First Impressions of Alien Isolation

Alien Isolation

I think I’ve inadvertently spent the past several months preparing to play this game.  I started by reading through every volume of the Aliens Omnibus, picked up any singular comics that weren’t included, started reading one of the more recent novels, and watched through the 35th Anniversary of Alien.  Alien was one of the earliest Sci-Fi franchises I had ever become invested in (thanks to a ridiculous series of Kenner toys.)  I was ready.  And 15 years of experience playing survival horror games made Alien Isolation a prime candidate for me on the latest generation of gaming consoles.

At the same time though, I’m one of many beleaguered fans who have suffered through a series of underwhelming or flat out terrible Alien games and movies.  Creatively Assembly has tried to state that this was going to be different, and I was hopeful after seeing the initial media and press accounts of the game.  And now I’ve had the chance to sink a couple hours into the game, and what I can tell you is: so far so good.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here, or be hyperbolic.  At least initially, Creative Assembly nails it.  The aesthetic and tone are as close to that of the original Alien film as could be without bringing on the original creative team.  And it’s accomplished without just making the same handful of callbacks to the film.  From the loading screens, to the game’s puzzles, everything inspires an ominous dread and otherworldly quality.

Alien Isolation, so far, is also one of the most frightening games I’ve played in a long, long time.  This could easily change if I find “the man behind the curtain” and identify the game’s patterns and behaviors.  But right now, it’s a game that garners a physiological response from me telling me to turn it off.  Having immersed myself in the world of Alien recently has primed me for this.  Or is that even the right term?  It’s probably left me vulnerable to any and all of Isolation’s strategies to terrify me.

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