Alien: Isolation could either be one of the most thrilling space-horror games to arrive on the Xbox One, PC and PS4 this year or the latest disappointment in a game franchise that can’t seem to find its footing. Unfortunately for buyers, Alien: Isolation reviews from Polygon, The Verge and IGN point somewhere in between.
Polygon’s Alien: Isolation review is full of the things users like to read about if they plan on purchasing the game. Reviewer Arthur Gies describes it as “a beautiful game, full of deep shadows and mystery around every corner.” He also acknowledges that the game’s developers, Creative Assembly, do a masterful job of building up suspense with the game’s soundtrack. The Sevastopol space station that users are trying to make their way through also takes on a life of its own, according to Gies
Both of those are key when you consider that many games in the horror genre sometimes miss the mark on sound and visuals, forgetting that the best horror films are the ones that make the environment the player’s enemy. Even the game’s back-tracking receives a good grade. (Alien: Isolation space station is full of escape hatches and extra areas that require tools to access.)
According to Gies’ Alien: Isolation review, there the trouble comes in is repetition. More specially, its Gies’ assertion that Alien: Isolation uses the same open world, surprise attack system way too much. “I often watched it wander around the same space for five minutes from inside a locker, then listened to it run away on my motion tracker for a few seconds. Then it would come right back.” In the end, Gies concludes that Alien: Isolation is the “most disappointing” in the franchise. His rating is a 6.5 out of 10.
Andrew Webster of the Verge doesn’t exactly come to the same conclusion that Gies does. In his Alien: Isolation review he says that most of what the game tries to do it “largely achieves.” He says that he felt scared and that the game was absolutely terrifying to play just because he knew that the killer extraterrestrial could appear at any moment. That being said, he does point out that the game has some pretty serious technical issues.
“The Human characters have awkward animation, and often their mouths won’t even more when they’re talking,” he says. He also points to the in-game map being difficult to use, which is pretty egregious considering its easy to get lost in a giant old space station that’s falling apart. Worst of all are the long times that users are forced to wait until the game saves automatically. He says, this botched checkpoint saving system left him having to replay large portions of the game. The Verge doesn’t give out review scores, however Webster does conclude that the game’s action sequences are worth putting up with the issues.
Finally, IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey hits on the other major pain point in his Alien: Isolation review. According to McCaffery the game is super repetitive and way too long. “By the end of the 15 to 20 (!) hours I spent with the mano-y-xenomorph survival horror show, I wish I’d stopped after the first half-dozen.” He did find the game’s opening sequences to be fair better than what users got in Aliens: Colonial Space Marines. Because that repetition came back to get it in trouble IGN’s score is a 5.9 out of 10.
Overall, the consensus seems to be that Aliens: Isolation is a decent game, with a decent concept that could have used some polish in the same way that made-for-television movies or cheap Hollywood thrillers deliver a great experience that you don’t crave again once you’re outside of the theater. Alien: Isolation is available on the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4.