Sunday, 18 June 2017

(More) First Impressions: Alien Isolation

My dad played this game in EGX a couple of years ago and we released a first impressions for it. I've finally gotten round to playing it myself and thought I'd do my own first impressions as I wasn't restricted by the impatient line at a gaming convention. So here goes!

Some spoilers ahead:

Playing games slightly later than they were released means I can usually play them at higher graphics (I say usually as some games are just a pain to run) and with that in mind, I quickly cranked this one up to ultra. Due to A:I not being your typical shooter anyway (as said in the previous post), frames per second isn't as important, but I was pleasantly surprised by the optimisation - it runs really well, and I experienced no bugs or glitches for the hour I was playing, besides some screen-tearing which was fixed with V-Sync. What I did notice though was just how beautiful the game looks. Fitted with an old film filter, the actual game itself is pixelly, but it works, adding to the atmosphere. The lighting effects are outstanding, especially for a three-year-old game and the detail on all the items such as a ketchup bottle was superb, it's just a very nice-looking game. Which is helpful when it's so cramped and you're so dependent on small environmental cues to figure out what to do next.

This mostly worked throughout my game time, with the environment leading me to the next destination, me taking hesitant steps towards the next objective, accidentally knocking into a lightbulb or hanging electrical wire and jumping ten feet in the air (I'm not particularly good with horror games). However, my main irritation in the game came when the environmental cues didn't work. You see, early on in the game you have to go in a vent on the floor to carry on, but I was so focused on things at eye level that I didn't even think to look below me. This might be because I'd discounted verticality quite quickly after I'd realised you can't jump, but I ended up getting frustrated and looking up a walkthrough to get past, which I try not to do.

I have a confession to make: I've never watched an Alien film. I know, look at him, playing Alien: Isolation, barely knowing the lore or characters, he's probably only playing the game because he watched it on YouTube. Well, you'd be almost correct, but I actually picked the game up due to reading things about the AI of the Alien etc. and thinking that I should probably try the game out due to its technical achievements, so I wasn't placing too much on the story. I've been pleasantly surprised so far, most of it can be understood without any back knowledge of the franchise besides some references and the characters all seemed likeable enough (good voice acting from all as well). Until they all died and I was left stranded of course, now all I've got is the Xenomorph for company although I haven't seen it yet (although I can now hide in cupboards so I think it's not too far away).

Other than walking and picking up items, I haven't done too much so far, but it's only a matter of time before I run into the aforementioned Alien and the average Working Joe, and overall, I've enjoyed my time so far with Isolation. Wait what was that?

*Please, hel-*

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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