Alien: Isolation Hands-On Preview

There are a number of high profile games releasing this fall demanding our combined attention. One game flying below the radar is Alien: Isolation, coming out on both current-gen and last-gen systems October 7th. After going hands-on with a 20 minute demo, I believe Alien: Isolation could be Fall’s sleeper hit.

The Xbox One demo I played looked fantastic. I didn’t notice any framerate issues or stuttering during my play through. And the demo showed Alien’s best feature: atmosphere. Through sound, or lack thereof, and dark, smoky environments, you feel like you are on the iconic ship from the movies. You don’t come into contact with any characters except the alien. As its core, this is a stealth game and not an action shooter. Hiding behind cover and moving through darkness are both keys to success. The main tool you’ll use is the radar-like device from the Alien movies, which can be pulled up into view at anytime using the right shoulder button. It shows where the alien is located in relation to you. If the alien sees you and gets near you, it is an instant death. There was palpable tension even when the alien wasn’t showing on my radar. I found myself looking around constantly, waiting for the alien to jump out.

Moving through the environment leads to a balance between speed and sound. If you walk or run you will be heard, but you can get to your objective quickly. By crouching and moving slowly, the alien won’t be able to track you, but it has more time to find you. The alien is also truly terrifying. I was startled a couple times when it burst through the ceiling. I found myself using sound most of the time to get a feel of how close it was and how much sound I was making. This is a game you will want to play with a good surround sound system or a decent pair of headphones.

Having not played a stealth game since Dishonored, I’m looking forward to seeing if Alien: Isolation can deliver what the demo did throughout the entire campaign. With shooters dominating the first person genre, Alien: Isolation might be a breath of fresh air this fall. If the demo is any indication, we could be in for a scary treat.

Alien: Isolation will be available on October 7, 2014, for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

Alien: Isolation