Aliens: Dark Descent is an upcoming game set to be released on June 19th, 2023, and will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. The game is published by Focus Entertainment and developed by Tindalos Interactive.
I first came across Aliens: Dark Descent at Gamescom last year, and it has definitely made a lasting impression on me. While I initially had mixed feelings about the game, it has managed to win me over with its unique blend of gameplay elements.
One comparison that can be drawn is to XCOM, particularly in terms of the persistence outside of missions, permadeath, squad leveling, and classes. However, Aliens: Dark Descent distinguishes itself by offering real-time gameplay instead of turn-based mechanics. Another game that comes to mind when playing Aliens: Dark Descent is Red Solstice 2: Survivors.
In Aliens: Dark Descent, players take on the role of a squad commander operating from the USS Otago, a crashed ship serving as the base of operations on the planet Lethe. The planet has been overrun by Xenomorphs, and it’s up to the player to eliminate the infestation. The game strikes a balance between action and horror, reminiscent of the Aliens film series.
While initially concerned about the simplicity of the Xenomorphs’ behavior, the game’s decision to have them charge at the player when detected is both gameplay-focused and canonically accurate. The tension in the game builds as the player’s presence alerts the hive, leading to increased aggression from the Xenomorphs. This is measured by a meter at the top-right of the screen, with each stage leading to the release of more Xenomorph forces.
Successful gameplay requires careful and intelligent play, as increasing the aggression meter also increases the level of patrol activity and the likelihood of being spotted by the Xenomorphs. If the player fails to manage the situation effectively, they may be forced to evacuate or face death. The game creates a sense of tension by introducing time-bound missions and an increasingly angry mob of Xenomorphs.
In addition to Xenomorphs, players will also face human and android enemies. The game features an intriguing story that revolves around Maeko Hayes, a Weyland Yutani middle manager, and Colonial Marines sergeant Jonas Harper. The story explains how the Xenomorph infestation occurred on Lethe, but I won’t spoil any further details.
While Aliens: Dark Descent has impressed me overall, there are a few minor issues to note. There have been instances of aliens popping through walls or getting stuck, as well as discrepancies between the script and subtitles during cutscenes. Additionally, the representation of stress and mental disorders among the marines feels overdone and somewhat random.
Despite these minor flaws, there is a lot to love about Aliens: Dark Descent. The gameplay mechanics are tactical and engaging, with players controlling a squad of four marines as a cohesive unit. Slow-motion combat allows for strategic decision-making and the utilization of various skills and equipment. Defensive turrets and mines can be set up, creating kill zones to fend off hordes of Xenomorphs. Retribution is a crucial ability that allows for healing, buffing, and the replenishment of command points, especially useful in battles against alien queens.
Overall, Aliens: Dark Descent offers a unique and thrilling gaming experience with its combination of action and horror elements. It successfully captures the essence of the Aliens franchise while introducing fresh gameplay mechanics. I highly recommend giving it a try when it releases on June 19th, 2023.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.