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Ah, this would add some more variation then :). Although I already hated them in every other Alien game :(! Still interesting that they started with the big one and not the other way around. At least they did it much better than Aliens: Colonial Marines, where you are killing several big Aliens only minutes into the game and there was hardly any suspension whatsoever, which is what the other Alien movies and games were all about.

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I thought I could open a thread for this game.   I'm not completely through yet, but thus far it is a really good game. And it is quite close to a stealth game, as sneaking is actually the only way th

Making it a more confined Metroidvania was a great idea with regards to saving and death. It's incredibly tense but not necessarily scary: the real fear is of losing my progress and having to do the l

And here it comes the famous "TDM veteran test" for AI, after the normal Turing Test

Some redlettermedia guys did a not so friendly review.

 

Well, that video is completely spot on in my opinion! I'm a third into the game and I only play it now and again if I don't have anything better to do. Not because it's scary, but because it's boring. Everything looks great, but just too similar to everything else. It's the same gameplay over and over with little variations. There is no interesting story whatsoever that would compell me to play more. In fact I'm rather playing good old Metro 2033 in the meantime because the characters and atmosphere are so much better and I just want to know what happens next. In AIien Isolation I'm looking for medicine for some hours now although the ship Synthetic could have gotten it much easier too!

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Okay, I played a bit further now and got to the flashback to the outside mission. Finally some change in visuals, but then again, completely linear and one knows exactly what is going to happen. No tension or horror there either. At least I got to see the "thing" with the beautiful graphics ;)! Still I rather wish we would get an Aliens vs Marines game with this engine and assets. Any mods in the works to give us a little more action? As for the game itself, I met two NPCs, enemies?, that didn't react to my presence at all and managed to avoid some others by just running into the transit. I don't think this could have happened with the TDM AI :)...

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, I found some time to play some more and now I see what everyone means. This game is ruthless ... to the extent that the game will set you up in situations that are impossible to evade! Of course that may be because I'm playing on the hardest difficulty, but my god, progressing through certain parts almost depends on luck.

 

Regardless, I'm having a blast! And I can't really say that I want the AI to be less difficult, but I do feel things would be more enjoyable if one had more options at their disposal. VR-enabled head tracking would do some good, but man it would really be helpful if one could, for example, pick up miscellaneous objects and use them as distractions (I can't pick up a can?!), gently move an object (e.g. a chair) by hand so one can hide under a desk without bumping anything and thus making noise, maneuver one's body around tight spaces to hide rather than depending on the preset hiding spots, open a locker one is hiding in slowly so you can peek out and make less noise, jump / scale a wall, ... some of these things are so obvious that I can't help but think consoles were a bottleneck in the game's development.

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I played on Difficult and played "stealthy" and didn't have much issue through the entire game. Only a few spots and I found those few spots to be quite enjoyable. My brother-in-law played on Difficult but he's a "run and gunner" and he quit playing before getting to the 3rd part saying, "its just not really my kinda game, its too hard." So YMMV.

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My brother-in-law played on Difficult but he's a "run and gunner" and he quit playing before getting to the 3rd part saying, "its just not really my kinda game, its too hard."

 

I don't know how far I am, but after getting the flamethrower the game got a lot easier. Still normally I'm more of a "run and gunner" myself and find the slow gameplay over such a long time rather boring. Actually I recently reinstalled Aliens: Colonial Marines, which despite all the critism, has the much more varied level design. A shame though that they turned the player into a weapon collecting superstar and the Aliens into harmless cannon fodder. A mix of both gameplays, Alien Isolation and Aliens: Colonial Marines, would have been my favorite!

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A mix of both gameplays, Alien Isolation and Aliens: Colonial Marines, would have been my favorite!

Take a look to "Stasis" DLC for ACM.....

Edited by lowenz

Task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody see. - E.S.

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Take a look to "Stasis" DLC for ACM.....

 

So is this better than the main game? Do they build up a little more tension like in the first two AvP games? ACM throws multiple aliens at you only minutes in while in AI you see the first one after some hours ;)!

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So I'm trying to locate medical supplies for Taylor and I'm finding that with the exception of under tables, it's almost always finding me. If I hide in a vent, 90% of the time it enters the vent and then I'm finished. And ever since I've entered this hospital area it seems that a new game mode has been activated where if I hide in a locker, it will always come up to the locker and activate the "hold your breath" quicktime event. The thing is, even if I have enough health and get the quicktime event commands right (hold back and RMB), there still seems to be a 50-50 chance that it rips open the locker and kills me. Is this normal? While I can understand vents leaving you vulnerable, is there really no guarantee that you're safe in a locker even if you get the quicktime events right?

 

EDIT: I've ended up just avoiding lockers wherever possible. It without a doubt triggers the Alien to enter the room and check out the locker you're in, so instead I just hide behind/under something and then the Alien doesn't seem to bug me.

Edited by woah
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Yes (and it's not that hard :P)

 

Speaking of which, this is another thing that bugged ACM, although maybe it's connected to the difficulty I play which I can't remember, probably normal: If you are down on armor, dead enemies will drop armor, if you are down on health, dead enemies will drop health. The same goes for stacks you find, so there is little danger to die unless you fail in a fight itself and thus little suspension to reach the next checkpoint alive which is one of the major gameplay elements of AI...

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... is there really no guarantee that you're safe in a locker even if you get the quicktime events right?

 

EDIT: I've ended up just avoiding lockers wherever possible. It without a doubt triggers the Alien to enter the room and check out the locker you're in, so instead I just hide behind/under something and then the Alien doesn't seem to bug me.

 

Not a guarantee and like you found out, its almost always better to NOT use lockers because there's a QTE associated with them. I also had much better luck keeping something between me and it, and moving around it as the alien moved, or hiding under a desk though that isn't a guarantee either.

 

Also, do nOt use the locator when the thing is near you because it beeps and the alien/people can hear it. Also, since when you just move the mouse your feet make shuffling noises I found it best to "not move anything" (stay still! as you would in RL) and your chances are better.

Edited by Lux
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I finished earlier today. Overall it's a good game. Definitely the best single player game in the Alien universe and among the best in the survival horror genre. However, assuming we're talking about the experience of the games in their entirety, I found AvP2's multiplayer and Amnesia more enjoyable in their respective genres overall. In other words, everything is not as rosy as my initial impressions of AI.

 

But first the good: the Alien itself is stunning. It is really amazing how well the developers captured the ferocity of the Alien and--for me at least--they without a doubt created the scariest gaming experience I've ever put myself through. Of course the initial moments of dealing with it were the most frightening, naturally, but even at the end of the game that fear never subsided to a level where I wouldn't feel my heart beating. Even now I still don't like to watch it lunge toward me or kill me, preferring to press ESC and load the most recent save when I know my fate is sealed. And not only is it frightening but it is cinematic and immersive: there are so many moments in my encounters with the Alien where it may as well have played out in a movie. I couldn't ask for anything better in terms of this aspect of the game.

 

Second, and as many others have stated, the artificial intelligence is very good. I don't mean good in the sense that it is very smart (not to imply that it is poor), but rather that it is very unpredictable--at least within the confines of what was clearly the developers' intentions (more on this later). I was never confident that the Alien wasn't going to drop down behind me, abruptly turn around and enter a different area or room (perhaps the room I was hiding in), peek under the table I was crouched under, etc etc. And then other times it would feel like it was so close that it must be just waiting for me to make a move and yet nothing would happen when I did, or it might stand motionless in the vents for a while (not setting off the motion tracker) to perhaps trick me into thinking that it had gone somewhere else (I used to think it was teleporting in many of these cases, but whenever I paid close attention I realized that everything was always consistent with its actual location and the last recorded position of the motion tracker).

 

The above two things are really the crown jewels of AI. It leaves you on edge the entire game and never lets you get too confident with your playing habits--there was never really a moment in this game where I felt like I had "figured the Alien out" and reduced the encounters with it to a set of actions that would unfailingly work to my favor. Most games of this type are all about isolating those context-sensitive set of actions through trial and error and I think this is why many reviewers were put off with AI's difficulty. There is always a real chance you are going to die and there is nothing you can do about that other than reduce the probability of it happening. The key to AI's greatness in this respect seems to be that it makes this both readily apparent and "believeable" ("believeable" in the sense that, e.g., I never just died because the game decided to "spawn" the Alien above me)

 

There are of course other things that are great about AI. Many of the environments are quite stunning and certain parts of the game are just a joy to explore (but not all parts, not by a long shot) . The graphics can be quite good (and quite bad, you can see which mappers took attention to detail seriously and which didn't) and the lighting can be particularly amazing. Some parts truly captured the look and feel of the Alien movies (and, again, other parts didn't). But now we get to the bad.

 

 

First off, a lot of reviewers have said that the game is "too long." I don't believe that's ever actually a problem. Rather, I think the problem is that if you're going to make a game that re-uses the same general mechanic for as long as AI does, you need to add in *a lot* more variety over time and create a storyline that people actually care about. At about the 50% mark, I was already quite sick of the repetitive objectives and the repetitive overly simplistic gameplay. Go here, turn on/off the power for X, meet up with Y, suffer through some quicktime events, scan each room for green lights and the flashing yellow item glint along the way, then repeat. This became so monotonous that just thinking about it right now makes me sick to my stomach. Eventually I, for example, stopped going out of my way to search for items altogether and just focused on reading the green terminals (I felt like I needed to extract something from laboring around like this, doing essentially the same thing over and over again in what, looking back, now seems like one big haze ... but this segues well into the next point).

 

Now, some games can get away with this repetitive, overly simplistic gameplay if the storyline is interesting enough, but in AI's case it's not. The initial setup had my attention, but after that I really didn't care what happened to Ripley or the other characters, and after a while I even stopped caring about the backstory. With the exception of Samuels, all of the characters seemed to have the same childishly sardonic "tough guy" personalities with the corniest lines and intonations. I could not empathize with any of them, and in the Alien setting (where it is about fear, hopelessness, and survival) this was a major let down. And the degree to which the "everyone for themselves" trope was employed was quite silly too. I mean, there were a few interesting moments, such as the

flashback of the planet's surface

but these do not substitute for an actual good storyline.

 

Lastly (and I suppose this wouldn't be a problem if the two issues above were handled better) even with all of my praise for the Alien, I still believe there should have been more variety with respect to the hide and seek mechanic. For example:

- As someone else in this thread said, you can be certain that the Alien is alwayswithin or just outside of your motion detector, and while I can see why they did this, it makes this aspect of the Alien very predictable and thus somewhat immersion breaking. Not saying that the Alien should have an equal chance of being anywhere on the entire ship, but there must be a better solution

- The hiding spots are mostly preset and allow little creativity or variety

- Certain hiding spots (e.g. lockers, vents) trigger the Alien to come straight for you, which also feels immersion breaking. Thus I decided to stop using them almost altogether, reducing the variety even more

- The environments are very uninteractive (one can not even pick up objects and throw them as distractions? Why even bother with the physics then?) and thus feel pretty dead despite being pretty

- The Alien does not climb on walls or "stalk" the player (the player almost always knows where it is, while the opposite is true in the movies. This would've added a whole new dimension to the gameplay). It's always thumping about upright on the ground or in the vents

- Knocking over physics-affected objects never alerted the enemies for me

- You cannot mantle or jump.

- The game is rife with quick-time events rather than more dynamic interactions

 

Now, many of these examples can be attributed to the fact that the gameplay was constrained by consoles, but IMO survival horror games, due to their nature, necessitate much more variety with the environment and the way you interact with it. Sometimes AI feels like you were just tossed in any old FPS level and told "okay, now just stay out of the enemy's line of sight." A nice challenge, but way too simplistic.

 

 

So in conclusion there are things I love and really dislike about AI. I doubt there has ever been a game that has so palpably brought a SciFi creature to life, and as a fan of Alien 1 and 3 and AvP2 this was an absolute joy. But the game has serious flaws, and perhaps one of the "issues" with this game is that it does certain things so well that its problems (or maybe these "problems" would be considered normal in other games) by comparison are painfully apparent, more so as the game progresses. Maybe that is "unfair," but in a way it reminds me of the uncanny valley. If you're going to go the extra mile in bringing the Alien to life in your game, you had better have the rest of the game up to snuff too or else it's going to stick out. If I had to rate the game on a scale of 0-100 it would be in the mid to low 80s, but the initial encounters with the Alien (before the monotony set in) certainly felt like upper 90s.

 

 

A few other nitpicks/comments:

- The Alien seems to get more and more aggressive the less you move. It would seem more appropriate to me if the opposite were true (while still maintaining a certain level of unpredictability), but maybe the devs felt that it was better to create more tension. I just felt that after a while of playing, the game unfortunately rewarded a certain level of recklessness and thus seemed less tense. I could sometimes walk through a good portion of the level without the Alien ever approaching me, but if I stayed in one spot it would practically be on top of me.

- When the Alien kills other human AI it feels kind of bland. The general behavior seemed to be to run up to them, grab them, and then headbite them one at a time, but their bodies--at least when I looked at them--remained undamaged. I think it would've been better if they at least showed some damage or if the Alien would drag them up into the vents after roughing them up a bit.

- Did anyone else notice that there seems to be a 5ft radius around Ripley that will disrupt all nearby physics-affected objects? This is especially true when laying down--e.g. I might turn Ripley 90 degrees and the garbage can on the other side of the room would get knocked over. As I said before, the enemies never noticed the objects falling over, but regardless it was a confusing oversight.

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Really good points, matching my sentiments exactly save a few omissions. Since this whole post is a spoiler I won't bother hacking it up with spoiler tags and instead warn as much.

 

Anyway, the synthetics got really dull towards the middle of the game once you got back onto the station after you get jettisoned. It got to a point where I really didn't care if I got spotted, and instead just took a few slams against a wall and ran on ahead. With the threat of the xenormoph temporarily gone I got completely taken out of it, because I just didn't find them threatening at all, and got sick of how sensitive they were to my presence. The moment I took a step within their hearing radius and they said they were going to investigate I bolted past the lot without trouble. The whole section from the jettison to the power core was ass. That said, holy shit the power core was an impressive piece of level design. It felt really, properly sublime, it's just a shame it was filled with more crappy synthetics.

 

On a similar note, after getting the flamethrower I simply cheesed it. I would sneak around until the xenomorph happened to drop down in my way or I simply didn't feel like sneaking. I'd then immolate it the once and sprint to the objective, then usually go through a loading screen before it managed to come back. It's fair enough that once it knows you're there it keeps trying to jump up on you, and I felt a reflection of the rivalry in the movies as it kept silently dropping behind me and trying to surprise me, only to have me turn around and pwaf it back up into the vents. Twitch shooting experience really paid off, and while it was great fun reacting to its various guerrilla tactics I definitely felt like I'd cheated the game. It wanted me to sneak but at the same time if the alien got in the way I could get it out of the way with no trouble and move on before it could react, so I did. I dunno, I like that you can do that but I shaved hours off the playtime and rendered the xenomorph(s) really quite pathetic.

 

The ending sequence was garbage, too. The long, uneventful space walks were visually appealing but ultimately pointless. The capture at the very end was something I expected but much further back in the game. It really felt like they realised they'd forgotten the obligatory capture/facehugger sequence and really it resulted in nothing but a bit of environmental hazard gameplay and an irritating run-in with a horde of facehuggers which, while easy to kill, meant going back a fair way on the back of a single slip-up. The game's strongest point was definitely the beginning. If they'd found some way to keep it properly fresh and given the player a few more ways to approach the situation built into the levels rather than that half-hearted power management mechanic and a few distraction items, I'd be complaining less. When it comes down to it, it was great and I'd recommend it, but I beat it in a day and properly enjoyed maybe 40% of it, up until the end of the jettison section at which point it went downhill fast. The remaining 60% stayed strong in terms of visual level design but weak in enemy design and level design as far as gameplay went.

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Also agree about the android stuff. The

android mission

was kind of a waste of time and very anticlimactic. And the ending of the game felt like one big rollercoaster ride: pretty but almost entirely uninteractive--may as well have been one big CG sequence. As for the flame thrower, the few times that I used it the Alien seemed unaffected by it and got me anyway, but maybe if I had played around with it more it would have worked (it made for a good light source in the vents though).

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