Alien: Isolation

So close.

Aliens. You know the movie. You know the games. You probably didn’t play Aliens: Colonial Marines (I did, and it’s as bad as its reputation). If you have read anything to do with computery video games over the past month, every site and magazine on the planet has done their ‘Top 10 Best Games Ever of 2014 EVER!’ lists. Some of them even list Alien: Isolation in these lists. I’m typing this shit out to tell you that they are WRONG. They’re all wrong.

I mean, I get it. I get why people flipped their shit over it. It’s got all the hallmarks of a quality game. Made by the Creative Assembly, the studio responsible for all the Total War games, this is one of their occasional creative departures from the formula that makes them their bread and butter. To be fair to them, they’ve gone over and above what anyone expected. Everything you could ever see or hear in this game is reminiscent of the first Alien movie, even the occasional new stuff they’ve added. Honestly, it’s like it was ‘filmed’ in 1979. Tremendous achievement.

So it looks and sounds like one of my favourite movies. How can this not be a good game? Let me tell you. Let me tell you what I’ve not seen written in any review. Let me tell you the fucking humongous secret that this game has. Every review ever about this game said about how brilliant the AI is. There’s one alien in this game, and the AI for it is superb. It “learns” from your behaviour, they said. It “thinks” like you would imagine the alien should. All very well and good, but here’s what none of those reviews have mentioned – when you play the fucking game, the alien can look through walls, and is happy to remind you of the fact.

At this point, I’m thinking it must be me. Every reviewer under the sun can’t be wrong! It’s not like they haven’t said in their reviews that you’ll need perseverance to get anywhere in the game. This is sadly, comically, painfully true. In the game, there are lockers. You can hide in these to potentially escape from the alien. You will see the inside of every single locker door this game has, and you will see each one multiple times.

Perseverance is one thing, though. Having a cheating cunt for a boss fight that lasts the length of an entire game is something else entirely.

So I got to this point, early on, where I couldn’t work out what I was meant to do. I looked up a walkthrough, and I realised I had to go from A to B, and then back to A, without being spotted by Cock Head. Simple enough. Not easy, but simple. Could I do it? Could I shite. I’d throw every noisemaker and flare I had, and that bastard star beast wouldn’t even twitch at the fuckers. I tried to get past this one section for weeks. Gave up.

Months later, and I read online that Creative Assembly have added a new “Novice” mode to the game. I’m not averse to turning the difficulty down on a game to get my money’s worth, so I fire it up today, stick it on Novice, and give it another go. An hour later, I realise three things:

1) I was meant to walk down a corridor to set off a fire, so that when I went from A to B to A again, the computer at A would have an option for me to turn off the fire, as well as giving me the code to open the locked door I was trying to unlock. The game tells you none of this.

2) Novice mode, as far as I can tell, turns the alien AI into a nice, fun game of Russian Roulette. When you inevitably end up near the alien, you have a one-in-six chance of having your face eaten off. If it doesn’t eat your face off, TA DA! You win the temporary “dumb alien” downgrade! You get about fifteen seconds of an alien walking next to you while still trying to see you, before it scurries off to clean its glasses or something.

3) I can’t stand this piece of shit fucking game.

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