Tindalos Interactive is well-regarded for its distinctive takes on the real-time technique style. Having beforehand labored on two video games primarily based on the Warhammer 40,000 setting—Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 and 2—the studio has now launched a novel technique recreation primarily based on the traditional Alien franchise. Aliens: Darkish Descent is a recreation with a novel combine and match of various concepts from completely different genres, it’s truthfully stunning how nicely all of it comes collectively.
Video games primarily based on the Alien franchise have been one thing of a combined bag, with some completely wonderful titles, just like the stealth-based horror recreation Alien: Isolation, to Aliens: Colonial Marines—a recreation so unhealthy that it’s basically a meme at this level. Aliens: Darkish Descent is exclusive in the truth that, somewhat than placing you nearer to the motion in a first-person journey, you’re as a substitute enjoying a method recreation for the primary time because the older Alien vs Predator titles.
Aliens: Darkish Descent places you in control of squads of your individual making as you discover varied colonies on the planet Lethe. What makes it somewhat distinctive amongst its contemporaries is the truth that, somewhat than supplying you with management of particular person items, you as a substitute management the entire squad as a single unit. Because of this they stroll and run collectively, and even assault enemies collectively, and also you don’t actually get a lot in the best way of direct management of your marines except for utilizing particular talents.
“It’s truthfully stunning how nicely all of it comes collectively”
The gameplay loop in Aliens: Darkish Descent is kind of attention-grabbing. Fairly than throwing you in mission after mission, it as a substitute provides you completely gigantic maps that would take hours to discover. Every stage has numerous aims that may be accomplished in any order you would possibly usually need to method them in, and also you’re free to extract out of the extent and return again to dwelling base should you begin getting a bit too overwhelmed. Any modifications you would possibly make to the extent, like for instance welding doorways shut or clearing blockades with explosives persist between deployments. Since you’ll be able to extract from a mission everytime you need, because of this the sport usually encourages taking over every stage at your individual tempo, somewhat than throwing you right into a mission that would take hours.
The sport encourages gamers to study its massive maps, since understanding your squad’s whereabouts in relation to the assorted constructions round you’ll be able to usually imply life or loss of life. For instance, should you’re being hunted down by the Xenomorphs and want just a few seconds to catch your breath, you’ll respect remembering a superb place to cover.
Talking of which, fight isn’t one thing you’ll see in Aliens: Darkish Descent fairly often, however when it does occur, it’s usually brutal, and can probably go away greater than a few your squad members each bodily and mentally traumatized. Whereas most of your time within the recreation shall be spent in exploring the labyrinthine hallways within the settlements of Lethe, there are Xenomorphs prowling round, in addition to nests. Being noticed not solely implies that you’ll probably need to get right into a battle, however you’ll additionally rapidly want to determine an escape route and a spot to cover, since this is not going to set off an in-game state of affairs referred to as “hunt”.
“Most of your time within the recreation shall be spent in exploring the labyrinthine hallways within the settlements of Lethe.”
The hunt is an attention-grabbing idea within the recreation because it provides a sluggish, ticking timer that can escalate your present predicament right into a state of affairs far worse than you’re probably prepared for. Throughout a hunt, an depth meter on the top-right of the display is continually going up. Whereas issues are comparatively chill when the hunt’s nonetheless on Simple, you’ll quickly end up having to fend off waves of Xenomorphs when you hit the tougher hunt phases. What makes hunts particularly harmful is the extent of stress it piles in your squad, which might doubtlessly result in your marines selecting up adverse traits that would have an effect on their efficiency in future missions. The one actual approach to cope with hunts is to discover a place to cover and hunker down.
Getting back from a mission, whereas usually nice for the morale and bodily well being of your marines, will even have you ever handle your own home base. You received’t spend an excessive amount of time right here, nevertheless, because the logistics are pretty easy to maintain, and probably the most advanced factor you’ll probably do is stage up your marines between missions by outfitting them with new perks, and maybe new items of kit.
Moreover, the gameplay in Aliens: Darkish Descent, regardless of being a tactical technique recreation, feels extra akin to a survival horror recreation. Positive, you will have weapons and varied instruments, however you’ll be attempting to cowl as a lot of the room you’re in with gentle simply to ensure a Facehugger isn’t lurking behind an workplace desk. You even get a devoted flashlight that you just’re inspired to make use of continually. Couple that with restricted ammo and the psychological stress that your marines will inevitably tackle and you’ve got the right recipe for some of the attention-grabbing takes on the survival horror style on the market.
“Aliens: Darkish Descent, regardless of being a tactical technique recreation, feels extra akin to a survival horror recreation.”
The one actual place Aliens: Darkish Descent looks like a little bit of a letdown is its story. Whereas the sport begins off nice, slowly build up stress over the course of the primary couple of minutes, you’re rapidly thrown right into a tutorial mission that may do the sport a little bit of a disservice. The tutorial is sluggish, badly-paced, and takes too lengthy to allow you to do something attention-grabbing. Even the primary time you employ a gun is bittersweet, since management is immediately taken away from you in favor of displaying you a cutscene. As soon as the tutorial is handled, the sport actually opens up fairly nicely. Sadly, nevertheless, a lot of the plot looks like wasted potential, and the sport’s core concept of people dwelling peacefully alongside the Xenomorphs isn’t actually adopted up on in a significant manner.
The story roughly simply stays within the background, and except for just a few missions the place you’ll be coping with the enemy immediately, the concept simply isn’t explored as completely because it might’ve been. Finally, the plot of Aliens: Darkish Descent finally ends up feeling like one more retread of the tales we’ve been seeing from the film franchise eternally.
Fortunately, Aliens: Darkish Descent is a beautiful wanting recreation, and regardless of the story itself being alright at greatest, the cutscenes and gameplay each look stellar. The way in which the sport manages to hone in on the defining “look” of the Alien franchise is nothing in need of jaw-dropping, particularly if you zoom all the best way into your squad of troopers welding a door shut, for instance. Its environments are splendidly detailed, and the lighting performs an enormous position in it being as enjoyable as it’s. Even particulars that might in any other case be secondary in different technique titles, like climate results, look incredible.
“Aliens: Darkish Descent is a beautiful wanting recreation”
When taken as a whole bundle, Aliens: Darkish Descent finally ends up being a fairly good recreation that’s let down by its story. Its core gameplay is a incredible mixture of stealth, technique, and survival horror, and it’s bought all of the fanservice you’ll anticipate as a fan of the Alien franchise. In relation to story, the plot lacks any form of payoff for the sport’s most attention-grabbing concepts, as a substitute falling again to the traditional Alien franchise tropes of Weyland-Yutani being evil and the Xenomorphs being horrifying.
When it will get going, there’s nothing fairly like Aliens: Darkish Descent available in the market. Its distinctive tackle the style alone ought to be sufficient to get followers of technique video games via the door. If, then again, you need to expertise the world of the Alien franchise with a intelligent new story, you’re higher off wanting elsewhere.
This recreation was reviewed on the PC.