Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game capturing the fear and tension evoked by Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic film. Expect to spend hours drenched in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger as an unpredictable, ruthless Xenomorph is stalking and killing deep in the shadows.

Story

Alien Isolation is beautifully crafted homage to the original Ridley Scott Alien movie. The game is set 15 years after the events of Alien. You play the game through the eyes of Amanda, the daughter of Ellen Ripley (from the original movie). Amanda is transferred to the space station Sevastopol to find the flight recorder of the Nostromo only to discover that something dark and shiny has terrorised the station and killed the vast majority of the crew.

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While you do meet and interact with several characters throughout the game the most notable character has to be Sevastapol station itself. A giant metal sculpture packed full of frightening steam vents, crawl spaces and eerie radios, its the perfect location for a survival horror. You can expect to spend 20 – 25 hours with Alien Isolation spanning a story that continually ramps up the pace and is filled with Alien-like moments.

Presentation

My favourite part of the game was the beautiful attention to detail that was spread throughout the game. The game looked and felt as though you were back in the world of 1979, with all the technology, artifacts and lighting effects creating a totally captivating experience (as a side note – wearing a pair of Gunnar optics enhances that effect even more so). I really enjoyed creeping around the space station exploring the crew’s living quarters, looking at the old posters and abandoned magazines.

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In some ways it reminded me of the world of Bioshock (not in terms of aesthetics but rather the overall crafting and attention to detail).

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The soundtrack is understated and paired well with sound effects of the groaning space station. The sound as well as the well timed lack of sound all added to the overall submersion in the moment. Overall the presentation was very slick and perfectly matched to the feel of the 1979 classic.

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Gameplay

It wouldn’t be a survival horror without a constant threat of demise. Alien Isolation offers that up in bucket loads. You will spend most of the time totally paranoid, sneaking around and freezing at every creak. I love the way that the Alien itself is so incredibly powerful bringing a real sense of importance to stealth. Make too much noise and you motion detector will light up with a fast moving object moving swiftly through the air vents, resulting in several spine-chilling moments of panic as the Alien walks around the desk you are cowered under.

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In terms of the gameplay you are faced with several different threats including other survivors and robotic droids that man the station. You will be able to craft various items from weapons like flash bangs to medikits from the various parts that you scavenge across the station and you are able to save progress at phone booths throughout the game. However, this can be rather frustrating if you are not always aware of the need to save.

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I particularly enjoyed the first part of the game before you see the Alien, from that point onwards it seems as though the Alien is around every corner regardless of where you move to on the station. The constant threat is great in the beginning but starts to wear thin when you have to spend ages hiding in lockers and under desks. This is wear I felt that Alien Isolation really falls short, it seldom rewards you for completing objectives and focuses far too heavily on pure survival. While I loved the horror and suspense it just didn’t end up being that fun to play.

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Summary

Alien Isolation is beautifully crafted homage to the original Ridley Scott Alien movie. It’s gorgeously rendered and provides plenty of suspense. It’s a fantastic visual and audio experience but fails to really deliver an exciting gameplay experience. If you are a big fan of the Alien movies then I highly recommend you pickup a copy. If you aren’t too big on the series then this may not be the game for you.