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Leigh burne has already made a review about this game and has pretty much said what needs to be said but I will add my own perspective and I will be discussing the negatives that people and critics have mentioned.
First I will start by pretty much mirroring Leigh by saying this is probably indeed the best Alien game ever, even comparing it to Aliens versus Predator 2, a game I love! I would say the game is much more scarier and better than the Marine campaign with the Alien acting like a true Alien. No other Alien game is its equal, not even the crossovers Aliens versus Predator 1 & 2, which were noted for being scary back in the day but it is not even close to Alien: Isolation. Creative assembly needs to give themselves a pat on the back for their efforts, this is their first time in this genre and they did what gearbox failed to do. Their dedication is awesome as well, they actually decided to use and build only tech that only the original Alien team could do with their limited resources, basically given Alien: Isolation rhe same feeling that Alien gave.
When I first heard about this game, I was sceptical, especially when I head they were planning on using Ripley's daughter, which is something I didn't initially agree with ("Ripley" in one form or another, is seriously over-used and milked) and then there is fact that this news came not long after that A:CM came out. A seriously bad game that messes up everything (though you can still find some fun in the game, I know I did)
I started seeing previewed game-plays and interviews, and I warmed to it and thought it may actually be good since it was an entirely different genre than previous Aliens or AVP games but I was still not agreeing with using the Ripley name again though I was more tolerable to the idea. I always thought Ripley, her character, her name, her blood is always over-used in the franchise in someway and the character is pretty much milked to death. While none of us wanted Ripley to die, her character and story ended in Alien 3, that should have been the end to it.
Then the game came out and I read the reviews, while I may have bought the game anyway, as I am a fan of the franchise, the positive reviews helped cement my decision sooner and so I bought it. Any left over negative feelings I had about Amanda being in the game was gone, I respected and appreciated the character and she was not a rehash of her mother, infact her motive and story can be considered overall realistc, a daughter simply trying to find out what happened to her mother, it is the constant overuse of Ripley in the past which made me and possibly others lose sight of that simple explanation and instead considered the idea of having Amanda in the game another cow to be milked.
The manual saving is system is genius, it means you have to be more cautious and clever, saving is taken for granted these days and it makes players reckless and impulsive.
Amanda compared to Ellen
Amanda Ripley is a brilliant character, she acts like any normal human would in the situation she is in though unlike most she manages to keep a level head. She uses her wits and engineering skills to help her survive, her character is also insecure, subconsciously feeling abandoned by her mother though knowing something must have happened, she is always working in the same sector that her mother disappeared in, something Samuels points out as well. Looking for closure is the reason she accepts the offer to go to Sevastopol.
While trying to be calm as possible despite her situation, whenever she come across the logs from the nostromo crew such as the one from her mother and finding the flight log, her composure breaks and she becomes very emotional, and angry when she doesn't find the answers she is looking for, just someone actually would in her situation.
Amanda is both like her mother and not, unlike her mother who was a by the book warrant officer who already had more confidence and composure, and thus held herself together somewhat when coming across the Alien face to face, Amanda however, was much more scared, even screaming and hiding when first seeing the Alien, however, over the course of the story, Amanda becomes far more confident and self assured, eventually becoming stronger than her mother and arguably surpassing her in some respects i.e surviving and exploring a hive by herself with nothing but a under-powered flamerthrower whilst her mother had the a pulse rifle, a military grade flamethrower and grenades.
Amanda was too idealistic about sevastopols survivors however, which nearly gets her killed. Also when Henry Marlow plans to wipe out the Xenomorphs and evidence to prevent the company from getting it, Amanda protests due to the survivors on the station as his plan is to self-destruct the anesidora which will also destroy sevastopol, this plan while ruthless was a sound one, especially when the station ends up destroyed anyway with no survivors evacuated to my knowledge. In this respect, Amanda may have been short-sighted due to her idealistic nature, this makes her less ruthless than her mother, however, it is an admirable trait.
Sevastopol and Derelict
It is funny that Leigh mentioned this as it really is kind of like Rapture, it is a place where people had lived and gone about their daily lives but now its nothing more than a ghost town, seemingly abandoned with text and audio logs telling how it eventually fell. Places like this really showcase how dangerous the Xenomorph really is, its even spoken about in a cautionary manner, of course it is revealed the situation is far worse and that there was always more than one. The design is brilliant and well done, a lot of effort was put into this and it is appreciated.
The Derelict is one of the best things about this game too, you get to explore it in the same manner that Dallas, Kane and Lambert did. Its accuracy to the film's version is very high and far superior to A:CM's attempt, however it is not perfect, the wall that kane needed help climbing to see the pilot is shorter, you can climb it with no help, the crew also notices the Pilot before climbing it which the previous crew didn't and couldn't. The acid burnt hole is supposedly in the wrong spot (I will check this out soon) and the pilot itself seems to be bigger though it may be a case of perspective and that the previous crew was stepping on the small platform holding the seat.
Alien and the Negatives
No game is perfect and thus there will always be issues but this is a game where the so called negatives don't take away from the game, I will be discussing the negatives critics have said and commenting on them. First I will start with my own negatives.
My negatives is that the game can leave you wanting more, more knowledge, more exploration as the game can feel linear sometimes though sometimes you want it to be linear as getting lost can be really....fatal.
This one is a minor gripe, nothing major and it doesn't take away from the experience but your character does not cast shadows, nor reflects in water or space helmets, and sometimes your feet goes through things (but at least you can see your feet unlike some first person games) Like I said this is minor, I only mentioned it because a game this good and detailed should have put more detail into the character presense on the world.
Death scenes need more variety, the facehugger death scene in A:I is not really good at all, the best death by a facehugger ever in a game was in Aliens versus predator 2, as it was both realistic (you couldn't see past the facehugger which you shouldn't be able to as it covers your whole face, not just your nose! ) and it was disturbing as you could see details of the underside of the creature.
I dislike the legs of the Alien as its a human-spawned Xenomorph, it should have plantigrade legs, however, CA actually explained this and it was originally intended to be accurate to the originally but the animation couldn't hold up so fair play to them because at least their intended to be faithful and that is important, and FINALLY the Alien walks bipedal! like its supposed too! at last!!! making human-spawned Aliens walk like a dog was the worst thing that AVP2010 and A:CM did, it makes them less scary and honestly? stupid. It suited the runner because it was designed that way and it came from a quadrupedal animal.
DLC is good but the Ransome and Lingard one is basically survivors mode rather than any prequel story which is sad, I would have loved to see Sevastopol when it was full of life. Hopefully CA will get round to making a prequel story DLC.
The Alien is brilliant in nearly every manner, it's unpredictable AI is excellent, it does indeed learn. If you thought having the flamethrower meant you now have the advantage, you will be sorely wrong. Yes, the flamethrower does make the Alien back off and allows you a breather....but it becomes resistant to it, first time it is hit with it the creature will flee instantly, the second or third time it will just step back and stare at you, waiting for your move, the creature will even hesitate if you point it at it. If you manage to make it flee after hitting it again after it backs away, it will make sure to angrily push you over before fleeing and if you carrying on using the flamethrower during the next encounter, it will just be seriously ticked off and will actually go through the flames and kill you.
Despite how much I love the saving system, sometimes having to restart all the way back to your last save can be frustrating though I never was, I am saying this as its certain a lot of people did. A good comprise would be that Amanda could build something to save the game, only once per level and it would take a lot of scrap/items.
Right onto the other peoples negatives.
First I will say I got to disagree with Leigh about the Facehuggers, one hit kills make them scarier and effective, something they nerfed in avp2010 and A:CM, though its possible he was on about the second hive glitch where after killing two facehuggers, there is one more behind a door and it can't be seen due to a glitch until its too late, this part will have no doubt made players restart this level dozens of times, which happened to me too, until I just ran through the door and turned around to flamethrower it, being cautious with the door facehugger is not advisable because you can't see it unless you are on the other side of the door, sometimes the door can open on its own and the facehugger will then somehow pull you to it and game over. It must be force sensitive lol
These reviews are from Wikipedia
"Dave Meikleham from Computer and Video Games also gave the game a 8/10, praising its sound design and the horror moments, but noting he encountered occasional frame rate issues. He also thought that if the game were 30% shorter, it would be a much bolder and sharper experience.
There is nothing wrong with the length at all, infact I found I wanted it to be longer after playing it. 18/19 Missions is not really long, it has been done before many times. The problem is that people don't really appreciated what survival horror means, its not an action game or a fast paced one, it requires patience and wits.
Jeff Marchiafava from Game Informer gave the game a 7.75/10. He too stated that it is the closest game to capture the promise of the Alien franchise and believed that it is the experience fans of the franchise have waited for a long time. However, he compared the game to Dead Space and believed that the environments and actions failed to instill the sense of dread that the movies or other horror games had delivered. He also criticized the 'wooden' animation of the characters, as well as the unhelpful map, unimpressive voice acting and dialogue.
Maybe it is just me but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the voice acting, infact it is good and clever, Amanda and other characters act just like people would in that situation, and when there times you need to be quite, Amanda whispers just like someone should! it seems a lot of critics expect hammy and dramatic voice acting rather than realistic and subtle, just look at Alien, the dialogue is subdued and subtle in that film.
Arthur Gies from Polygon gave the game a 6.5/10. He stated that the fear towards the aliens soon became irritation due to the game's repetitiveness. He also criticized the irritating and frustrating save system, as the game doesn't feature a checkpoint system, forcing players to play the same bit over and over again, assuming they die a lot.
Its only repetitive if the player does the same thing over and over, there is more than one way to deal with threats, the Alien does not do the same thing. You can save the game and then go through a corridor to find nothing there and then get killed by an android, after reload, the corridor may or may not have the Alien there. There is nothing wrong with the save system, its a clever mechanic that forces people not to act like idiots running around. Autosaves and the ability to save at any time has made people lazy and reckless.
Kevin VanOrd from GameSpot gave the game a 6/10. He thought that the game had made good use of the motion-tracking system, and the cat-and-mouse encounters with the Alien can be tense and frightening. He praised the retro-futuristic atmosphere in the game but criticized the inconsistent gameplay and frustrating distance between save points.
Its seems people cannot be pleased, in the past people always complained about predictable gameplay, now they complain when its unpredictable?
Ryan McCaffrey from IGN gave the game a 5.9/10. He found it disappointing, despite being a perfect "Alien" game on paper. He believed that the genuine scares of being hunted by an unstoppable alien were diluted by repetition, and criticized the game's pacing and 'unpredictable' AI.
This one is the controversial one, this guy and ign got a lot of hate from people and fans for their review and I can say with no remorse, that hate was perhaps deserved, yes he has the right to his opinion but said opinion seems unprofessional and highly biased, its also aimed at the best thing about the game.
He also said the game was hard after he put the game on hard mode.......
This is a game that is advertised and hyped as having an unpredicable AI and succeeds at it and kept its promise, and this guy has got the gall to criticize the game because of that very key mechanic. Ha!
Again repetition is only down to the player, not the alien. So basically if you are going to be stupid enough to hide in the same spot and use the same tactics then of course it will seem repetitive, not to mention unwise since the Alien learns what you do. A lot of people complained about this guy as well as ign as a whole, they mention how they rate COD series high despite it being the same game ever year with a few differences and yet they rate this masterpiece low, a lot theories range from ign being paid to give good reviews and CA never paid them (good integrity by CA if its true) to ign being bad at playing this game and rated it low because they kept dying, you can see the comments for yourselves at the site. http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/10/03/alien-isolation-review?utm_campaign=ign+main+twitter&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social Whether or not what the people say is true, Ign is welcome to their opinion but its sorely the wrong one and seems personally biased and while critics can use personal tastes and preferrence, they are surposed to be professional about it.
I always say people are welcome to their opinions and I mean that, these critics absolutely have the right to their opinions and not everyone sees and experiences something the same as others, but I do (personally) disagree with some of the negatives for various reasons and because I believe some faults are only there if you want them to be there plus some negatives are actually the game's postives i.e unpredictability, AI, pacing and length. It is true however, that the game can seem to end at different spots but rather than be cliched, it carries on tricking you when you though you just survived it all.
I would like to see an Alien story for DLC believe it or not, AVP2010 wasn't satisfactory and didn't help that you walked like a dog in it. The Alien is perfect in A:I, a story about the Drone we call Sevastopol (after the station it had terrorized) would be awesome, I don't think it came from Foster, so an origin story from Egg to Drone would be doable and welcomed. AVP 2 by monolith had a good Alien campaign, you started off as a facehugger, then a chestburster before eventually becoming full grown, unlike the 2010 version, you felt like the Alien (well as much as you could with the tech back then)
What A:I could provide is a better Alien experience such as stalking, killing, helping the Queen (confirmed by CA) build the hive at the reactor etc because after all that running, dodging and hiding, it would be fulfilling to play as the hunter, killing all those paranoid d***s and maybe joes lol Obviously the Alien player can't be invulnerable so that would have to change, which reminds me, some people have actually taken the Alien invulnerability too seriously when its merely a gameplay mechanic, in-universe it can be explained that the weapons are simply weak (and on purpose), makes sense since they are on a space station where a stray shot by a weapon with good penetration can potentially kill everyone, so weapons there will lack penetration.
This review is not yet complete, I will be updating it as some of what I wanted to say is completely forgotten at the moment lol.