Wednesday 13 May 2020

Alien Isolation is my preferred sequel to Alien

Alien: Isolation (PS4): PC & Video GamesI've started playing Alien Isolation again recently and I love it to bits, so much so that I've come to regard it as my preferred sequel to Alien, rather than Aliens.

Aliens is, by far, my favourite 80s action movie; I saw it on it's opening night in the UK in 1986 and I riffed on it for years, in my games, writing and art. As I've gotten older - and probably more jaded! - I realised that Alien was my favourite movie of all time and I much preferred the unknowable Lovecraftian horror of the first movie rather than the action thriller that was the second. As much as I loved that film I do think it was the beginning of the end of what I loved about Alien and an end to the unknowable, cosmic terror that was the creature (Prometheus and Covenant only helped to compound that, but that's another story).

Then came Alien Isolation; it went back to it's tension/horror roots, removed any extraneous material that didn't refer to the first film (having no Queen was a great decision) and instead of changing the nature of the story, it changed the scope of it. Gone was the claustrophobic corridors of a starship, this was a huge station and it was the Alien's hunting ground. You, as Amanda, come into this when it's already gone wrong and the threat is tripled; Alien, Working Joes and desperate, terrified people who will do ANYTHING to just stay alive another hour.

I enjoyed the story - I even liked the conceit of Amanda Ripley looking for her mother because it kind of made sense - and the return to the space jockey's derelict on the Anisadora was just spot on. Regardles of certain issues with the actual gameplay (backtracking, repetetive tasks and sitting in a locker for half an hour at a time) I felt the story was solid and is pretty much what I was lookng for in a sequel to Alien.