Alien: Isolation – XBox Game Pass

Note: I originally started this article a year ago and then lost it somehow. I located it lurking in one of my other blogs sitting in the drafts section so now it’s ready to present.

I played Alien: Isolation when it was available on my XBox Game Pass subscription. It was eventually removed before I could complete the game but because it was so good I ended up buying it so I could complete the game. I have access to a wealth of games with my subscription as Microsoft has quite a few games released over the past 10, to 20, to believe it or not some 30+ years ago including most of the Quakes, Wolfenstein’s, Dooms and get this, even a few of the Ultima titles and Bards Tales! Additionally, the XBox Game Pass games adds achievements, a great bonus system in the form of game points for every dollar that you spend and a bunch of other goodies like free access to EA Play (Electronic Arts) as well as Ubisoft which carry in untold number of games in those collections, all included with the XBox Game Pass subscription. But of course, this article is not about the boundless joys of Microsoft’s XBox Game Pass.

I’m a fan of first person-based survival horror and psychological horror games for sure. Throw in some puzzles and a decent story plus some first-person shooter action, a little bit of cover and hiding then you have a game I find exciting and fully playable. I also enjoy the exploration of large maps and solving puzzles like locating keys, keycards, playing mini games, finding hidden access ways and a myriad of escape room/maze type challenges. The maps get progressively larger and more challenging, and we can’t forget the added distraction of having this giant alien creature chasing after you hastens the need to internalize the game maps to properly progress through the game levels and figure out the building layouts as you listen and look for signs of where the alien might be. I can’t say enough about the Alien itself; it’s truly the pièce de résistance of the game. Alien: Isolation offers all of these exciting challenges and much more. A beautifully rendered environment true to the Alien and Aliens world lore which we’ve come to know from the movies as you play engineer Amanda Ripley working at the orbital Sevastopol Station. Sevastopol Station is the games main environs is the perfect vehicle for completing the immersion factor. I prefer first person based views so I’m glad that’s what we have with Alien Isolation as during the development phase of the game they were considering third person.

Alien Isolation offers a decent narrative but in my opinion it’s the weakest part of the game. The mechanics and gameplay are great but the story we’re given leaves much to be desired. Fortunately, that doesn’t distract from gameplay. Playing the game and making it towards completion is exciting nut it’s a little disheartening the story we’re told falls short by not keeping in step with that. A missed opportunity for sure. The other gripe is the poor treatment of a few of the characters. I understand you can’t develop every character in the game but some key characters who did get some good character development could have enforced a better story to seamlessly integrate and augment the game for that immersion factor. Great characters that were helping us during the game abruptly get killed off at times and sometimes it felt jarring. From the mini games that act as distractions to real time problems that need to be solved on the spot keeps the game exciting to the end. The spectacular graphics and visual environment are the highpoint of the game extending the lore of the Alien universe, which is always welcome and it’s not too much of a stretch to see how this can fit into the Alien timeline. I mean everything I read or watch out there about Alien: Isolation seems to have unofficially accepted Alien: Isolation into the canon. Plus, the ending of this game practically implies there will be a next chapter in Amanda’s story, but it’s been quite some time since Alien: Isolations release in 2014 and now we’re in 2024 and still nothing has materialized. Finally, I like the length of the gameplay Alien: Isolation offers. Most of the horror games that are out there in abundance these days are the short horror experiences ala but Alien: Isolation gives us that triple A experience and typical playthrough times I’ve seen are 18 hours to complete, 40+ hours if you go the completionist route.

Finally, there are 7 DLC‘s (Downloadable Content) which allow for more levels and hours of enjoyment including a new ‘salvage’ mode that sounds interesting. I look forward to trying that feature once I finish the hard level playthrough I am coursing through at the moment. I started purchasing the DLC’s at about 3/4 of the way through the end of the game and now own all of them. I have played a few of the DLC’s and have completed the first two, namely Last Survivor and Crew Expendable and they made the perfect transition for me as I was a little bummed that the game was finally over when I completed the game. I wanted moar!

Thank you for taking the time to read my review. If your inclined or have some spare change you’d like to donate, you may do that here.

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