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Review

Alien: Isolation Review

  • First Released Oct 6, 2014
    released
  • Reviewed Oct 3, 2014
  • PS4
  • PC
  • XONE

Imperfect organism.

It's the first step towards the Alien game you've always wanted. But it's a tiny, uncertain step.

Given the poor showing of the last few major games set in the Alien universe, however, it's a welcome one. Developer Creative Assembly understands that an Alien game is nothing without fear, nothing without suspense. A burst of gunfire is all the more effective when silence precedes is, and the sight of a halitotic extraterrestrial is only meaningful if it represents danger--for where there is danger, there is thrill. And Alien: Isolation occasionally captures both that gut-wrenching sense of fear and the momentary comfort of escape. Every breath could be your last. And so you savor each one.

Oh, but how I wish these moments were more common in Alien: Isolation, which isn't to say that your encounters with the iconic xenomorph aren't themselves problematic; I will get to those problems later. No--it's the endless meandering in between that proves troublesome, much of it intended to build tension, but most of it falling victim to a neverending sameness. I say neverending, but in reality, Alien: Isolation limps to its frustrating ending after many hours more than it can support. This is four hours' worth of a great idea stretched into 14-plus hours of messy stealth gameplay, creaky video game cliches, and limp exploration.

Sometimes you don't pull levers. Sometimes you cut open door panels.
Sometimes you don't pull levers. Sometimes you cut open door panels.

What makes Alien: Isolation so ultimately disappointing is that when it's on, it's on. You are Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda, seeking information about your mother's fate aboard the Sevastopol, a derelict space station home to a remaining population of skittish survivors and a snarling, salivating xenomorph drone. The game reaches its zenith within levels structured as a game of cat-and-mouse, casting you, of course, in the role of the underpowered mouse. You crouch, slink, and peek around corners and above crates from a first-person perspective, avoiding the sideways glances of the fearsome creature that gives the franchise its name.

When all mechanics are working as intended, alien-evasion is dread distilled into its purest form. You are equipped with a couple of standard firearms and a few helpful gadgets, such as noisemakers for distracting the beast, and a flamethrower that acts as a temporary safeguard in later levels, but the motion tracker is the most vital tool you possess. Hold a button, and the tracker's dot shows you the relative location of nearby entities, friends and foes alike. The tracker does not tell you, however, if the alien is above or below you, scurrying through the ventilation ducts. If your sound system is lacking, you should don a good pair of headphones if you desire precise situational awareness. Hearing the xeno's clawed feet can paralyze you with fear, and you must battle your basic fight-or-flight instincts when you hear the alien's shuddering exoskeleton. To fight is to perish; to flee is to directly gift your flesh to the pursuer.

Human enemies are uncommon, and if you kill a friendly assuming he's a foe, it's an immediate
Human enemies are uncommon, and if you kill a friendly assuming he's a foe, it's an immediate "game over."

Actually, running might save you if there's a locker close enough to hide in, though your best bet is to stay crouched, stay hidden, and stay aware. These are the moments when Alien: Isolation weighs heaviest on your soul. Within said locker, you see the alien enter the room. It sidles up to your hiding place, and you hold your breath--in real life, and in the game. If the xeno hears your gasps, or if you fail to lean into the rear of the locker, it snatches you from your shelter and you peer into its two gaping maws before succumbing to death. Weirdly, holding your breath causes your health to deplete after a few seconds, so if you're nearing death when the alien comes calling, it might nab you even if you follow the game's instructions to the letter. The mechanic is strange: not only does it not make sense that you lose health when holding your breath for a few scant seconds, it doesn't make sense that the alien would be the cause of death. The game never informs you of the possibility, so should it occur, you might assume the game doesn't abide by its own rules. After all, no amount of logic would lead you to believe that the alien grabbed you because you ran out of health while holding your breath.

Nevertheless, I can't deny the appeal of dodging the murderous menace. There were moments in which I was Ripley, impulsively sprinting away from the xenomorph when I heard it fall to the floor from a vent just behind me, and crying out when its barbed tail plunged into me from behind and emerged from my torso. I would peer from around corners to see it scanning the area just 20 feet from me, and follow quietly behind it as it slithered down the hallway. But these moments, these game-defining high points, account for only a few chapters out of many, and Alien: Isolation doesn't even make the most out of them. At one point via radio, your comrade encourages you to rush, the game thus prompting you to run towards your destination. And over the next few minutes, you confront several of Alien: Isolation's annoyances, compacted into one bite-sized space for your displeasure.

No Caption Provided

When all mechanics are working as intended, alien-evasion is dread distilled into its purest, simplest form.

There's the issue of the command to hurry, for instance, because following the game's lead means you will quickly die. You see, the xenomorph now waits for you to cross under a vent opening from which it can attack--a mechanic that the game introduces when you are under duress. (As it happens, though, there is no actual reason to hurry; the level gives you all the time you need, even though the game itself has insisted you rush.) Your motion tracker is little help here; your cue to the alien's presence is the cascade of saliva and goo dripping from the ceiling's openings. This is a neat idea, but the mechanic's sudden appearance isn't foreshadowed, making your first death at its hands one of Alien's multiple "what just happened?" events. The game is fond of introducing new rules in this fashion, leading to head-scratching trial and error and the occasional pounding of fist upon desk when you realize the game's limited save system is making you repeat the last 15 minutes of slow, careful sneaking.

Bear in mind, however, that alien encounters are limited to just a few levels. Typically, you're walking, pulling levers, riding elevators, and walking some more. This is the downtime, the time for building atmosphere, and Alien: Isolation wisely embraces that 1970s retro-futuristic style that characterized Alien, with its monochrome computer monitors and its cathode-ray technology--the kind of datedness Douglas Adams called "zeerust." Perhaps it's fitting that the game itself looks rather dated, its character models in particular, whose elbows look as though they could cut glass when they bend, and whose blank faces are always covered with a bizarre sheen of sweat. The visual weaknesses would be easier to overlook had they not interfered with the game's attempts to build tension, but having the alien's head clip into the locker you're hiding in dispels any anxiety the scene has established. The alien itself looks fantastic, at least; death may prove frustrating, but it's the best way of admiring the xeno's two sets of razor-sharp teeth.

Viewing the motion tracker causes the background blur, but you can focus on the background and cause the foreground to blur instead. It's a slick effect.
Viewing the motion tracker causes the background blur, but you can focus on the background and cause the foreground to blur instead. It's a slick effect.

The exploration ultimately falls flat, a victim to backtracking and simplistic gameplay elements lacking in creativity. Many video games feature security cameras that alert the enemy to your presence--but in Alien: Isolation, the camera off-switch is often located directly beneath the camera. Sometimes, you must log into computer terminals to find codes that unlock important doors--but the email with the code might be on the same terminal that does the unlocking. The rewiring stations that allow you to disable cameras may also allow you to manipulate the Sevastopol's air-purification mechanism and other systems, but rarely to any meaningful end. The cameras, the rewiring stations, the codes--it's as if they are here because that's just what video games do. Even the story beats fall victim to by-the-numbers claptrap: the game leads you from one section to the next, always making it clear which characters exist to serve as alien fodder, and predictably mirroring the original film's themes and plot.

Androids serve as your most frequent foe in Alien: Isolation, and they're common enough that it's tempting to bash them straight-on with a stun baton. A typical synthetic turncoat won't take too kindly to a direct attack, however, and will aggressively fling you at a nearby wall, if not outright whack you. The first-person perspective makes becoming a synthetic's personal yo-yo frighteningly disorienting, another notch in the game's favor. Here, again, I feel as Ripley does: helpless and afraid as I desperately scan the environment, seeking a clear path through impending danger. Some gadgets prove mostly useless when dealing with synthetics; they seem wholly unfazed by flashbang grenades, for instance, making a shotgun blast to the head the most appealing option when there's nowhere to run.

No Caption Provided

This is four hours' worth of a great idea stretched into 14-plus hours of messy stealth gameplay, creaky video game cliches, and limp exploration.

Other synthetic encounters are simply ridiculous, however. A dozen-plus hours in, you ride an open-air elevator downward, taking in one of Alien: Isolation's most striking views, one that intimates that the game's finale could be at last drawing near. A synthetic is waiting for you at the bottom, and there is no mechanic in place allowing you to veil your presence from him, or his three robotic friends that follow. A number of cover locations just beyond tell you that stealth was meant to be an option, but the manner in which the keen-eyed synthetics are spaced, the nature of a lift ride that deposits you into danger, and the narrowness of the walkways you traverse make for a cluster of madness. To deal with synthetics is often to engage in a silly game of tag, in which you lead a few androids around in circles until you buy yourself enough time to turn and toss a molotov cocktail at them.

That elevator ride signals the moment the hopes for Alien: Isolation shatter--the moment it tries and and mostly fails to mimic a more straightforward action game on its way to a frustrating conclusion. At least the ending brings with it a sense of relief. Some of this relief stems from the lingering fear of the alien's presence. You have left the game and its creature behind, never to smell the alien's putrid breath, never to witness its syrupy saliva, never to seek refuge in a claustrophobic locker and wish the beast away. More relieving is that you won't have to trudge through the same duct-lined corridors for another however-many hours, or have to repeat ten minutes of switch-pulling and keycard-searching after firing a bullet into a friendly's head because you presumed she might attack you, as so many dwellers do. Alien: Isolation provides us a glimpse into a future that holds the Alien game you've always wanted. It is not, however, the vessel that carries you there.

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The Good
Alien cat-and-mouse encounters can be tense and frightening
Nails the right retro-futuristic atmosphere
Great use of sound and motion-tracking
The Bad
Loaded with uninspired filler
Trial and error + distant save points = frustration
Some mechanics are inconsistent; others are illogical
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Kevin appreciates the film Aliens, but still prefers the original Alien, and prefers never to think about Prometheus at all. He spent about 16 hours with Alien: Isolation, and he enjoyed them more than the hours he spent with Aliens: Colonial Marines, though that isn't saying much.
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ElementalWeapon

I played the game 3 years ago on PS4 and absolutely loved it, and had a great time going for all the trophies.

Just bought it again for the Xbox One and finished my no-death run. It’s still as suspenseful as the first time I got my hands on it years ago.

6 is a shockingly low rating for this game, in my opinion. It does what it sets out to do, and I would give it a 9.5 in terms of how it nailed the tense, survival horror atmosphere. Toward the end you do start to get fatigued a little, but it was great throughout.

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McStabStab

Almost four years have gone by and i’m still in shock that this game was reviewed as a 6/10. Someone from the gamespot team should really revisit this masterpiece.

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ZmanBarzel

@mrwarcriminal: "The Witcher 3," "Bloodborne," "God of War III Remaster" and "Dark Souls 2" would all beg to differ.

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mrwarcriminal

@zmanbarzel: cherry pick a few here & there however his work at large is what im addressing

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ZmanBarzel

@mrwarcriminal: Yes, and you are cherry picking just a few as well.

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mrwarcriminal

@zmanbarzel: wow, all of 5 min you reviewed his rating history. U must have a mouthful of Van Nerd c*#k in your mouth. Im out!

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ZmanBarzel

@mrwarcriminal: "all of 5 min"

You do realize that with the way profile pages are set up for staff/ex-staff, you really don't need more than five minutes to get a general overview of their review scores, don't you?

https://www.gamespot.com/profile/Kevin-V/content/reviews/

Avatar image for eggmcmuff
eggmcmuff

He can stuff his overt politics, but boy howdy is he a damned fine reviewer. Gamespot was better with him.

I paid $15 in a PSN sale to finally grab this and get my Sci-Fi fix. All stealth games have trial and error elements. With the AI rubber-banding to my location and parking it for minutes at a time, this thing has become a nap-under-a-desk simulator. After my 100th death at about four hours in, I'm about to concede I got my money's worth and move on.

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R4gn4r0k

A six ?

I see, now I remember why I don't take Gamespot reviews seriously anymore.

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Crazed8

You know this game is just a metaphor for about how Mexico is taking over the US. :P

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rogue81

By the last few chapters of the game, I was over it. They threw xenomorphs and facehuggers at my so frequently that I wasn't scared of them anymore. At one point, two xenomorphs dropped right in front of me, and I just blasted both with my (worlds least efficient) flamethrower, hoping it was the last little hurdle and I'd finally be done with it. It wasn't, and I had to trudge through another plot twist.

By the time I actually beat it, it was with a tired "finally..." instead of an enthusiastic "Yes!". I totally agree with this review.

Avatar image for yasso
yasso

Lots of people disagree with Kevin's reviews; I only rarely did. Usually I mostly agree, and partially disagree. About half the time, I believe the game deserves one more point above his review points. The most I disagreed with him on was Dying Light; I thought it was significantly better than his review. However, after trying the first few chapters of Alien Isolation, I find myself mostly agreeing with Kevin on this one. The game may deserve 7 rather than 6, but really no more than 7. The reasons are: I quickly found myself spending most of my gameplay time in lockers, with my finger firmly and tiresomely pushing one button to keep the freaking motion sensor on; it really got boring and tiresome too fast. Sega should've really made the activation of the motion sensor with a Toggle option. And...actually the motion sensor should've been on all the time, perhaps built into her hand watch or even attached to her uniform, whatever, so that she can check containers and look around normally while hearing the beeps (when the motion sensor is turned on), and only hide when they get too fast indicating close proximity of movement. But the constant, frantic checking of the motion sensor when frantic searching for useful items or objective items, gets confusing, stressful, and tiresome really too fast. Secondly, then alien should not have been scripted so lazily and cheaply; it should have been made artificially intelligent (AIed) instead, and kept purely random. But it is actually scripted in the game unfortunately. How so? No matter how quiet you are, and no matter where you go in a very big area, it always moves to the area you're in, always...no matter how far you go and quietly! One can argue that, Oh, that's because of its...“heightened senses”. My counterargument is: Oh yeah? If its heightened senses are so high and it just “instinctively” follows you around or moves to wherever spot you're hiding in, then why the hell does it not complete the job using its “heightened senses” and find you in your locker, no matter how much you move back or hold your breath? No, really, it's just nonsensical and obviously scripted to just follow you around, but never really find you. Almost never, at least, if you beat the game. It really, really should have been made artificially intelligent instead, and its search patterns should have been completely random. So that if you leave it behind in an area, it keeps scouring every corner and sniffing every locker there, even though you're not there, giving you time in the area you move to, to search things, find quest items, etc. And if it finished searching the area behind, then perhaps at that point its AI search patterns would move it to a new area, perhaps the area you're currently in, and so on. But when I magically find it in my area and my specific room and sniffing my specific locker, even though I was really quiet all the time, then it just puts me off and makes me realize this is a friggin’ script and not programmed artificial intelligence that would've made me feel that the creature is genuine and has acceptable intelligence.

So yeah, overall, maybe it deserves a 7 for a new way of playing, but no more than that. No game that keeps you in a locker with your finger painfully holding down a button for minutes on end, and punishes you for not doing that with completely random deaths, AND moves you back to friggin’ pre-determined save points rather than loading a quicksave, no game that does all that crap deserves more than 7.

Avatar image for R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

@yasso: "I quickly found myself spending most of my gameplay time in lockers, with my finger firmly and tiresomely pushing one button to keep the freaking motion sensor on; it really got boring and tiresome too fast."

Yeah that sounds really boring.

I played this game for about 28 hours and never once spent any time sitting in a locker just waiting.

Sounds like an absolutely boring experience you went through, too bad !

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Egemensson

@yasso: chill dude, it's totally ok to suck at or simply dislike a game, just try to be fair when criticizing. i've just finished the game on hard difficulty in 18 hours and didn't even need to hide in lockers more than 10 times.

the game easily deserves over 8.5, at least. obviously ign and gamespot needs to hire more competent and smarter reviewers.

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yasso

@ruwenzori: I am fair when criticizing, dude. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have included specifics and details. And I can beat the game at hard difficulty now; that doesn't make it a fun game, and neither does it make it a game with an engaging or challenging learning curve. The game sucks, and does not, by any means, deserve more than a 7. Don't try to sugarcoat a bad game with a minority following. If the developers invest more effort in the next one, and drop the scripting shit and replace it with proper AI for the alien and other enemies, and stop making players walk and walk and walk, then even backtrack their very long steps later in another level (just like Kevin said), then maybe, just maybe the sequel can be a worthy game and a genuinely good one. But this game, that I was relieved to beat or finish, not happy or satisfied but relieved, is shit. Fact.

Avatar image for -nur-
-Nur-

@yasso: There is absolutely no reason to ever go into a locker. There are always better options. For the life of me I don't understand why you'd choose to keep going into them when you simply end up dying. Who does something like that? Also, are you aware of the fact that the alien can hear the beep emitted by the motion tracker? So if the alien keeps pulling you out of your hiding spot then maybe that's because you're staring at the tracker. You can often keep track of the aliens location by hearing alone. You're not supposed to have your eyes glued to the tracker all the time.

And yes, the alien follows you into a new area after a short lag. This is largely for gameplay reasons, as you guessed, and the game is better for it, for it'd be quite dull if the alien were stuck in one location the whole time while you're a mile away. But also, only a stupid predator would spend minutes looking for its prey in an area where the prey hasn't been in a long time, and the alien is supposed to be the "perfect organism". You can alleviate this "problem" by playing on Easy or Novice, where the alien has a ridiculously large patrol radius, but I'd rather play on Nightmare where the alien is constantly stalking you.

Edit: I can see why you and Kevin might dislike this game, for based on both of your comments, it seems neither learned anything, you just kept repeating the same formula even after it had clearly backfired a billion times.

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yasso

@-nur-:

@-nur-:First, I challenge you to upload videos of yourself playing a few chapters on Nightmare, or even Hard difficulty, without ever going into a locker. I genuinely want to *see* that in front of my eyes. So get a copy of Fraps or something similar, and record yourself doing that and upload to YouTube and give me the URLs here so I can watch and verify your fantastical claims.

And yes, of course I'm aware that the alien can hear the motion tracker when close enough. I learned that lesson from just one mistake. However, I've had situations where the alien was constantly around 0.40 to 0.60 on the motion tracker for several minutes in a row, roaming too close for me to leave the locker and go anywhere.

And I go into lockers because there are no other options! Hiding behind a desk or whatever is worse; the alien soon enough sniffs me out. And walking away it futile because the alien is faster. And running is stupid because it's the fastest way to get found.

And the game is *not* better for the alien following you into an area every single time; it's screaming at the player "scripted", "this is happening because the director wanted so", manufactured, forced, cheap crap. It would've been much, much better, more fun, and actually scarier if it's truly random, and truly dependent on the alien having failed to find me in the previous area and now moving on to search another area, which happens to be mine. Where's the fear or shock when I KNOW, every single time, that the alien is in my area and I just have to use the motion tracker to know its general direction? That's predictable shit.

"only a stupid predator would spend minutes looking for its prey in an area where the prey hasn't been in a long time". And a predator that spends half an hour moving back and forth outside one specific room, without ever finding its prey, is a “perfect genius predator”? Haha. The delusions are really bad.

And I HAVE played on Novice. You know what I saw? I swear to God, I saw the alien dropping from a ventilation shaft in the ceiling, right on top of 3 survivors, RIGHT ON them! Then I hid behind a wall, and peaked to take a look at what's happening. You know what was happening? The survivors just stood there, where they were, and the alien was moving straight towards me. My shock at the ridiculousness of the whole situation was so bad, that was another death.

The game is crystal clearly broken, scripty, and shitty. But as I said, I challenge you to SHOW me and others how you can play this shit without hiding in lockers at Hard difficulty, and play it smoothly, without making too many mistakes; you're clearly convinced that others' frustrations are due to repeating the same mistakes and problems with their gameplay and not the game. I challenge you to prove it and demonstrate your claims. Talk is easy; so show me, don't tell me. No excuses accepted.

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Bread_or_Decide

@yasso: I'm playing on hard. Throwing a noise maker into a group of humans and watching the alien devour them is one of my favorite gaming moments of all time. Using the alien as a weapon against others that's the kind of AI that is far from stupid or predictable.

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-Nur-

@yasso: As it happens, I recorded footage of just that not many days ago. So here are full playthroughs, on Nightmare, of missions 6 and 17 (the latter recorded while drunk!), arguably the hardest missions in the game, no exploits used and no lockers utilized:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIH1ardkJUo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A87omI3iRDI

My guess is that your problem is that you refuse to move when given the opportunity. You're too afraid to move when the alien is near even when you should be moving (at walking speed, not crouching). I've seen many play this as if they're waiting for the alien to come and kill them.

Btw, there's an "unpredictable alien" mod around which makes the alien behave in a more unpredictable fashion by removing its tether. I wouldn't endorse the mod as it caters mainly to those who suck at the game but if that's your cup of tea then good for you. I find the alien's constant presence exhilarating. Of course if you keep dying over and over again I can see how you might perceive the game as frustrating rather than exhilarating or exciting but that's because you're obviously not very good at it (and neither was the guy who reviewed it here). That's not the developers' fault, however.

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Modulo

@-nur-: Congratulations at being so good at the game! I tried it on hard at first and failed miserably, so I knocked it down to medium, then just went straight for novice. I love the graphics in this game, it looks great, and it is genuinely scary to start. But it just wasn't continuously great. There's something about the whole game that feels incomplete. It feels like there's just not that much you can do even though you're given all these items, most don't factor into the mechanics very much. I think the game itself is the bare minimum, its a beautiful environment to look at and to listen to holding a game that has little to actually do.

One major beef I have with the game is the alien itself, it's stalking animation, basic movement, and general behavior just fell flat for me. It doesn't interact with it's environment or really have a personality aside from an annoying habit of triple and quadruple checking rooms you happen to be hiding in. It all seemed so real until the alien actually starts stalking around, then it devolves into a kind of comical hide and seek between you and a sprite on a walk cycle.

I just felt like the game could have been so much better! I would have LOVED if the alien actually looked connected to the ground when it was walking around normally (the realness is what makes it more frightening), or if it did other things like showed intelligence. As it was I never really felt *hunted* by the alien, it was always more like chance encounters.

I have to say I agree with a lot of the sentiments of the reviewer, game was annoyingly repetitive at times and it felt like lots of the game play was difficult just to make it seem more lengthy. However, I wouldn't call it a bad game, I'd call it a very cool idea that needs a lot more work put into the actual mechanics.

There really are a lot of wins in this game with some great lessons that other game makers should take note of. Notably the meticulous environment with elements you can interact with, and the awesome sound, the soundtrack and the sound effects are fantastic. One really feels like they got so close it's a damn shame they couldn't close the deal.

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yasso

@-nur-: I watched the first video. You barely even saw the alien; only really in the medical room when you it passed by. However, the rest of the playthrough you don't see the alien and it doesn't come that close; that's just plain weird and is nothing like how I experience the game even at Novice difficulty. You either got somehow miraculously lucky, or you've memorized its patterns and are playing by instinct of extreme experience that very few people would have with a game like this. And either way, whether it's random luck or it's memorization of the game's scripts, this won't help the average player or a player who would pick up the game the first time and want to have a fairly smooth playthrough at even Novice difficulty.

See, I'm not an inexperienced gamer, and neither is Kevin; I have played games before at the likes of nightmare difficulty, including Mass Effect 2 and The Witcher 2, and used to get the MVP ribbon in crowded CQ maps of Battlefield 3, for example. Accordingly, when I have difficulties with a game like this even at Novice difficulty (which is almost insulting to play on), especially when it happens over and over again, it definitely means that something is wrong with the game itself. If the repetitive deaths happened only at Hard difficulty, which is what I started with, then I would've agreed that it just has a steep learning curve, like Dark Souls. But the repetitive deaths *and* the long waiting times for the alien to move the **** away (waste of time for the player) happen even at Novice difficulty; as I said before, deaths that do not teach me *why* or the reasons it happened.

I'm still confused why during that playthrough you haven't seen the alien more than once; as I mentioned, completely different to my experience...the alien is always nearby, often in the way to my objectives, and sometimes moves back or changes directions quickly, making it worrying to even start moving if it's at 0.70 or so on the motion tracker.

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-Nur-

@yasso: As I said, your problem probably is that you waste too much time waiting for the alien when you should be moving. That you admit to abusing the lockers pretty much makes this evident. I move at every opportunity, like Ripley in the movie, whileas you quiver in fear like Lambert. I may not see the alien often (why would I want to see it?) but it's right there with me on the ground level.

And no, it's neither due to memorization (the patrol routes are random) nor luck. The first time I played the game I died quite a few times in Mission 6 (while constantly making steady progress) because it kept introducing new mechanics (for example, dealing with armed survivors while the alien is near) but it was a great learning experience as I died maybe once per map on average for the rest of the game, despite playing on Hard. If you have problems on Novice then you're doing something wrong on a very fundamental level, as you should be able to easily walk through the game on Novice without ever dying. You're free to post gameplay videos of you playing and I guarantee I'm able to prove it's you who's making the mistakes, not the game.

You doing well in Mass Effect 2 is pretty irrelevant as its gameplay portions are just straightforward, dumb action at the end of the day with a rather laughable AI. I also have no idea why you'd mention "crowded CQ" maps in Battlefield as they're the easiest of the bunch, which is why every noob plays on 24/7 Locker/Métro servers.

Avatar image for yasso
yasso

@-nur-: The "mistakes" you refer to are using the lockers and hiding spots that the developers put in the game for that purpose! You're right about ignoring the lockers and just staying on the move, but, if you haven't noticed, you learned that from several deaths in the beginning, realizing that even though the developers put those lockers with the hiding mechanic there, you're actually supposed to ignore them. Do you not see the irony here? You're avoiding mechanics that the developers put there for you! What does this mean? It means that the game developers really failed. They haven't just added mechanics that don't work; they actually deceived players into using them! And the whole trick was to avoid the developer's deception; that...is NOT an easy lesson to learn. You may have a high tolerance for deaths that come from trusting the developers of a game, but I have no tolerance for shit like that. If my character dies, I want to know that it was for a fair reason, not because I trusted the game designers with a mechanic like hiding in lockers in a game like this, but my trust is betrayed over and over again until I learn the lesson of avoiding that mechanic altogether to actually succeed in the game. So if the mistakes you're gonna point out are about hiding in a locker, then you really are missing the whole point.

Mass Effect 2 AI was not laughable at all. At least at the highest difficulty level, enemies are always taking cover and try to advance from one cover to the other; and when I flank them, they keep shooting as they move back to another cover. And there's nothing more needed from AI characters in a game like that, plus hurting a lot at the highest difficulty. I didn't just play at the highest difficulty, but I also played in real-time always, without using the pause shortcut for choosing the next action. And I'm not talking about fucking Locker and Metro in Battlefield! I'm talking about Ziba Tower, Donya Fortress, and Scrapmetal! Nobody plays in those maps to "level up" like they do in Metro and Locker. Those other 3 CQ maps are where I got the MVP ribbon in 32-player maps; that's not an easy feat, and if you think it is, you're free to record yourself doing it.

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-Nur-

@yasso: If a hiding spot isn't working then it's time to move on. I've seen people successfully use lockers but that's usually when they don't abuse them; they go into one only as a last resort (which they in my opinion never are). If you're one of the "locker hoppers" then you're gonna get killed a lot because the alien learns your habit while you fail to learn your lesson. Locker hoppers don't use more obvious hiding spots (such as desks and crates) that provide more freedom of movement but instead hop from one locker into another. The lockers are merely an option, a risky option of course because it'd be stupid to have them in the game if they were 100% alien proof. This game is about stripping the player of any sensation of power. The developers never intended this "mechanic" to be abused; that's why you get killed for abusing it! On my first playthrough I learned the lesson after my 1st failed attempt to use a locker. You didn't learn yours even after dying numerous times. The developers cannot be held responsible for that.

The AI in ME2 was sufficient for that game. The combat system works well there, especially in ME3, but obviously it's far more simplistic than the alien in Isolation. The alien is something else.

As for BF3, yes, those particular maps require more skill than Locker/Métro, but they're a poor choice to bring into this discussion, as they are all about run & gun (while Locker/Métro are about camping in one spot), the exact opposite of Isolation. In fact, it's the large 64-player Conquest maps that require the most tactical skills while the close quarters maps play more like Call of Duty. Oh, and I played specifically in Ziba to level up because Métro is dreadful. I've got more than a hundred MVP ribbons, probably half of those in Ziba with often at least 48 players. I cannot record anything now because the last time I tried BF3 a few days ago after a few months' break my CPU started to slow down periodically, giving nasty, 30-second fps spikes every two minutes or so. But you're free to check out my stats ("John_Milano-182-").

In any case, you should be able to appreciate Isolation even if you're not very good at it. I've seen people whom I'd describe as pretty bad at playing the game but who still absolutely adore the game, considering it one of their all-time favorites. They may not be good at their favorite game but at least they aren't blaming the developers for their own shortcomings.

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horosavinXX

didn't like the gameplay too much. i'm simply not the fan of this hide 'n seek style.

but the atmosphere is simply astonishing. visuals too. don't know if it's just me but the engine seems superior. sure would like to see some action game that runs on it...

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NoahRoalson

Probably Kevin's worst review, I'm sorry. This game is extremely entertaining and its attention to detail is simply astonishing. The atmosphere is incredible and the stealth is satisfying. The game does have flaws, however, it is easily deserving of a 7/7.5.

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Bread_or_Decide

Picked this up on sale during the holidays. Single player games are dying. Video games are coming to an end.

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hishamramzan

If Resident Evil will ever have a FPS game then I want it to be just like this one

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aPieceOfToast

@hishamramzan: And then RE7 happened :D

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dobpat

I am in mission 6 now and start to hate this game.

Was enjoing it the first missions, but its to much trial and error. To much scripted alien attacks and therefore to much frustration.

Would not recommend it anymore.

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MartinWan

Im so happy, I finished this game in hard mode and Im ready to do it in medium for the "One Shot" trophy (No dying) and "Mercy or Prudence" (No human kills). This game is the very best Survival Horror I ever played since Resident Evil and being an Alien game with that isolated and inmersive atmosphere, great sounds effects and the very great music from the original movie, also the cast from the movie giving theirs voices and Sigourney Weaver working on too because this was for her a very inspirated and inmersive game that remembers so well the original movie, what can I say, great game. I hope the developers doesnt watch this type of "reviews" and give us the second part. Very underrated. 8 for Watch Dogs and 6 for this...

-Loaded with uninspired filler?: This game is by far the more inspirated and inmersive game, more than Evolve, for example...

-Trial and error + distant save points, frustration?: This is SURVIVAL HORROR, its supouse to be hard and frustrating, its not Minecraft and its not by far a walk in the park...

-Some mechanics are inconsistent; others are illogical: I find this illogical, minigames and crafting is great..Build to survive!


YOU LOVE SURVIVAL HORROR? YOU LOVE ALIEN UNIVERSE? BUY THIS GREAT GAME! I enjoy it very much :)


PD: For me, this game is a 8.5 (Why not a 10? The ending, some IA problems, sometimes was difficult to enter the vents and maybe the graphics could have been better).

PD2: I falled in love with Amanda :P

PD3: Sorry for my english :)

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yasso

@martinwan: No game is supposed to be frustrating; what the hell is that kind of sick mentality?! Some games can be hard, yes, genuinely hard for good reasons, teaching you skills or mechanics, showing you clearly why your character died, even if the character dies over and over again. As long as it is clear *why* the character died, then it can be hard, but it is not universally frustrating (only to a few people). However, when a game *randomly* kills your character, or leads your character to death in a completely random way, for no mistake that you did as a player, thus teaching you no lesson from that death, and *especially* if the game accompanies that with no quicksaving but sporadic save points, then the game is universally frustrating and not really fun. If you're a masochist who enjoys this shit, that's fine; but please don't pretend that some games should be “frustrating” like that for everyone.

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-Nur-

@yasso: The game doesn't kill you randomly. If you die, it's because of a mistake you made. Sure, there is a random component in this game, which is one major reason why it's so special and entertaining over several playthroughs, but this does not force you to die, ever.

If you've been unable to learn any lessons from your deaths, then you're the one with the problem, not the game. The game can be completed without dying at all, without having to resort to glitches or exploits.

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jj2112

@martinwan Yes, I got this game recently and I agree. I'm currently halfway through (I think) on Nightmare and it's hard but not impossible. I just got Arkham Knight but I keep going back to it.

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XenomorphAlien

Almost as bad as IGN's review.

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EddyG0RD0

i hate trial and error and distant save points, it is frustration and i hate frustration

i was thinking in getting it since its 20$ on psn but ill skip it, most likely will be for free on psn+ since its a sp only game and most free games given on psn+ are sp

besides fillers and broken mechanics makes a game unbearable

and atmosphere, cat and mouse, and sound effect dont make up for the bad

i agree with the review and i trust GS reviews because they are spot on

i'll get watch dogs instead, its 20$ aswell

i need a good laugh at this GTA wanabe

lol shits row

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-Nur-

@EddyG0RD0 The game induces no frustration whatsoever. I just finished the game on hard and find this review bs. The game may punish for small mistakes, almost certainly for big mistakes, but it's always fair and exciting. The reviewer is a scrub, and scrubs shouldn't be trying to overburden themselves with challenging, exciting games.

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yasso

@-nur-: The game does induce frustration, because it leads the character to random deaths for no small or big mistakes. You can be hiding after having been perfectly quiet, and the alien opens the container or locker and kills you; so tell me: What was your “small” or “big” mistake with such a random death? Moreover, the game wastes so much time by forcing you to just stay in a locker for minutes on end, several minutes in a row, just staring at a motion sensor detector and waiting for a shitty scripted (not intelligent, but scripted) alien to go away.

In short, Kevin and we are right, and you're wrong. But enjoy your shitty “exciting” game. =)

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-Nur-

@yasso: Don't go into the lockers. I entered a locker once on my very first playthrough and got killed. After that I have NEVER used a locker, and I have finished the game three times now.

The game encourages you to learn. The alien learns too, so if you constantly abuse the lockers, the alien will sniff you out. By constantly hiding in lockers despite getting killed, you're showing a total inability to learn from your mistakes.

For the record, even on Nightmare you almost never have to stay in once place for more than 30 SECONDS.

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nimd4

@EddyG0RD0 Watch Dogs is good!.. Nice side-games. Saints Row IV is also cool, flying around. No reason not to play them, once done with GTA. ;) :)

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EddyG0RD0

@kilaude @Gelugon_baat @greebe55 nah its just someone without life

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gogencoler

That's one of those games unapreciated at the time of their release, but I am sure it will be a classic after few years.

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nimd4

@gogencoler It was close to being good, just too much on the annoying side; doubt that anyone will be replaying it. =)

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gogencoler

@nimd4 @gogencoler Mark my words, after 5 years we will see this game in TOP 10 Sci-Fi classics or TOP 10 underrated games of the decade.

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Gelugon_baat

@kilaude

I had, especially when they made factual mistakes.

Also, I don't think that you have observed me enough to make that second statement. That's just all in your head.

Alien: Isolation More Info

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  • First Released Oct 6, 2014
    released
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • + 5 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Alien Isolation sees you take on the role of Amanda Ripley as she faces off with Xenomorphs in the search for answers about her mother's disappearance.
    8.1
    Average Rating546 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Alien: Isolation
    Developed by:
    Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive, Sega
    Published by:
    Feral Interactive, Sega
    Genre(s):
    Adventure, Survival, 3D, VR, Action
    Theme(s):
    VR, Sci-Fi
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood, Strong Language, Violence