It feels like everyone remembers their first encounter with Ridley Scott’s Alien. My first encounter is the story of a naive four year old, a really cool neighbor and a futuristic laserdisc player. When asked if I wanted to watch Alien, I was so brave, not even phased by my first R rated movie and one that I wasn’t even supposed to be watching, I didn’t hesitate to say “yes.” Afterwards, I went back home, proudly proclaiming to my mother just how mature I really was. Everything had turned out just fine, there was nothing to be afraid of, until that night at bed time, when the lights went out…
I slept on my stomach for most of my childhood after my Alien nightmares, afraid that an alien facehugger would crawl onto me in my sleep. Alien Isolation does a good job of conjuring up that primal fear. It succeeds where most horror games have failed: it is really, fucking scary.
The attention to detail in this game is amazing, even the opening logos have that worn out VHS effect. The whole setting of the game is just like the movie: a low tech future, as it would have been seen in 1979 (the year Alien was first released). The moment you first head over to the derelict Sevastopol space station you can tell you are in for a special experience. This recreation of one of Sci-fi’s classic movies is unparalleled.
The game fits very neatly into Alien canon, taking place 15 years after the original movie. The events follow Ellen Ripley’s daughter Amanda, who has no idea what happened to her mother out in space. The flight recorder of the commercial spacecraft Nostromo is found. This is the ship Amanda’s mother served aboard and “the company”, which everyone works for, sends her outfit out to retrieve it. A chance to find out what happens to her mother is all the incentive our young hero needs.
As a huge fan of the Alien series (and a die-hard fan of Prometheus—shut your mouth) I am eager to see how this story plays out. However, I do not share the confidence and courage of our main character. I’m playing this game in short spurts of courage. So far the alien is not my biggest problem, there are other people on this space station causing me grief. Progress updates to come.