[PS4 Review] Alien: Isolation
Are you ready to take on the role of Amanda Ripley? Yes, you read that right, Alien: Isolation places you in the shoes of Ellen Ripley’s daughter who is seeking some closure as she investigates deeper into what really happened to her mother and why she’s gone MIA. Will you help Amanda or are you too scared to face a death machine?
History has a way of repeating itself, which is why Amanda is working for the same company for which her mother used to work, probably because she’s still searching for answers that can help her understand why things went down a they did. Life goes as usual for Amanda until one day she is offered a golden opportunity: being part of a crew that has been tasked with picking up a recovered a recording from the Nostromo (the ship where Amanda’s mother was working) . This was supposed to be an easy mission, but as expected, things go south big time within minutes.
Alien: Isolation from SEGA and The Creative Assembly is an excellent representation of what it would be like to be stranded in a distant space station with limited supplies and no idea of where you need to go or where you can safely move to, with danger looming around every corner, what with the crazy humans, the even crazier androids… and the Alien. Oh, the Alien.
Humans you can eventually deal with once you gain access to some weapons, and androids, while definitely more durable, can also be left out of commission, but the Alien is pretty much invulnerable. If the Alien hears you, you’re dead. If the Alien sees you, then you’re even more dead. You can use noisemakers to distract the Alien or to lure it near a group of hostiles to keep it busy as it butchers every single one of your enemies. You can even use the flamethrower (and its limited ammo) to force it into hiding in the ship’s ventilation shafts, but that’s about it. It’s one Alien against anything that moves, and in every single fight the Alien always wins.
You must, therefore, use stealth tactics to get from point A to point B in one piece. Hiding from humans and androids will keep you out of harm’s way, and staying alive is the main focus of the game. There is no high score for killing X number of enemies and getting a killing streak going – quite the contrary, there’s a trophy for not killing any humans in the whole game! Always using the environment to your advantage by, say staying behind desks that keep you out of the field of vision of humans or hiding inside lockers or tool cabinets is the smart thing to do.
And if you’re lucky enough to find scraps and items you can craft into useful tools then you better make the most of them because who knows when you’ll get another chance to take a deep breath and carefully create a med kit or a noise maker. Why? Because you must be careful when you’re trying to craft something – or when you’re about to save your game – because the Alien will make short work of you if you don’t plan things in advance, and you end up leaving yourself open to that murdering beast.
If you want to have a fighting chance you better search all over the station for the blueprints that will unlock or improve some of the craftable items you can try to make in Alien: Isolation because they might just be the key between staying alive for another hour or getting stuck inside a locker hoping the Alien finds someone else to eat.
The motion tracker you’ve all seen in the movie will eventually be made available for players, and it will be a very handy tool, especially for those brave enough to take on the game’s highest difficulty setting. The motion tracker will let you know where humans, androids and even the Alien are lurking, making it an invaluable inventory item. Just be careful because the noise from the motion tracker is loud enough to let the Alien know where you are, and it won’t think twice before it rushes to your hiding spot to yank you out. Remember, if it finds you, you’re dead.
Trophy hunters will be busy for a while since the game has a trophy for completing your journey on the highest difficulty, and that will require a properly planned and slow run through the game – that is if you also want to get the no deaths (yes, no deaths!) trophy during said nightmarish run (which I don’t recommend).
Alien: Isolation is the perfect Alien game we’ve all been waiting for, and the PlayStation 4 version is gorgeous, with a fast frame rate and no slowdown to go along with the fun gameplay mechanics and the tense atmosphere. You’ll love every minute of your time in this space station, and you’ll always be closely listening to the environment, looking around every corner for the Alien that is out to get you.