Title: Alien: Isolation
Genre: First-Person, Survival Horror
Available On: Nintendo Switch
Version Tested: Switch
Official Site: Feral Interactive
Release Date: Dec 5th, 2019
Where To Buy: Nintendo eShop, Any store outside with games
Alien: Isolation finally hits the Nintendo Switch, which is fitting as you’ll need to carry and change out of diapers on the go from this horrifying adventure.
This game sees you playing as Amanda Ripley, who, like her Xenomorph slaying mother, finds herself trapped on a space station being hunted by the same dangerous creature. Amanda’s time on Sevastopool could lead her to find out what happened to her mom while seeing sights that require more therapy than a Florida Thanksgiving dinner.
This switch port sees all the DLC coming along for the space ride with motion controls so your real life-shaking can be captured in your virtual aim.
This is an excellent port of a great survival horror game that likes to change things up often, even if it does overstay its welcome near the end. The game’s intro will either grab you or turn you away. But, once you get the hang of things though, you’ll be in for some awesome thrills ahead.
What’s Around the Corner
Alien: Isolation is about being powerless and trying to survive an overwhelming situation. You will get guns and other weapons that can kill most enemies, except the Alien as she’s the Hulk, and your bullets are Loki. You may die a lot in this game to the point where you start becoming more annoyed by the Alien than scared. This is good as you will become bolder in this deadly game of hide and seek.
However, when it comes to the short DLC’s, this formula is changed excitingly. You are behing hunted in cramped interconnected corridors, except this time you start with alien repellent, a.k.a the flamethrower.
While still fun, these quick runs highlight what happens in horror games when you make the player empowered or, in this case, overpowered. I started talking crap to the alien by saying things like “this meat is a little green, I like mine red” before lighting them up. I died after running out of fuel, but it was still cathartic.
The best thing about this title is its hands down is the fantastic audio designs. This game will scare you with eerily random noises or the tense music gradually getting louder to Inception levels.
The most significant setback on this is that the story isn’t anything to write home about. It’s Ripley on a bunch of fetch quests that leads her back and forth through danger. This story is the embodiment of Uncle from Jacki Chan Adventures as it is always saying, “and one more thing!” before you think the game is done.
The graphics here are no graphical powerhouse like Resident Evil 7, which is cool considering this came out near the start of the generation. Regardless, it’s a mighty fine looking title that has an immersive presentation.
The 70’s low-fi aesthetics are also an essential part of this title that makes it stand out from anything else on the market. If you thought using the internet in 1997 looks archaic, try using a computer from the ’70s that looks like it would struggle to run Pong. From the décor to the user interface, everything sees advanced technology wrapped in basic, yet appealing designs.
I replayed the PS4 version alongside the Switch version for comparison, and it is hard to spot the differences. If anything, I would say the Switch version looks better in some aspects when it comes to the lighting effects. Also, it is worth pointing out that Alien: Isolation is one of the few titles for the console that looks as good docked, if not better, as when played in handheld mode.
We’ve moved far as a society by not talking ill of the mentally challenged, so we’ll skip the human A.I in Isolation. However, the A.I for the Xenomorph is pretty remarkable as it stalks and hunts you down. Sometimes, it will even make you think it fled to let your guard down, only to hit you with a gruesome “congratulations, you played yourself” stav through the chest.
The Xenomorph is unpredictable, which in terms of game design, can be a good and bad thing. This means because a tactic worked before, doesn’t mean it’ll succeed in the next encounter. The same opposite could be said for a plan that failed as well.
Hacking mini-games here are mostly welcomed addition as they are straight forward like matching images or matching button timing. This creates even more suspense by knowing that anything can (and will usually) kill you in the middle of unlocking a door like living a neighborhood without a Whole Foods.
The Real Deal
Verdict: Alien: Isolation is a worthy entry in survival horror games that gives fans genre a tense and satisfying experience. It doesn’t stick the landing when it comes to later sections of the game but still stands shoulders above other entries in the genre.
The story may not be the best, but this performs where it counts, the scares and atmosphere. When looking for horror titles on the Switch, getting this is a no brainier because Luigi’s Mansion 3 won’t have you sleeping with the light on for a week.
What’s the best horror game of this decade? What are your thoughts on the Alien franchise? Do you think horror games are evolving or staying the same?? Leave your comments!
- Hours of terrifying moments
- Some of the best audio design this decade
- Adaptive A.I
- The story isn't all too engaging
- Not much mission variety
- Drags on toward the end