Iso­la­tion al­lows you to use a PlaySta­tion 4 Cam­era or Kinect to track your head move­ments and noise lev­els in the room. The lat­ter is in­con­sis­tent, the alien not reg­is­ter­ing our claps as it passed, while at other times it would pounce on us for seem­ingly no rea­son at all. The head track­ing works bet­ter, but doesn’t feel as nat­u­ral as it might have done due to the mod­icum of lag be­tween your own move­ments and those on­screen, and the fact that you still have to hold L1 to peek. Still, phys­i­cally lean­ing around cover to keep an eye on the creature just feet from you re­mains a rush, even if press­ing a but­ton some­what un­der­mines the im­mer­sive ef­fect. from the DualShock 4 speaker. Bril­liantly, the noise it makes in-game will also alert nearby threats to your lo­ca­tion, which can lead to some un­pleas­ant demises if you hap­pen to pull the de­vice out at the wrong mo­ment. You also have a Se­cu­rity Tuner, used to hack ter­mi­nals and some locked doors through a va­ri­ety of short minigames, such as match­ing glyphs, which can be in­tensely fraught when you can hear the alien prowl­ing nearby. Other doors re­quire wrenches or cut­ting tools to by­pass, so find­ing the right gear will open up pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas of the sta­tion, and you’ll reg­u­larly back­track through its lightly bounded spa­ces.

Thanks to the game’s metic­u­lous de­sign and light­ing, you’ll never tire of mov­ing around Sev­astopol. More im­por­tant, though, is the alien it­self: across our 20-plus hours of play, it didn’t once be­have in­con­gru­ously or do any­thing to lessen its im­pact. The story fares less well, over­reach­ing it­self when what feels like the cli­max is fol­lowed by a sev­eral more hours of run­ning about, dur­ing which the stu­dio comes per­ilously close to let­ting Cameron’s in­flu­ence drown out Scott’s.

Even this can’t ruin the bril­liance of the core sys­tems or the exquisitely or­ches­trated at­mos­phere in a game pos­sess­ing some of the most terrifying se­quences we’ve ever en­coun­tered. Un­like the creature at its cen­tre, Iso­la­tion isn’t struc­turally per­fect, but it is bril­liantly hos­tile in a way that’s likely to shock many play­ers. Here, Cre­ative Assem­bly has crafted a sur­vival ex­pe­ri­ence that feels as fresh as it does fa­mil­iar, and raised ex­pec­ta­tions for what a hor­ror game can achieve. If only it had the script to match.

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