Alone In The Dark
Release Date: OUT NOW!
Format reviewed: PS4 Also available on: PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC Publisher: Sega
plenty of decent Alien games, but now there’s a great Alien game. Taking its cue from Ridley’s Scott’s 1979 masterpiece rather than James Cameron’s action- packed sequel, Alien: Isolation puts HR Giger’s perfect organism back atop the food chain, and the results are thrilling.
Fifteen years after the first film, you play as Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen, sent to recover the Nostromo’s flight recorder from Sevastopol Station. Only something has gone horribly wrong. The Working Joe androids have lost their minds, the surviving humans have adopted a shoot- on- sight policy and there are whispers of an unstoppable killer stalking the station…
The Sevastopol is a triumph of design and atmosphere. British developer Creative Assembly has done a peerless job of capturing the look and feel of the 1979 original, with ubiquitous retro future tech, an unnervingly evocative soundscape and production design ripped straight from Ron Cobb’s original concept art. It’s a game that has a better sense of place than any Alien film for almost 30 years.
But it’s the Xenomorph that makes the Sevastopol a truly pant- wetting place to be. The acid- blooded beastie can appear at almost any moment and you’re completely powerless to prevent it perforating your skull, making even simple strolls between objectives unbearably tense. You can’t kill it, you can’t out run it, your only hope is to hide. Rather than follow a series of set patrol paths, the Alien is designed to be unpredictable, meaning outfoxing it is impossible.
It’s a game to be endured rather than enjoyed
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of gadgets that can be constructed to distract or temporarily drive the Alien away. There’s also a range of guns, but firearms are so inaccurate and noisy that letting off a round is an absolute last resort. It’s telling that we fired two shots in the entire game.
It’s a stunningly well- realised world, one underpinned by robust stealth mechanics. But it’s also undeniably stressful. Isolation is so relentlessly intense that by the end of the gargantuan 20- hour story ( one with too much padding to warrant such a long run time), you’ll be relieved it’s over. It’s a game to be endured rather than enjoyed, which won’t appeal to everyone – but after experiencing Isolation we wouldn’t have an Alien game any other way. Jordan Farley Two DLC missions come with the special edition; both recreate key scenes from Alien with the original cast.
Shooting at a Xenomorph is not a thing you’ll do much.