Review Roundup: Alien: Isolation

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If you know me, or are on the site enough, you know that Alien is my favorite film franchise of all time. I went through the pain of Alien: Colonial Marines (check out my review) and have been awaiting Alien: isolation since it was first shown. Creative Assembly looked like they were trying to erase the thoughts of Gearbox’s abortion and capture the spirit and horror of the Ridley Scott 1979 original.

The reviews are now in and it is the literal definition of a mixed bag. Most praise the game for the low-tech futuristic look of the environment and the terror that comes with the alien never following any type of pattern. The complaints come in a story that stretches too long with the aliens’ penchant for always finding you being a main concern.

We will have our review up as soon as I have had a chance to go through the game myself. These reviews actually make me more excited to play the game. With them ranging from mediocre to great there is no expectation from other sites, just my own going into the game.


“Unfortunately, the campaign mirrors the Sevastopol itself: the longer it drags on, the more it falls apart as it begins to tumble out of orbit and towards a gas giant. Ripley’s nightmare became my own as Isolation moved its goalposts back so many damn times that it was almost comical.”


“This overexposure undermines the power and terror the alien inspires. Every time I thought I heard the monster, every blip on my motion tracker, was a cause for a tightness in my chest at first. By the 300th time I dived under a table or into a locker, I wasn’t scared anymore — I was annoyed. Once the alien becomes an irritation rather than a force of nature, much of the horror in Alien: Isolation vanishes.”


The rest of the game’s mechanics dovetail expertly. It’s non-linear, similar to Metroid, so you’ll be revisiting old areas with new ways to access certain parts of the station. Along with Ron Cobb’s famous designs and the changing nature of the environment, the structure gives the game a good sense of not just progression but also of mounting despair, as Sevastopol, its population, and your chances of survival seem to disintegrate.”

Game Informer7.75/10

“While players must contend with an unhelpful map system and some annoying quick-time event sequences, the biggest source of frustration comes from the checkpoint system, which requires players to manually save at designated stations. While this structure necessitates even more backtracking, reaching a save station always provides a much-needed sense of relief, and I grew to appreciate the old-school mechanic. That said, the save system elicited more than a few curses. Losing a bunch of progress when the xenomorph pops out of nowhere and kills you with a single, unforeseen tail stab isn’t scary, just frustrating.”


“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.”


“It’s utterly invigorating – some of my most tense and memorable horror gaming moments evercame while playing this game – but it can also be painfully infuriating. You’ll be killed seemingly at random with no warning. You’ll grit your teeth as you reload over and over – the game only keeps your two most recent saves, so you can’t skip back too far – tackling long sections multiple times until you finally creep through, as much by luck as judgment.”


One of the big questions going into Isolation was whether or not Creative Assembly could stretch out the core concept of its cat-and-mouse hunts into a full-length title. Could creeping around corners and hiding in cupboards really sustain an entire 15-20 hour game? Good news: the pacing in Isolation is mostly spot-on. The Alien isn’t overused – its introduction is a pleasing slow-burn and the creature even disappears for a couple of hours later on.”

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