Friday, 26 May 2017

Alien: Isolation





Have you ever played a game that blew you away so much, that was so awesome, that when it comes to talking about your experience of it, you are lost for words and do not know where to begin?
This is how I feel about Alien: Isolation and it is partly why it is only now that I am blogging about it. 
I feel that there is so much to talk about, that I have kept putting it off until that overwhelming feeling of the task at hand has subsided. Now, I feel ready and thankfully, inside my head, as I get lost in trying to describe the experience that I have had with this game, whilst writing about it, nobody can hear me scream. 


I knew before playing Alien: Isolation, that it was going to be a good game. I could sense it, even though I didn't see much in the way of advertising for it. I didn't rush out to buy it. In fact, I was more than late to the party when I began to stream my game-play over YouTube.....
I watched as the price of the game dropped quickly, eventually deciding that it was time to purchase a copy when it was down to around £15. This is pretty much how I do game buying today. If I am paying big bucks for games, in general, it is to add retro games to my ever growing collection.
Game purchased, I began playing. Instantly, I was in awe at the graphics, which set the scene of the Alien world perfectly, really capturing the mood of the first Alien film. I made it all the way to the first encounter with the xenomorph, thinking wow, over and over and then my frustrations began. Once the alien is in stalking mode, you have to get very strategic about how you move around, otherwise you will be snapped up and head smashed very quickly. The frequency in which this was happening to me in the beginning, started to put me off wanting to continue playing, which I eventually did, bypassing the game case for weeks before finally having another go and even then it was a stop start affair, until I figured out what I was doing wrong. I was moving too slowly. It took me forever, it felt, to figure this out. I was moving so slowly, that I was actually alerting the alien and the androids, more than if I were to move more quickly. Once, I had realised this, I was off and.... well, not running, but certainly not standing still, waiting for my head to be pierced or body pumped full of holes.

'Changing the format to my usual blogging, lets get into the game.'

As a long time fan of the Alien franchise (ever since almost wetting myself watching Aliens), it isn't difficult for me to get excited at the prospect of a new addition to either film or game. Lets face it, there have been some heavy weights and even the light weights such as both Alien 3, game and film are not too bad to sit through. Colonial Marines (check my blog about this one), helped me to understanding the potential that a new gen Alien game could have for greatness; despite its obvious flaws, it is a half decent shooter. Isolation, fulfilled this potential and then some. Stepping out into the blackness of space, as the daughter of Ripley, was a blast from the past brought into the future. All throughout the nightmare that takes place on board the Sevastopol, I was genuinely frightened and had to constantly remind myself to breathe and loosen off my neck and hand muscles with some yoga poses every time I could huddle into an air shaft and risk staying still for a moment. The whole experience is intense to say the least.
Although some have called out that Alien: Isolation, is not a survival horror, I beg to differ. Sure it isn't a straight traditional, but it is as close to the original experience that I have personally felt I have been in a long time....in fact, at times, it can easily feel as though you have been warped into the first Alien film, which in itself is a story of desperate survival. The aim of the game, is not to blast your way through the game (we all know how that one plans out, right)? You do have weapons and explosives, but these are merely for show most of the time and strictly for emergency escapes. Try throwing flash bangs around randomly and see how long you last before the back of your skull is spat onto the ground. You must choose your path wisely and limit how much noise you make, even neglecting your tracker at times, especially if you should have to hide under a table or inside a locker and even then you better hold your breath if that slimy mush of an alien mouth should breathe its stink breath up close and personal. Am I making myself clear? You will have to survive the horror. This is why, Alien: Isolation, is a survival horror. It has almost all of the elements of the classics, such as Resident Evil, only the perspective is first person. This however is valid, given that the engine created form scratch, by developers Creative Assembly, has allowed for the most authentic looking Alien game to date. Despite the panic of attempting to get from one area to the next, I couldn't help but stop and look out into space or look around the rooms that I shifted through quickly. It is to date, one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 4. Everything looks nice and I don't remember anything glitching out....oh actually, there was the odd floating object from time to time, but mostly the game is flawless.
The plot is typical of the Alien continuity. You are in space, there is an alien on board the ship that you occupy, you don't want to die, but don't quite know what to do and for some stupid reason, Weyland-Yutani want to keep the said alien. To be honest, it is nothing new, but done rather well and could of worked as a better film adaptation in place of the newly released Alien: Covenant. It makes sense. Ripley's daughter, in space, seeking closure, finding it in the form of having to face up to the same horrors that her mother did. The action of the game is fast paced and explosive, as the space station that you land on, literally starts to explode as you work your way through it, from one nail biting (or face hugging) scenario to the next, until finally the inevitable happens; the alien is blasted into space, with a little twists to the original film plots. If you love the first two films, then you will no doubt love this game.
The highlight for me, is how involved the makers of this game make you feel, utilising the use of the PlayStation camera and microphone, which can make the game even more difficult to play, but that creates an atmosphere that will literally put you on the edge of your seat and the one downside is that there isn't a chapter selection, meaning that trophy hunting is a longer affair for completionists, which is a shame, because it is pretty straightforward picking up a large amount of them.

'£10, now, for game and dlc, get out and buy it, if you haven't played this game already.'

'Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.'

I am back on Twitter: @Illuminatitingz
New live stream Monday will be coming next month (August), where I will be playing through old and new titles in my massive video game collection.