E3 2014 – Alien: Isolation Impressions

Alien: Isolation aims to right all the wrongs that videogames based on the iconic movie franchise have managed to make over the years. Put together by The Creative Assembly, a group known for hardcore strategy games, Isolation looks to be THE Alien game to look out for.

The E3 presentation featured a segment of the game in which the protagonist, Amanda Ripley, is skulking around the med bay section of the spaceship the game takes place in. There’s a xenomorph on the loose, and just like in Alien, it’s a deadly opponent. The demo did a great job at introducing the basic fundamental of the game: you don’t want to be seen by the monster, and you definitely don’t want to fight it.

Alien-Isolation-Uses-DualShock-4-on-PS4-Has-Old-Sci-Fi-ElementsWith that in mind, doing it is an entirely different thing. The alien is constantly on the prowl, and in that particular slice of the game, Amanda is trying to find the components needed in order to reactivate a door and escape. She hid behind objects, inside lockers and even under a bed, since one xenomorph look can prove fatal. And even though she did have a gun on her, her best weapon was the the motion tracker, which helped her attempt to avoid trouble.

That constant threat of death proved true when the presenter made a blunder and the alien nicked poor Ripley to shreds. There were also other two legged threats inside that ship which made themselves known towards the end of the hands-off demo. One was another human survivor on board, who was armed with a pistol — Amanda avoided him as he got into a scuffle with the alien.

Unfortunately for her, she did run into an android who was not too keen on her having her as a visitor. That guy nearly killed Ripley during the demo, but the Sega rep demoing the game managed to outsmart him and took him out. After that quick dance with death, Ripley was finally able to activate an evacuation protocol that opened the door, allowing for her escape.

1390105674-7Things weren’t all roses, though. The real end of the demo came in as the titular alien made his entrance, attracted by all the noise. As the blast door opened, something explodes and the screen went black, as Ripley is tossed backwards from the sheer force of the blast.

Dramatic as the demo was, the main thing that stuck with me from Alien: Isolation is the atmosphere and care for detail. Other Alien games have tried to feel like the movies, with the presentation style that emulated the late 1970s and early 1980s sci-fi look, but Isolation nails it in spades. The entire section the demo takes place in feels like a part of the first Alien film. Everything’s in the same worn down and lived in manner, fitting in well with the look and feel of the first two films.

The demo did its job in building up the hype, even though these days being excited about an Aliens game is almost a sure recipe for disappointment. The good news is that we won’t have to wait years for the end result. Alien: Isolation will be out in October on the Xbox 360, Xbox One and both the PlayStation 3 and 4, as well as PC.

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