Growing up I was always a fan of the Alien Trilogy (yes, I enjoy Alien 3) and up until recent times we were given a myriad of average at best Alien/Alien related video games. So being such a big fan of the series, as well as survival horror games, when I heard about Alien: Isolation I was beyond excited. Only problem? I wanted to play this on a current generation console and not my Xbox 360. Well, a few weeks ago I was finally able to grab an Xbox One and quite naturally, the first game I purchased and decided to play was Alien: Isolation.
In Alien: Isolation you take on the role of Ellen Ripley's daughter, Amanda Ripley. Word gets to Amanda that someone had recently recovered the flight recorder for the Nostromo aboard the Sevastopol space station. A synthetic named Christopher Samuels delivers the news and offers Amanda Ripley a place on the Weyland-Yutani team (NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN WITH THEM INVOLVED, I SWEAR) in order to go retrieve the recorder to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of her mother. From there, your mission begins. And I am not spoiling anything.
Alien: Isolation does a wonderful job of creating a tense and horrific atmosphere through every aspect. You are totally submersed into this absolutely terror-filled environment. You are feeling a constant looming threat of dread and death. Yet, you always want more! Regardless of how taxing the mission may become, or how on edge you are due to the scares, you keep coming back and wanting to play more.
Stealth and survival is the key to Alien: Isolation. If you're going into this thinking it's going to be an Aliens-esque gunfight, you are sorely, sorely mistaken. It's up to you to use your environment, active and quick thinking, and craftable items to outwit all enemies that come your way. Patience is a virtue. But in saying that, if you plan on crouch-walking your way through the entire game... well you got another thing coming. Be smart, be quiet, but be quick.
There are numerous levels of difficulty in this game and I can say that this is truly a challenge. Challenging. But impossible? Not in the slightest. I played through the first 5 missions on Hard and I'll admit after a bunch of deaths I switched back to Normal and continued the rest of the game that way. The AI in this game is very good, and it's only hightened on the higher difficulties. In a way, Alien: Isolation has an old school feel to it because unlike many modern games, this is one that will likely require trial & error- with a truly rewarding feeling upon completing said trials.
Everything about this game is amazing. The story, the graphics, the sound, the atmosphere, etc. It goes on and on and it's truly astounding. However, the game is not without its flaws. At times the difficulty and AI (specifically of the alien) can become a nuisance and infuriating. If you die a bunch of times in a row, my recommendation is to give it a rest and try again tomorrow- because if you're not patient, you will not succeed. There are also times where you're trying to be fast, think on your feet, and certain prompts are difficult to execute. Menial prompts such as crawling into a vent can prove to be headache inducing. There's a specific spot in Mission 10 where you need to crawl into an area and if you're not lucky it could take almost 20 seconds just to get to the right spot to bring up the prompt- even though it appears to be easy as pie. Annoying.
In saying all of this: If you are a fan of the Alien series, survival horror games, etc. This is the definitive Alien experience. Alien: Isolation is a masterpiece of survival horror. I kind of just said it, but the best way to describe this game to someone is that it's not a game. It's an experience- a great one at that.