Aliens: Isolation takes the award for 2013’s worst kept secret, having seen a fairly small but totally substantial leak hit the tubes of the internet not more than a couple of months ago..
Taking place upon a derelict trading station out in the void of the fringes of space and unlike it’s much maligned older sibling, will not be a mindless run-and-gun fest splattered with acid blood and the stagnant stench of disappointment. Instead – as we’ve known for what feels like millenia – you play as the daughter of Ellen Ripley Amanda in a frantic survival horror world where staying alive is everything and combat is to be avoided.
Now, instead of taking the fight to the Xenomorph swarms Isolation is taking a rather different turn. One which reawakens many arguments between sci-fi and horror lovers the world over.
Some could argue that modern stabs at the Alien franchise took much of their inspiration from Aliens (the second film in the series directed by James Cameron) and they’d be right. Groups of marines, vehicles and swarming alien nasties came out of the walls and all over our screens in the more action-packed sequel. Alien: Isolation however, that’s looking back to what made the franchise stand elongated head and stabby mouthed jaw above the rest. The original Alien directed by Ridley Scott. A film where there was only one stalking Alien which instead of using hordes of chitinous crawling creatures made use of tension and the natural fear which comes from not knowing where your enemy lies.
It’s been 35 years since this seminal sci-fi horror movie was splashed across silver screens across the world and Isolation could finally be it’s true gaming counterpart.
Playing as Amanda your task is simply to survive and escape. Not to fight off the terrifying titan with a pulse rifle or tear it limb from limb in an exo-suit. Playing against only one Alien might sound quite dull to most people but in all honesty so does commanding units of ancient armies around fields. Creative Assembly, the creators of the Total War series are taking their own personal stab at this little gem and with their attention to detail being almost second to none on past experience (if you ignore a fairly buggy but still good recent release) then Isolation is gearing up to be something special.
A true next generation survival horror experience perhaps.
If you’re still not sold on this whole being stalked by one alien idea. Then take a look at the screenshot to the right. If seeing something like that isn’t terrifying then I don’t dare to ask what is. Creative Assembly’s creative lead for the project, Alistair Hope says that the creature is as “as intelligent as he is hostile, relentless, brutal and unstoppable” (sic). If he and his team can pull it out of the writhing alien egg and hug our still to be impregnated faces with the delights of a truly predatory intelligent opponent then this game is going to be a triumph of the genre.
Alien: Isolation will release late this year for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Let’s all just hope the history of Aliens releases recently doesn’t follow this gem down the cold dark corridors.