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Aliens: Dark Descent is the Prometheus of real-time strategy games

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Aliens: The Dark Descent It is billed as a real-time action game, which carefully ignores the real-time strategy classification. This new classification is not a gimmick. Tindalos Interactive has created a tense single-player experience that clearly flirts with many disparate genre characteristics while delivering a singular and ambitious approach. However, like the divisive Alien franchise film PrometheusIts use struggles to keep up with the creative momentum.

dark Descent Aspects of resource gathering, technology improvement, and base building found in many RTS titles have been completely removed or purposefully limited. There’s no real-time macro layer to speak of, with a moment-to-moment focus on the micro-actions of your team of four USMC soldiers maneuvering. it is similar to star Craft Campaign mission where you are exploring with only a handful of Terran marines. It highlights the tension surrounding the uniquely named characters and their existence: instead of ore and minerals, you’re worried about gunpowder and tension. And when one of your grumblers is killed—or worse, taken by an alien drone to impregnate her—it fosters grief and regret. It’s a brutal game of moments that stick with you.

You’re eased into the framework with a 45-minute tutorial, which also serves as a prelude to the larger story. This long introduction is welcome, as running systems have some quirks, and you need to understand the unusual tactical options they present.

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USMC Marines in Aliens: The Dark Descent take cover behind a table, then open fire on an opposing group of soldiers.

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Image: Tyndalos Interactive/Focus Home Entertainment

The most sophisticated of those tactical systems are centered around command points. You spend this resource laying down suppressive fire shells, firing powerful short-range shotgun blasts, and spewing walls of fire to defend your position. You can never pause the game when you open the command menu, only resort to slow motion. It is imperative that you get comfortable with this system quickly, as it is central to tactical decision-making during high-intensity combat.

but this tutorial is also dark Descent In its most mundane form. Action sequences are bland, offering few interesting tactical decisions or opportunities for creativity. It plays with the danger of failing to hook up a new player, highlight the game’s strengths, or highlight entertaining cinematic battles. It’s a prelude to an equally rote story, starting with a Weyland-Yutani corporate plot with a troubling synthetic human. There are moments later in the campaign that turn into outright predictability, and it’s in these stages where the game threatens to loosen its grip on your attention.

Much of the intrigue stems from the various subsystems that make up the structure of combat. The actual clicking and maneuvering around is somewhat uninspiring. Furthermore, you cannot send a single soldier or small fireteam to defend a position or perform flanking maneuvers; The squad is forced to stick together. This keeps the action streamlined, but it also dilutes some of the tactical depth. Additionally, this can make for some repetition in sequences, as you repeatedly try to maintain long narrow sight lines to force incoming hordes through obstacles under your own weakening fire. However, it manages to keep things satisfyingly simple. The various environments are rich and fully realized in scope and vision. You get a chance to travel through huge colonies and huge space docks with entire sections encased in Xenomorph shell. All of this is also strongly enhanced by the roster administration and open world aspects of the game. It’s in this age of temporary, heavily armed exploration dark Descent really flies.

A USMC Marine closes a door while xenomorphs creep around the party in Aliens: The Dark Descent.

Image: Tyndalos Interactive/Focus Home Entertainment

There are also moments of beauty and invention. As you are traversing vast areas containing both internal and external war zones, you are unexpectedly surrounded by Xenomorphs of all shapes and sizes. The AI ​​adapts to your strategy, maneuvering around defensive vectors like sentry guns and walls of flame. You have to deal with facehuggers and acid blood, and it really does feel like you’re being hunted. Even the atmosphere will turn against you at times, forcing your soldiers to face their mental trauma by sealing themselves inside rooms with welding torches.

Between missions, you research new gear and unlock skills with your various soldiers. Putting experience and resources back into your barracks. This layer, clearly inspired by Firaxis’ XCOM games, creates a wonderful loop of constantly increasing the power of your troops, to make them even more juicy targets for the Xenomorphs. It’s intense and memorable, and it leads to some great soaring moments of storytelling.

Where? dark Descent XCOM has been stepped up in mission selection. The campaign is somewhat linear, but it achieves an open world feel by allowing you to uncover new areas of the world map – various settlements and installations on the planet Lethe, which is undergoing a global crisis. Although it is required that you complete the main story objectives in each area, you can also return to each to scavenge missed items and complete sub-tasks later. dark DescentIts structure also allows you to evacuate mid-mission, thereby preserving the mental and physical health of your squad members once everything is put to the side. I had extreme moments of ups and downs, as I evacuated several times in pursuit of certain objectives, saved what I could, and med-fed my squad before redeploying with new roster members. kept at bay. Do this often, and the alien threat will intensify over time. This creates the illusion of a continuous environment, which is developing its own autonomy.

A mission selection screen from Aliens: The Dark Descent.  a legend on the left for purposes, datapad and recovery

Image: Tyndalos Interactive/Focus Home Entertainment

Aliens: The Dark Descent Sometimes ambitious, often complacent, but sometimes impetuous. While some may wish for a more intimate and terrifying alien isolation In the sequel, this isometric tactical challenge is rich with consequence and payoff. It may not be the most consistent or extraordinary Alien video game we’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly remarkable and imaginative.

Aliens: The Dark Descent Available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed using a retail copy provided by Focus Home Interactive. Vox Media is an affiliated partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Here’s additional information about Play Gamez’s ethics policy,

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