Preview: Alien: Isolation

The original tag line for Alien was ‘in space no one can hear you scream’. Well I was pretty much screaming after I had got my hands on Aliens: Colonial Marines early last year, after all of the hype and all of the build-up and some rather good looking ‘gameplay’ demos that we now know had nothing to do with the released version, it was the biggest disappointment of the year and a huge let down for all fans of the Alien movies.

After last year’s disaster it’s easy to be dubious when hearing that Sega are going to release another game, this time based on the first movie in the Alien series. It was originally set to be announced at E3 last year, but this announcement was I think wisely delayed following the fallout of what exactly happened to Colonial Marines. This announcement was instead finally made at the start of this year complete with gameplay footage that looks very impressive. A strong positive note for this game is that it is being developed by The Creative Assembly; there’s no Gearbox name loosely attached and we are lead to believe no outsourcing to unknown third parties.

The first thing we notice is that whilst this game uses a first person view there is not a pulse rifle in sight – this is no first person shooter with hordes of xenomorphs to mow down. This game is a tense and terrifying survival horror. It really is just you against the universe’s most dangerous hunter set in an isolated space station called the Sebastopol that has an uncanny and very accurate resemblance to the interior of the Nostromo.

So far we know that you play the daughter of Ellen Ripley, Amanda – she is briefly mentioned in the special edition of James Cameron’s Aliens. The game is set 15 years after the destruction of the Nostromo with Amanda in search of answers of what happened to her mother. She is informed that the black box has been recovered and taken to the Sebastopol which somehow has a Alien on board. How and why the Alien is there I am sure we will find out as we traverse its corridors.


The look of the game is incredibly detailed and as I have already mentioned is very much in the world of the Nostromo, this space station is clearly designed and built in the same time as the Nostromo. As a huge fan of the Alien films I found the level of detail the developers have taken in creating this station to be a homage to the many fans. Small details such as the bobbing birds, the noise of the sirens, the floor grates and the panels on the walls make you feel like you are on the Nostromo.

You are given one tool to aid you, a staple of the Alien universe: the motion tracker. Whilst a great tool that can help you locate the creature, it wont tell you what floor the Alien is on, whether it is above or below, behind a wall or if it’s even the Alien. It could be one of a handful of other survivors desperately trying to stay alive. Survivors you will meet, who may help you or use you to help themselves.

The title gives a very strong clue of how this game is going to play out: you will be isolated for large parts of the game, which incidentally is single player only, there is currently no word of a multiplayer element. You will be able to craft tools to stay one step ahead of the Alien, an Alien that has been based on the original and is nine feet tall, fast and more importantly extremely intelligent. This Alien will not be following a pre determined path, and instead will be stalking you using sound, sight and smell, and also learn how you play and adapt accordingly. With this being in first person instead of third you will not be able to look round corners without sticking your head out yourself and as such showing yourself. This makes your movements and decisions even more important; you cant take it head on – it will kill you, and you can’t kill it.

No release date has yet been announced but it is confirmed to be coming to the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and also the Xbox One and PS4 consoles. The released gameplay trailer was taken from the PS4 and it looks very impressive. I expected that the game will be released at the end of this year in time for the Christmas period. So far this game has given me high hopes, especially being a huge fan of the Alien series. So Sega… please don’t let my dreams of playing a truly great Alien game be dashed again.

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