­thing the de­sign­ers could script.

Fire will de­ter the Alien for a mo­ment or two, but fuel is a scarce re­source, and a flamethrower burst or Molo­tov will burn through it in sec­onds. Even with weapons, Ri­p­ley can’t fight the crea­ture, only evade it

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