Just tell me one thing, Burke. You’re going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study, not to bring back, but to wipe them out.
It has been one of the biggest travesties in gaming history that since the Alien film franchise rose to huge fame, there have been very few games worthy of the license. Alien Isolation is one of the outliers, doing a fantastic job of capturing the psychological dread-inducing atmosphere of the first Alien film, but Aliens hasn’t been particularly well-represented.
There was an Aliens side-scrolling arcade shooter in the mid-90s that was a whole lot of fun, but it took a lot of liberties with its source material. Alien Trilogy on the PS1 took a good crack at nailing the Aliens formula, but it was looking dated even when it first released (the sound design, however, was impeccable). Alien vs Predator (1999), despite being a shared license with the other Schwarzenegger-led sci-fi mega-hit of the 80s, still holds up as one of the best games to have brought us into James Cameron’s take on the Aliens lore. Over 30 years and 18 games later, we are long overdue a legitimate entry that can bring us the quality of Aliens game we deserve.
Is this gonna be stand-up fight, sir, or another bug-hunt?
Whereas Alien Isolation was very much all about disempowerment, Aliens: Fireteam focuses on the much more action-orientated Aliens (one of the best and most quotable sci-fi films ever), which naturally means lots of big-ass guns. Set 23 years after the events of the original trilogy, in Aliens: Fireteam you play as a colonial marine, dropped in to fight against a variety of enemies, including eleven types of Xenomorph spanning their evolutionary range, from Facehuggers to Praetorians, and Weyland-Yutani synthetics (I mean, ‘artificial people’, sorry Bishop).
What the hell are we supposed to use, man? Harsh language?
Aliens: Fireteam is a three-player co-op, third-person survival shooter, that can be played solo with AI teammates, or online with friends. Customisation looks set to play a big part, with numerous character classes to choose from (Gunner, Demolisher, Technician, Doc and Recon) which each come with their own perks. Firepower hasn’t been neglected either, your arsenal will include 30+ weapons and over 70 mods/attachments (including the eponymous M41a Pulse Rifle, Smart Gun, flamethrower and Hicks’ shotgun.
Level design features locations ripped straight from the source material, as well as stylised takes on Alien planets that look suitably close in aesthetic to the drab, dreary and gritty take on a dystopian future introduced by Ridley Scott and Cameron. Expect to see Xeno’s crawling across the ceiling and coming out of the god-damn walls as you fight to survive.
As much as we’re excited about this game, we’re cautious of getting our hopes up too high, as the memory of Aliens: Colonial Marines is all too fresh. If a AAA studio like Gearbox can screw up what should have been a home-run, it’s best to keep your expectations in check.
How long ’til it blows?
With the release scheduled for Summer 2021 on PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X|S and Windows PC (Steam), we haven’t got long to wait to find out if developer Cold Iron Studios LLC has made the game we are all hoping for..