System: PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, Switch, Linux, OS X | Publisher: Sega
Developer: Creative Assembly | Reviewed On: PS4/PC
This is a slightly older game to review, releasing in 2014 but recently I have spent multiple hours playing using my oculus rift VR headset. There's a mod out called 'MotherVR' created by a modder called 'Nibre'.
The mod essentially allows you to play in VR whilst using your controller, seen as I only spent a few hours in VR but played and completed the game on launch on the PS4, I will be merging both experiences on the game.
If you're new to the alien franchise then you will enjoy this as it has to be one of the scariest games I've ever played. If you're a hardcore alien fan like myself, then you're going to have an incredible time with this game. The story, visuals and audio stay true to the first movie, it is also set between the first and second movie.
You play as Amanda Ripley, Ellen Ripley's daughter. Ellen never returned home after the mining mission she was sent on in the movie, and Amanda has taken it upon herself to join a space fleet as an engineer, in hopes of finding her Mother. She learnt that a ship had picked up a flight-recorder from the Nostromo (The ship her mother was aboard in the first movie).
Upon reaching the station that holds the ship and crew who found her mother's flight-recorder, it's apparent that the station is heavily damaged and has low power. Without going too far into any story spoilers, you end up aboard the station and have to make your way off the station whilst having to deal with hostile crew members, that have also started to lose their sanity and are heavily paranoid. Working Joe androids are aboard and are either friendly or hostile depending on what actions you have made aboard the station to escape.
Now there's one final threat aboard the station which casts a shadow over the rest, an Alien. What makes this Alien especially dangerous is that it's almost unpredictable. I say almost because there are certain traits and movements you will learn from... but there's a lot you won't and this is where the game taps into your fear. The Alien is only lightly scripted with what it does, it is pretty much free to wander around the station as it pleases. It does normally stay around your vicinity but other than that, it does what it wants.
The Alien will react to noises you make but will also react to crew members, if you or a crew member fire a gun or run around like Usain Bolt, then it's gonna hear you and before you know it, it will be charging down the hallways to investigate the noise. Which makes combat with crew members a lot more fun and tactical, make noise grenades to attract the Alien to an enemy position and watch them get torn to pieces whilst you cower in a locker peaking through the air vent.
I mention the Alien a lot as this is the highlight and main attraction of the game, the missions are simple enough to complete, having to unlock new areas, power up the comms and try and get an escape shuttle online. It turns into a different kind of game when you know you're been hunted every step of the way. The Alien also gets smarter with how you play, if you burn it with a flamethrower it will remember this, and the next time you aim it at him he will keep his distance and maybe shoot back into the vents to try and get behind you.
NOW let's incorporate the VR into the game, yikes. Playing the game on a TV was sometimes scary enough when the Alien is chasing you and you're desperately trying to get out of his way and hide. When you're stuck in VR and you feel like you're actually there, it is the most terrifying experience I've had in gaming. For example, I went to place a fuse to give power to an elevator, I heard a slight noise behind me. I turned my head to see what it was just thinking something had fallen on the floor. Before I even managed to fully turn my head all I saw in the corner of my eye was the Alien charging towards me screaming... which resulted in me screaming and quickly taking my headset off, followed by 5 minutes of laughter. Was more amusing that I had a friend on discord watching me stream.
Around the ship you will find audio tapes left by your Mother which are fully voiced by Sigourney Weaver herself which adds a nice throw back and immersion, you're also equipped with the classic motion sensor which you have to be careful with as if you use it too close the the Alien, it will hear the device and come for you.
Before I round up this review i would like to quickly talk about the audio and visuals, they're some of the best around. As I said at the beginning, the atmosphere music and sound effects are perfectly replicating everything we heard in the first movie. Along with that you also get a slight grainy image on top for the old VHS style effect which really adds to the nostalgia.
I struggle to find many negatives with the game, but one thing did really pull my score down and had me sigh whilst playing the game. After playing for hours and finally getting to what felt like the end, you are pulled back deep into the station and made to play another 3-4 hours. By that time i already thought the game had a perfect amount of content and this just felt like they were overdoing it. I can't discuss what happens for those final few hours due to spoilers but it was a mixed bag of fun and frustration, the fear had lost it's effect by this point.
I still rate this game high and give it a must play badge as it's really a remarkable game and has brought the horror genre back into light. Unfortunately for a sequel, they announced one but it's going to be a mobile game. I don't have many words to describe my feeling of letdown and the missed opportunity they have here but we can only hope and pray we get something in the future, as this game really deserves a sequel.
If you haven't picked up this game then i advise you to, it should be pretty cheap especially on a sale. So turn your lights off, put on your noise cancelling headphones and remember... In space, nobody can hear you scream
Deep story within the Alien franchise
A large nostalgia trip
Horror genre at its best
Fun gameplay mechanics
Game dragged out a little too long