Aliens: Dark Descent Review | Attack of the Fanboy

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Embark on an exciting journey with Aliens: Dark Descent — a squad-based motion recreation set within the iconic Alien franchise by writer Focus Leisure and Developer Tindalos. Because the commander of a workforce of powerful Colonial Marines, you’ll finish a harmful Xenomorph outbreak on Lethe. Expertise intense real-time fight as you face off in opposition to notorious Xenomorphs, rogue operatives from the insatiable Weyland-Yutani Company, and a spread of recent, terrifying creatures within the Alien franchise. Should you’re a die-hard fan of the Aliens franchise, Aliens: Dark Descent is a recreation you merely can’t miss and turns into the most effective Aliens video video games, regardless of having a couple of shortcomings.

The Story

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The USS Otago is presently on its shakedown run because it enters the environment of Lethe, a moon, within the yr 2198. On the identical time, the Brettonville shuttle docks at Pioneer Station to ship its cargo. Nevertheless, an infiltrator unlocks the crates, revealing them to include harmful facehuggers and a fierce Warrior Xenomorph. After narrowly escaping, Hayes prompts the Cerberus protocol, which Weyland-Yutani created, to implement a planetary quarantine ought to an unexpected occasion like a Xenomorph infestation occur.

Sadly, the protocol additionally resulted within the partial destruction of the Otago, which crashed into Lethe. Throughout this course of, Hayes is attacked by a Warrior Xenomorph however rescued by Sergeant Jonas Harper and his workforce of Colonial Marines. Collectively, they flee the station and head in the direction of the broken Otago. Harper is then appointed because the chief of the remaining Marines, whereas Hayes takes cost of the bridge.

At this stage of Aliens: Dark Descent, you are taking cost of your squad of Marines, marking the beginning of the sport. With out giving an excessive amount of away, the storyline attracts vital inspiration from Aliens 1-3, staying true to the franchise. The writing is outstanding, the characters fleshed out, and it would be best to hold taking part in to see what occurs to the Otago subsequent, giving it that “just one more mission” issue.

Commanding Your Marines

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In Aliens: Dark Descent, gamers assume the function of a commander main a workforce of 4 US Marines throughout completely different colonies and bases on Lethe. Nevertheless, the design determination that requires you to manage all the squad as a substitute of particular person Marines seems like a mistake. Though you may problem particular orders to every Marine within the squad, there’s a limitation to what you may management. As an illustration, you may give people a activity exterior fight however can’t deploy your squad round a room and give attention to a choke level from a number of angles. It is because every unit makes up a chunk of your squad, and so they should transfer and assault as a gaggle whereas in formation. To make up for this, you may deploy turrets to cowl these areas, however they break simply when attacked by Xenomorphs, and your total crew might want to journey collectively to repair it as a result of your squad is susceptible when not collectively.

Initially, the limitation wasn’t a lot of an issue, however as the sport progressed, it prompted extra issues. This was significantly noticeable when making an attempt to rescue civilians, as they insisted on standing in entrance of the squad, performing as human shields as a substitute of following behind as they’d in actuality. Consequently, there have been some aggravating situations the place you needed to modify your technique or make the powerful determination to restart a mission if one among them was slain by a Xenomorph.

After finishing a mission, your Marines might have skilled accidents and trauma from battling Xenomorphs and cultists. This could trigger them to develop into drained and emotionally affected, which is able to trigger hostile standing results (or take them out of the motion altogether). To deal with these points, you have to assign them to Medbay, the place their accidents might be healed and their emotional traumas might be labored via. Nevertheless, it’s vital to notice that this course of takes time, and you could have to strategize and rotate in more healthy Marines till your squad is again to full power. This reasonable side of Aliens: Dark Descent is very appreciated, because it sheds gentle on the challenges and difficulties troopers face in warfare, particularly in opposition to foes as formidable as Xenomorphs.

Customizing Your Squad

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In Aliens: Dark Descent, one of the crucial thrilling options is the flexibility to customise your squad utterly. You have got full authority over every member, from their look to their identify. Furthermore, you may choose from 5 lessons: Medic, Recon, Sergeant, Gunner, and Tecker, and assign every member with distinctive skills that make them an unstoppable unit. It’s no shock that they’re the last word Xenomorph killing squad within the Aliens franchise. As an illustration, the Tecker can deploy a drone that may weld/unweld doorways and assault Xenomorphs, the medic can scale back stress ranges when therapeutic injury, and the Sergeant can enhance the stats of your total squad. You have got full management over the way you assemble your squad of Marines, and there’s no incorrect reply, which is incredible.

You can too construct a big steady of reserve Marines stationed on the Otago when not assigned to your squad. Though your squad can solely consist of 4 Marines, you may enroll the remaining Marines in rigorous coaching to mechanically improve their ranges when not getting used. This distinctive characteristic distinguishes the sport from different tactical video games the place items stay idle. Though chances are you’ll not make the most of each Marine on the Otago, they are going to be useful when your squad must relaxation or if one among your Marines dies (RIP Recon E. Smith, you served me properly). Whereas the substitute Marines will not be as skilled or highly effective as those they’re changing, they’re nonetheless a greater possibility than an unrealistic stage 1 unit.

You’ll develop a powerful bond together with your squad as you nurture your marines, molding them from inexperienced recruits into battle-hardened veterans. Personalizing their names, experiences, lessons, and talents to enhance these of their three squad mates makes shedding a squad member devastating, prompting a need to restart the mission to get them again (which is able to lose you hours of progress should you select the No One Can Hear Them Scream save system possibility).

Preventing Xenomorphs

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In Aliens: Dark Descent, gamers are given a preview of the Xenomorph sort they may encounter throughout a selected mission via well-crafted cutscenes. These scenes are awe-inspiring, similar to the flicks, leaving gamers anxious about their inevitable encounters in the course of the mission. For instance, gamers witness a facehugger attacking crew members at first of the sport. Because the mission progresses, gamers should rapidly kill a wave of facehuggers to maintain them from impregnating their squad members.

The fight expertise is kind of satisfying regardless of the poor sound results. By accessing the talents menu of your squad, you may both decelerate time or pause the sport totally. This lets you order your squad members to assault the Xenomorphs in varied methods based mostly on the present scenario. Nevertheless, you solely have a sure variety of Command Factors in fight, that are the variety of instructions you may problem to your Marines, making each motion depend as they take time to respawn.

For instance, if there’s only a single Drone Xenomorph, you may instruct your Recon Marine to take it down with a single long-range headshot utilizing her sniper rifle earlier than it sees you and alerts different Xenomorphs. Alternatively, you may have the gunner arrange his good gun on a tripod whereas he completes an goal, preserving the remainder of the squad protected. Lastly, whenever you’re overwhelmed (which is certain to occur), you should utilize explosives like a grenade that can injury Xenomorphs and trigger a stasis subject that slows them down in the event that they didn’t die within the preliminary blast, giving your marines further time to mop up. Different enjoyable weapons embody an RPG, Incinerator, Plasma Gun, Sub-Machine, Landmine, and many others… You have got many weapons and instruments on your particular playstyle.


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I performed Aliens: Dark Descent on Steam Deck. As a fan of the sport’s cutscenes, I invested hours adjusting my settings to realize the very best graphics with out compromising efficiency. Regardless of the sport not being optimized for Steam Deck and receiving an Unsupported ranking via Valve, I pushed it to its limits and was totally impressed with the graphical outcomes. Apparently, my dad, who launched me to the Aliens franchise throughout my childhood, was captivated by the Xenomorphs and couldn’t assist however look at my display in the course of the cutscenes.

For the rest of the sport, you’ll change between a third-person overhead view to command your squad throughout missions on Lethe or navigate via graphical menus with animated backgrounds to handle the crew of the Otago. The artwork property used for each views are of fine high quality, typical of comparable video games within the style. Although not revolutionary, the graphics are executed properly sufficient to take care of the immersive gameplay expertise and provides it that further taste that brings Lethe and the Otago to life (Jonesy included).

If you’re taking part in Aliens: Dark Descent on a conventional PC, particularly with a high-performance gaming setup, you may anticipate a formidable visible expertise with out main hiccups or configuration points. However don’t fret in case your machine is much less highly effective as a result of, as I’ve seen with testing on my mid-range Lenovo gaming laptop computer, the sport can nonetheless present an satisfying expertise.

Sounds and Music

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Probably the most in depth critique of Aliens: Dark Descent is its sound design. The sounds had been inconsistent, as some features are genuine to the franchise whereas others should not. This broke the immersion and was an enormous disappointment. As an illustration, the sounds of your squad strolling are janky, the loud sounds of the squad yelling out instructions received previous in a short time, and the background noises of the settlements prompted disruption when the squad talked with the Otago. As well as, the sounds of the Xenomorphs and iconic weapons sounds, just like the Pulse Rifle and Good Gun, in Aliens: Dark Descent is best than in earlier Aliens video games (Alien Vs. Predator 3, I’m taking a look at you), however they had been nonetheless off and never genuine to the franchise (and infrequently annoying).

The absence of music in sure areas of the sport, significantly whereas on the Otago and through mission deployment and recaps, is puzzling. Whereas the music on the title display and through cutscenes are becoming and paying homage to scores from Alien and Aliens, it merely wasn’t sufficient. Followers of the Aliens franchise anticipate epic music that matches the sci-fi franchise, and the absence is noticeable. The one hope is that modding shall be allowed, in order that sound results and music can enhance the almost-perfect expertise.

One redeeming high quality of the sound design is the witty one-liners from the Marines that recall to mind the Marines from Aliens. These traces are so satisfying that you could be even catch your self repeating them in your on a regular basis life. As an illustration, whenever you weld a door shut, one of many Marines exclaims, “You shall not pass, f#@kers!” One other humorous line is uttered after taking down a wave of Xenomorphs: “That gun’s a freakin’ lawn mower!” Every Marine has a unique persona, which shines via when deployed on Lethe.

Verdict – Sport Over Man, GAME OVER!

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Aliens: Dark Descent is a incredible addition to the enduring Alien franchise’s huge and infrequently disappointing assortment of video video games. The story is seamlessly built-in into the universe, and also you’ll come face-to-face with the enduring Xenomorphs which have instilled worry in followers for many years. Whereas some might discover the inconsistent sound design, lack of epic music, and restricted squad instructions as main drawbacks, they don’t detract from the general expertise. Quite the opposite, it’s the most effective Aliens video video games that immerse followers within the beloved universe whereas offering thrilling motion that they’ll bear in mind for a very long time.

This recreation was reviewed utilizing a duplicate of the sport offered by the sport’s writer,public relations firm, developer or different for the categorical goal of a overview.

– This text was up to date on June twenty first, 2023

About The Writer

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Matthew Kevin Mitchell has been a contributing author for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion since 2022. Matthew primarily covers Manga like One Piece, horror films like Scream, and survival horror video games like Useless by Daylight. His favourite second got here throughout his first press occasion overlaying Scream 6 for AotF. He hails from Denver, Colorado, the place he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Info Know-how from Regis College. When he isn’t scaring himself foolish or writing, he likes to play ice hockey, spoil his canine, and drink an unhealthy quantity of espresso.

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