There’s a new game set in the Alien universe cresting over the horizon. So it seems like it may be a good time to look back at another game, and one of the best pieces of media from the franchise, Alien: Isolation.
Alien: Isolation was released in 2014, to a rightfully apprehensive audience after the previous game, Colonial Marines, had tanked most people’s hopes for good games set in the Alien universe. As it turned out, however, Alien: Isolation not only ended up becoming quite possibly the best game of the Alien franchise but one of the best Survival Horror games of all time.
The experience of playing Alien: Isolation is like no other, this is because it understands what made Alien the film work and seeks to recreate that. It’s an excellent example of how everything comes together in games to provide a certain experience. Everything from the art direction, sound design, enemy AI, level layout, etc. It all works together to, in this case, make the player feel as though they’re confronting the same dangers the crew of the Nostromo faced in their encounter with the Xenomorph. And it does this to great effect, by understanding and respecting its source material, building on the world without overwriting it.
Alien: Isolation is one of the few games that proves that, if done with care and respect to the original, a video game adaptation of a movie property can be great, if not spectacular. In many ways, it even surpasses some of the movie sequels in its storytelling and understanding of the Alien universe. This approach has left an impact on the fans, with the game and its protagonist, Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen, quickly becoming franchise favorites. So much so that a sequel game is still often talked about and hoped for among fans.
It seems that players aren’t the only ones who the game stuck with. Developers have also cozied up to certain ideas and aesthetics put forth in the game’s design. The new release, Aliens: Fireteam Elite, especially seems to be taking some cues from Isolation. It appears that stations similar in design to Sevastopol Station, where Isolation takes place, are going to be making an appearance. Also coming back are Seegson Synthetics’s less than lifelike androids, the Working Joes. There looks to be quite a bit more variety in them this go around, but they still carry the distinct look given to them in Isolation.
While it doesn’t look like Aliens: Fireteam Elite is going to be the sequel that fans of Alien: Isolation have hoped for, they can feel safe knowing that Amanda’s story doesn’t end with Isolation. There has been both a novelization of the game which garnered a sequel titled Alien: Prototype by Titan Books, and a spin-off comic series titled Alien: Resistance from Dark Horse Comics featuring Amanda Ripley once again. And who knows, maybe one of these days the cries for more will be answered, although the timeline of the franchise could make that tricky.
With Aliens: Fireteam Elite releasing soon it’s more than worth checking out the best game the Alien franchise has to offer. So why not make a stop by Sevastopol Station one more time, or a first time if you’ve never been, and see how you fare against the alien?
Aliens: Fireteam Elite releases for Xbox One, Xbox series X/S, PS4, PS5, and PC on August 26th. Alien: Isolation is available on Xbox and Playstation consoles, PC, and Nintendo Switch.