Alien Isolation: Atmosphere Means Everything

It all started in 1979 when the first “Alien” movie appeared and changed people’s understanding of horror films in general. Pretty regular horror movie was shown in a very unusual light. No one expected a story about xenomorphic organism to become that popular but minimum blood and the lack of cliché attempts to scary the audience appeared to be the best ingredients for a successful story and started a new era in movie and gaming industry. We’ve seen and played lots of Alien related games but only a few of them were worth giving a try. Luckily, it looks like Alien Isolation will become another atmospheric story for Alien fans.


I hope there is no need to explain how bad was the previous game about Aliens. If I am not mistaken, it was called Aliens Colonial Marines. After pretty serious pause in Alien related gaming industry we all expected to see something truly amazing. After all, the idea of playing as a marine with the authentic weapon in your hands seems like a great idea for the story development. Unfortunately, nothing good happened and our expectations were destroyed with the very first levels of the gameplay. Even after pretty serious improvement months after the game still seemed to be just OK to play. Except for realistic and true-to-film weapons it had nothing. In other words it means that Alien Isolation has to be truly interesting and exclusively exciting, otherwise – Alien fans might gather together and do something bad.


The Story Lying Behind Alien Isolation

Now, here comes the first great news. The Alien Isolation won’t retell you the story of the original movie but it will have lots of references to some of the greatest Alien movie scenes and you will have a chance to play as Amanda Ripley. If you recall, Amanda is Ellen’s daughter and Ellen is the famous Alien fighter, the one and only Sigourney Weaver. Her daughter, Amanda, also appears in one of the movies so the story already gives us something to be excited about. But, don’t rush into things because there is a lot more waiting for you.


Alien Isolation kind of continues the unknown story of the first movie. Our character, Amanda Ripley, finds out about the Black Box from the “Nostromo” ship and that for some reason it is stored on another space station called “Sevastopol.” Why Sevastopol – no one knows for sure but from what we can tell, the ship has Ukrainian roots refereeing with its name to one of the cities in Ukrainian Crimea. In order to find out the truth about her mother, Amanda goes to the ship and that’s how the Alien Isolation story starts. For some reason, a xenomorphic creature appears on the scene earlier than one can expect and instead of lying in a capsule or being frozen in a cage, Alien travels all over the ship and happens to be very hungry.


The Concept of Alien Isolation

Before you start playing the game, there is one thing you should know: Alien Isolation will offer you to deal with one Alien only. Yes, you’ve heard me right. There won’t be hordes of Aliens running at you – just one, single but powerful xenomorphic creature. Why Creative Assembly team did this? Well, everything turns all around the concept of Alien Isolation. You see, the game is not a horror in its regular meaning and does not happen to be a shooter either. I would say that this is an Alien related stealth story with crafting elements. Now, let’s start explaining the tricky stuff.


In Alien Isolation you won’t be running with a gun shooting at the Alien. Instead, you will have to do your best in order to save young Amanda from being spotted. No matter what you do – you have to do it quiet. One bad step – and you will have Alien’s tale somewhere inside your body. Your task remains the same – you need to recover the black box with some valuable information in it but the route there is intense and dangerous. As far as guns will be at your service very rarely and any other weapon does not seem to scary the Alien away, you would have to show some creativity and use the environment at your best advantage. Whatever elements you find can be used to create traps and lure Alien to win you some time. Unfortunately, they are not likely to kill the beast but they surely can save you from dying during the first run.

When I said that you need to be extremely carefully, I really meant it. The trick is that Alien react to every sound and every unthoughtful step (and I mean it – EVERY UNTHOUGHTFUL STEP) can get Amanda killed. Sure, if you want to play cool, make sure you know the environment and avoid touching some ringing elements or tripping over broken stuff. However, sometimes even extra attention does not help in Alien Isolation. Sevastopol looks a lot like Nostromo and some of the ship rooms are very dark and scary. Sure, you can use some extra light but: you can expose yourself and get killed by the Alien or you can run out of batteries and move further on using only your feeling of space and intuition.


Alien Isolation Has the Smartest Alien Ever

Believe it or not, but one smart Alien on a ship can bring you more trouble than hundreds of xenomorphs. He can see and hear you everywhere. He can predict your every move but you – can’t. In Alien Isolation Creative Assembly use new AI algorithms and no matter how many times you replay each level, every single time Alien will react differently. The good thing is that you have a special monitor that can tip you where the creature is and where it is going to appear next. But, in order to prevent you from using it all the time, Creative Assembly added annoying but realistic feature: whenever you take out your monitor, everything around gets blurry. Sure, no one will forbid you to use the monitor as long as you want but then everything around you that is not in focus will become even more dangerous and trust me – you do not want to trip over another chair and meet the Alien.


Conclusions on Alien Isolation

Alien Isolation is not yet available for playing but you can preorder it on Steam for $25. Is it worth the price? I would say – yes. Sure, I am not the one to convince you in anything but from what I’ve seen and what I had to deal with – Alien Isolated seems to be the most interesting game and the closest story that continues the original plot. It is not an FPS in its actual meaning and it looks like you will have to spend the most of it playing stealth but wasn’t that something that made the Alien movies special? Atmosphere, danger and darkness. This what Alien is and this is what Alien Isolation will be.

Author: Oleg Repetskiy

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