ALIEN: ISOLATION / DEVELOPER: FERAL INTERACTIVE / PUBLISHER: SEGA / PLATFORM: SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Originally released in 2014, Alien: Isolation takes place 15 years after the events of the 1979's Alien movie and casts players in the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of Sigourney Weaver's Ellen, as she tries to find out what happened to her mother. It's a genuinely tense, exciting and terrifying adventure and, with input from the people at 20th Century Fox on the development side of things, Alien: Isolation is easily one of the most authentic movie tie-in games ever made.
The newly-released Switch edition contains the main game and all previously-released DLC in one bumper package. The story campaign is mainly centred around the Sevastopol space station. The various characters you come across might not immediately seem hostile, but you're never totally sure if they're trustworthy. Weapons are largely ineffective against enemies – androids can be taken down with a few well-placed shots, but gunfire (along with many other almost-necessary movements like using the in-game motion tracker) will draw other hostiles to your location. Finding blueprints gives access to a range of useful gadgets like smoke bombs and noisemakers, but your main allies throughout the game are stealth and patience. The station itself feels cold and empty, and knowing that the alien is likely to kill you immediately means that its arrival is one of gaming's most unnerving experiences. With the potential for the alien to make an appearance at any moment (its movements aren't scripted, so anything can happen at any time), you're constantly on edge. True to the game's name, you definitely feel isolated.
The included DLC features a couple of missions based on the original Alien film. In Crew Expendable and Last Survivor, players can take control of Ripley, Dallas or Parker (all voiced by the original actors) in several “what if” scenarios that offer alternative takes on the ending of the movie. There's also a Survivor Mode which contains a host of different challenge maps and playable characters.
The Switch edition runs absolutely flawlessly in both docked and handheld mode, and the technical wizardry behind the scenes have resulted in possibly the best looking game on the console (an in-depth investigation by Digital Foundry concluded that it looks even better than its PS4 counterpart!). As one of the greatest survival horror games, Alien: Isolation is already a must-buy, and the inclusion of all of the previously-released additional content and the ability to take it on the go are extremely welcome. Without doubt, this is an essential purchase for fans of the genre.