Aliens: Fireteam Elite

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Remember the moment when Ripley straps half the Colonial Marines’ arsenal into one overpowere­d, flame- and bullet-spewing weapon at the end of Aliens? Then collages explosives, ammo, and flares to herself, wipes sweat from her brow and goes gun-crazy on the Xenomorphs? That mood is Cold Iron Studios’ shooter.

In respect of making us feel like an overpowere­d Colonial Marine whirring through countless clips of explosive ammo as swarms of xenomorphs crack and spew acid, Aliens: Fireteam Elite salutes us, chews a cigar, and grins broadly. But there’s little in here that you haven’t experience­d before in similar team-based horde shooters.

The setup plays into Aliens’ lore neatly: the action is set 23 years after the initial film trilogy came to an end in a furnace. The xenomorphs are a known entity and the Colonial Marines have become adept at suppressin­g them. You’re sent to a research facility to uncover why the scientists have gone silent, how the xenomorphs got loose, and what mysteries the planet below holds. It means the developer can tease fans with Weyland Yutani conspiraci­es, introduce Prometheus’ Engineers, and more.


But you haven’t come for the fan-friendly lore drops, you’re here to blow chunks out of killer creatures. The moment-to-moment action is fairly standard – run to a room, prep your defences using unlocked gun turrets, mines, and special ammo and wait for a door to be unlocked or a panel hacked as you pepper the swarms of xenos with hot lead. It’s a structure you’ve played before in World War Z and other survival shooters.

What saves Aliens: Fireteam Elite is its devotion to the licence. The xenos attack in ways zombies can’t – scurrying along walls, up and above you on the ceiling, from below, and via vents. You have to dodge unique drones and larger armoured beasts or tackle them in different ways. And so it’s a shame the xenos are dropped in the final third for *cough* zombies and the game drifts too close to being stale. Thankfully the final act and a Queen assault is worth the entrance fee. If this shooter fails to be original it at least captures the organic, Giger-inspired tunnels of Ripley’s Aliens rescue.

Between missions you can tinker with loadouts and jigsaw together mods (mixing attack

There’s little in here that you haven’t experience­d before in team-based horde shooters.

and defensive add-ons offer bonuses). It’s enough to hold your attention but like much of the game rarely goes far enough to feel new or different. You will love the whizz of the Pulse rifle and the other Aliens-perfect moments, but the game around them is sadly lacking.

This online-focussed squad shooter recreates the feel of the Aliens movie perfectly but rarely gives us something original to do with all that pitch-perfect fan service. Ian Dean

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