I don’t think I’ll ever get to finish Alien: Isolation.
I move down a dimly lit hallway, with lights flickering and sparking, as slowly and quietly as I possibly can. I’m out of flamethrower fuel which means I have no protection, and I now only have one chance to make it to the next save point before being slaughtered and sent back to the previous save point. All the while, this uneasy feeling settles over me as I hear the Alien crawling in the ducts above me, careless of the fact of how much noise he’s making. It doesn’t matter; I’m the prey in this situation.
I have my surround sound system turned up, the lights off, and I’m a nervous wreck at this point. I find the nearest desk to hide under and await my impending doom. A few moments pass and the Alien seems to have left as I did not hear it come out of the ducts. The door is just around the corner and the save point just beyond that. I slowly come out from underneath the desk, stepping on broken glass and knocking over a chair in the process, and continue my way forward. About fifteen slow, shaky footsteps later, I hear the Alien come screaming from behind me and I panic and run. If you’ve played the game, you know what comes next.
Alien: Isolation is the most dynamic gaming experience I have ever played and I love it. I love the game to death even though I’m terrified of it and will hopefully finish it in the near future before my bank starts wondering why I have so many charges at JC Penny’s for the same amount every couple days. The Creative Assembly created a horror gaming experience that’s ultimately unmatched by any other horror game on the market. In my opinion of course.
Sure, Amnesia and Outlast are terrifying games in their own right. Amnesia creates an immensely terrifying psychological horror experience that makes you think you’re in more danger than you really are. Outlast created a perfect setting for a horror game and if it had more dynamic encounters like those found in Alien: Isolation, it probably would have topped the list of horror games.
The Creative Assembly has managed to merge both a psychological and monster oriented horror experience into one package. You may know what the Alien looks like right off the bat, but somehow it manages to remain a terrifying creature throughout the game. The sound effects in the game are what make the experience as harrowing as it is, however, and is well deserving of the numerous awards won in the past few weeks. The most impressive part of The Creative Assembly’s effort here though, is the AI of the Alien.
The unpredictability of the Alien in every situation is what makes Alien: Isolation the gem that it is, and ultimately ushers in a new era for the horror gaming genre. Horror games are only scary as long as you don’t know what’s coming next. The occasional jump scare may get you, but that’s not true horror. In most horror games you can die, return to a checkpoint and you know what’s coming up next. Alien: Isolation said to hell with that and succeeds for it.
I absolutely cannot wait to see the AI further improved upon from Alien: Isolation and for more developers to take notes and expand on the concept. Just imagine the next Dead Space being set up in the way that Alien: Isolation is, but having even more fiends to deal with at any given time.
I may be absolutely petrified of Alien: Isolation, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more immersed while playing a video game than I have in The Creative Assembly’s triumphant entrance into the horror genre.
I’ll make sure to update you all once again once I finish the game in 2026.