Review

Alien Rage Review

  • Game release: September 27, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Bland Rage.

Alien Rage is a mercilessly brutal game filled with fast-paced action and constant death. A non-player character sums it up perfectly when he advises the protagonist to "either own or be owned." If you are looking for a challenge, then Alien Rage will satisfy you briefly. But after the adrenaline rush subsides, there is little incentive to push forward.

Alien Rage's Steam Store page advertises it as "a truly intense, old-school styled shooter game," but that is not exactly the case. While it is certainly intense and mercifully free of quick-time events, it is more of a run-of-the-mill modern shooter. For example, the levels are linear battles through an asteroid mining facility and alien mothership; there is a checkpoint save system; you can carry only two weapons at a time (in addition to a pistol that never runs out of ammo); health regenerates; there are sequences where you have to mow down multitudes of aliens with a stationary minigun; and strategic use of cover and precision aiming through gun sights are often essential for victory. If you have played a first-person shooter made in the last 10 years, then you have already experienced most of what Alien Rage has to offer.

Manning a minigun while riding a vehicle? How original!

The main thing that differentiates Alien Rage from the next "one man must obliterate an enemy army single-handedly" FPS is its difficulty. The level of challenge provides fleeting moments of pure adrenaline, and though Alien Rage is often extremely taxing, it feels fair. For example, the checkpoint save system is generous, and enemies aren't crack shots who can shrug off a barrage of bullets. However, they can lob grenades just like you and always have plenty of buddies teleporting into the fray.

A typical minute in this fast-paced game involves sprinting behind cover to get out of range of an enemy minigun, using your weapon's sights to remove an overgrown Jawa's head, and bashing another alien to death before a grenade explodes in your face. Alien Rage has the uncanny ability to bring you to the verge of quitting before you complete a section or conquer a boss. There is a fleeting sense of accomplishment, or at least relief, that accompanies such victories.

You've seen these weapons before, and you've shot these enemies before.

The other thing that differentiates Alien Rage from countless other sci-fi shooters is its score system. Besides giving you bragging rights, your score unlocks perks that grant bonuses to gameplay elements such as your maximum health or the damage of certain weapons. You can change your perks on the fly. So if you wander into a room full of exploding barrels, you can exchange one of your three active perks for resistance to explosive damage. Your score is based on many factors, but getting kill streaks sends it into the stratosphere. Kill streaks are earned by racking up at least five kills of the same type in a row. Constantly crushing alien skulls earns you a high score, but you get even more points by executing a variety of kill streaks in the same level. Thus, you have an incentive to diversify your tactics.

For example, you get streaks for killing aliens with the pistol, explosions, headshots, and your weapons' secondary fire mode (secondary fire ammo is a limited resource shared between all weapons and replenished by power-ups). You can get multiple kill streaks at the same time by shooting five aliens in the head with your pistol's secondary fire mode (which counts for pistol, secondary fire, and headshot streaks). You can always replay a level to try to increase your score, which is the only incentive to do so, unless you want to find all the audio logs that explain why humans and aliens couldn't share the universe's most efficient source of fuel.

The music and art style are likewise bland, though the game at least runs smoothly.

Usually, multiplayer modes give you a reason to continue playing an FPS, but Alien Rage doesn't offer much in that regard. Multiplayer is limited to deathmatch and team deathmatch modes and has only a few maps and a handful of servers. For what it's worth, the action is fast-paced, and the maps are well designed for a balanced multiplayer experience. Alas, that doesn't make up for the dearth of content and the lack of people to play with.

The main problem with Alien Rage is how generic it is. You've seen these weapons before, and you've shot these enemies before. You fight a lot of aliens with cloaking capabilities, minigun-toting aliens in heavy armor, aliens that explode on death, spider bots, and turrets. Additionally, most missions are forgettable, linear forays through the repetitive asteroid mining facility and alien mothership. The only notable exception is the mission where you don a mech suit and crush aliens under your feet.

The boss fights, which generally take place within an enclosed arena, are as uninteresting as most missions. It doesn't help that the bosses generally look like giant humanoid aliens wearing more armor than a heavy tank. Unless you remember them for the frustrating hour-long struggle you went through to defeat them, you'll probably have forgotten most of these bosses shortly after the next level begins. You'll have no problem figuring out how to kill a given boss, but the execution can be extremely difficult. For instance, one of the hardest bosses, the robot at the end of the mech stage, can kill you in two hits, and you have little room to maneuver when trying to dodge his attacks.

Ultimately, Alien Rage is a hard game to recommend. In spite of its sense of speed and unrelenting challenge, its monotonous level design and lackluster atmosphere grow tiring, and few people are taking advantage of the barebones multiplayer modes. Admittedly, it provides quite a rush at times, and beating it on hard or brutal feels like a major accomplishment. Yet, such feelings are fleeting. You'll be as quick to forget Alien rage as a UFO abductee is quick to forget details of extraterrestrial probing.

The Good
Intense difficulty can lead to a sense of accomplishment
Kill streaks encourage you to adjust your tactics
You can change your perks at any time
The Bad
Frustrating, tedious boss fights
Generic and uninspired levels
Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Daniel Shannon still remembers the day when his family got a 486 with a CD-ROM drive. He used that PC to play an immense amount of Tie Fighter, Civilization 2, and Doom. For the purposes of this review, Daniel beat Alien Rage’s campaign on Hard, a task that took him around 17 hours.

Discussion

25 comments
outlawst
outlawst

is it repetitive ? Yes but not boring ...is it difficult ? yes but still enjoyable. actually ,it's not that bad ,the graphic and design of environment and characters are really good ,my opinion : the developers only focused on pure action and they almost succeeded . 7 of 10, no more and no less. 


Pukshd
Pukshd

Is this a joke? CoD launches every year and is repetitive, and the same game.

net_demon_demon
net_demon_demon

I must say that this article is 100% right. I got the game and played the game for a bit. More like a hour or two and well it just didn't do it for me. I my self would not recommend anyone playing this game. Truth is there are other better games then this game out there. I would not really say this game has challenges in it because it sure did not feel that way to me. The kill streaks can be done by not even trying and that is no challenge. I would say those that might end up playing this game should look at it as a game you will play for a few hours and then get tired and stop for a few day's. It just did not do it for me like other games have.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

So...

  • Frustrating, tedious boss fights
  • Generic and uninspired levels
  • Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. 

...And I bet still better than Colonial Marines.

nait2k4
nait2k4

I really like the graphics, but Christ the gameplay videos I have seen look shit house. I think I heard Totalbiscuit throw up a little when I was watching his WTF is....

mindgamers
mindgamers

Hate FPS with huge scoreboard, so generic...

hadlee73
hadlee73

"Intense difficulty can lead to a sense of accomplishment". lol I love how this says "can" instead of "will". Perhaps it used to have "but probably won't" tacked onto the end but was edited out :P

Croy666
Croy666

No mention of the key binding issue too... even tried it via the ini files, same problem. Seriously in need of a patch.

ampiva
ampiva

I guess the publisher didn't pay enough? Every CoD game fits this description except for the difficulty.

iampenguin
iampenguin

How can you say "notable only for it's intense difficulty" and then give it a game emblem of "punishing difficulty" - a bad emblem. Notable means a good quality.

feared4power
feared4power

if this was call of duty alien rage then it would be a automatic 11/5

dannyboy2016
dannyboy2016

@Croy666 Honestly, I thought that had been fixed in one of the five or so patches they've released. I could have sworn that I was I able to rebind my keys after one of the patches. However, I just booted it up and I can't. What a mess.

dannyboy2016
dannyboy2016

@ampiva I would have given most COD games a similar score if I had reviewed them.

I disagree with you about the original Call of Duty and United Offensive. They were fairly novel at the time. Also, COD2 was great for LAN parties. I had so many fun bolt action rifle battles with my wife on that Tunisian map.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

@iampenguin I debate that punishing is a bad emblem, dark souls difficulty is usually described as punishing and it's one of the greatest games this generation.

Pukshd
Pukshd

The problem is that they ignore those flaws.

dannyboy2016
dannyboy2016

@moonlightwolf01 @iampenguin 

I understand why that seems contradictory.  I beat it on hard and tried out its normal and brutal difficulty levels. Alien Rage will be ludicrously difficult for many people.I gave it “punishing difficulty” as a caveat.

With regards to difficult games… Dark Souls would still be a great game even if it was more forgiving. Meanwhile, Alien Rage is simply mediocre.

 

dannyboy2016
dannyboy2016

@hadlee73 @dannyboy2016Your definition is correct and I used it in that sense in the review. I just wanted to explain to iampenguin how I could give it the punishing difficulty emblem while mentioning the difficulty (or rather the adrenaline rush/sense of accomplishment that accompanies it) in a semi-positive matter.

hadlee73
hadlee73

@dannyboy2016 Not sure when the definition of "notable" changed to "good quality". I always took it as meaning "worthy of attention" which doesn't mean it's a good thing.

Alien Rage More Info

  • First Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Alien Rage is an Unreal Engine 3-powered arcade FPS that is coming to XBLA and Sony Entertainment Network.
    5.8
    Average User RatingOut of 55 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Alien Rage
    Developed by:
    CI Games
    Published by:
    CI Games, City Interactive, Ubisoft
    Genres:
    Shooter, 3D, Action, Team-Based, First-Person
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood, Strong Language, Violence