Alien: Isolation is one of the best survival horror games made in recent years. Developed by Creative Assembly and released in October 2014, it combined classic survival horror mechanics with modern refinements to create a refreshing experience for horror fans.
Its aesthetic and tone follow that of the first Alien movie, and it succeeds at every turn. It is a first-person game that stars Amanda Ripley, Ellen Ripley’s daughter. When the Nostromo’s flight recorder is found and taken to the Sevastopol space station, Amanda goes there to learn what happened to her mother. By the time they arrive, however, Sevastopol Station is in chaos, as a deadly alien is loose.
The alien is a terrifying opponent in Alien: Isolation. Amanda’s weapons will have little effect against it, and the most you can hope to do is temporarily drive it away. Worse, it learns from your behavior and adapts accordingly. You’ll need to hide and sneak through the station, taking care not to alert your foe to your presence.
Other enemies can be fought. You’ll face both human enemies and Working Joes, the androids used upon Sevastopol Station. However, they’re still strong, ammo and crafting materials are scarce, and noise can often alert the alien, so every potential combat situation must be approached with caution.
Even saving can be dangerous, as you can be attacked while at the station’s fixed save points (although the game alerts you if enemies are nearby while you’re trying to save).
The path to your goal will rarely be a straight shot. In classic survival horror fashion, locked doors and obstacles bar your progress. The tools you obtain will gradually open up the station, and while this does necessitate backtracking, there are always new discoveries to make.
As you proceed through the abandoned station, you’ll find audio logs that recount Sevastopol Station’s final days. Along with these optional narrative pieces, the game follows your mission to escape the doomed space station—and find the Nostromo’s flight recorder—and while the story isn’t Alien: Isolation’s strongest point, it does contain some surprises.
Alien: Isolation is not the scariest game ever made, but it builds up tension and dread like no other. Its grim atmosphere will keep you vigilant for any sign of danger, and some sections near the end may shake up even veteran horror fans. Add in the game’s excellent use of survival horror mechanics, and Alien: Isolation is one game fans of the genre definitely shouldn’t miss.