Alien Isolation is set 15 years after Alien, and 42 years before Aliens, two of the best films of all time – the former for suspense and the latter for action, and you are Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley, the last survivor of the Nostromo, which was doing just fine until Ash revealed himself to be an android, dismissively referred to as a “synthetic”
You’re on board a ship called Torrens, built similarly to the Nostromo to help you get a feel for it – such as with the dining tables and sleeping quarters, and also have the retro feel of the first film, even though the year is 2137. Also, I guess, if the design of a ship is good for one of them, it’ll be good for all the others.
Soon after the game begins, despite having a skeleton crew including legal exec Taylor and a synthetic called Samuels, it doesn’t take long before you’re alone.
So, from then on, you have to go somewhere and do something… explore your surroundings. And explore, and explore and explore – i.e. trudge round labyrinthine corridors, an endless number of locked doors that may as well be walls due to their lack of interaction, and an abundance of running round in circles. To add to this, you have to get from A to B, although B seems to always be behind a locked door where there’s no way of getting past unless you can find an item that’s god knows where, and can only be found by going to C, then D, then double-backing the route you first thought of… and so on. This doesn’t add to tension, it just causes frustration.
Open up and say AAAAAAH!
In fact, I was starting to get so tired of it early on, running round an endless maze, that I had to look up a gameplay video to find out how to get past some interminable parts of it. For example, you find something that needs repairing, but where is the item you need to fix it? God knows! At least make it somewhat intuitive, Sega! I’m not asking to hold my hand and make it as obvious as some games do, but find some middle ground.
From time to time, you’ll find items and then craft new ones out of them, but this generally involves following an overly complex menu where you move the cursor about and press a few buttons. Hmm… may as well just give you the item. This is not a selling point for the game, then.
In addition to being able to save your game at specific save points around the large gaming area, you can also access terminals around the place, like those you’d see in the original Alien, but these just seem to be there to give messages, which are largely inconsequential.
Like the movie Skyfall, It took over an hour until the bad guy turned up (i.e. an alien), and eventually once you’ve said hello to him and found a motion tracker, things get a bit more interesting, but not by much. And not by any amount that made it take so long to get to that point. I appreciate it if you want a game to start slowly, but give me something of interest early on, please! I really was starting to lose the will to live. It reminded me of how slow Doom 3 was, which was massively offputting to a once-great game series (a lack of John Romero didn’t help, there)
Go to page 2 for more thoughts about the game.
Alien Isolation Walkthrough Part 1 PS4 Gameplay – HassanAlHajry (1080p HD)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.