Aliens Infestation ReviewAaron Caldwell
In space, no one can hear you scream. Up and coming game company Wayforward and Gearbox have created a game where that is a lie. People will hear you scream like a girl. If you are a girl gamer then you will scream like a smaller version of yourself. This game is almost as creepy as the Alien movie franchise. There are a few downfalls which I will cover here, but all in all this game changed the way I view licensed products in the same way Batman: Arkham City did.
If you are like me you have waited years for a good Alien game. Yes, we had the wonderful original Alien vs. Predator game and for some of us Alien 3 was a great game. However, nothing truly captured the feel of Alien. This game manages to do just that with an awesome gameplay combination that feels like they took Contra and dipped it into Castlevania Symphony of the Night with a outer coating of Alien. Running and Gunning along a huge map with multiple weapons to choose from with various enemies to come across. You are indeed a marine and a bad ass one at that, but wait there is more. You have a team of 4 marines to choose from at any given time. You can only switch out in a save room which makes sense, but becomes a bit of a hassle. The really cool thing that Wayforward did, albeit with the biggest drawback, was to make a huge roster of marines with their own personalities all recruitable. Sounds amazing right? It is and it is not. You can recruit them, but only if a team member of yours dies. Then you have to backtrack to them and ask them to join. This is easily the biggest hassle of the game. Wayforward did do something amazing about dying though. If you die, and you will die, the marine you were playing as is cocooned somewhere on the map (the game will show you where) and you can either go recruit someone else or fight your way to them and save them. This is a great addition in that you might become attached to some of the characters as some of their distinct personalities and unique dialogue make for a great time. The game also features some great weapons from the Alien franchise such as the assault rifle/grenade launcher combo and the smart gun. Did I mention you can fight in a power loader a la Ripley? I didn't? Well, you can do just that.
I know most games have music, but they probably should have skipped it here. The music never really feels right and most of the time it’s drowned out by the motion detector anyway. They should have went the Dead Space route and let the ambiance of the environment control the mood. The sound effects are what you would imagine with bullets and the distinct sound of aliens making an appearance. The game really does nothing special in this area. However, when something pops out at you and makes that noise *shudder* there is much screaming.
The game is portable bless its heart. This typically does not make for a Final Fantasy scale graphic windfall. However, this game looks and feels like Symphony of the Night. It is a colorful sidescroller with great character animations and environments. Yes, you will come across some bland textures, but you are on a spaceship most of the time and like most things you will come across rooms that look the same. This should not detract from the game as it really is a beauty.
The Aliens franchise was based around the story of one Ellen Ripley. If you take her away you don't have much. This game suffers a bit from the fact that it feels like Aliens without Ripley. The marines are sent in by the company to investigate a ship. They find Aliens and they fight the Aliens. The company is trying to transport people with Aliens inside them and lo and behold the company man sent with the marines can't be trusted. So on and so forth. This could be a problem for some, but I feel the strength of gameplay and overall beauty and fun of the game outweighs any storyline shortcoming as the Aliens series aren't really that strong in the story department. They are enjoyable without a huge story so why can't this game be the same?
This game is amazing and one of my favorites of the year. The gameplay is solid, the game is engrossing, and I really began to care about the characters. If you give a portable game a shot this year or can't figure out what to get someone for a birthday or Christmas, you wouldn't be cheating anyone by picking this game up. It is a fantastic ride from beginning to end. Also, you can play Bishop's knife trick mini-game so that’s a bonus for anyone who has seen the movies.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.