Can’t bring myself to play Alien: Isolation

I’m only two hours into Alien: Isolation. TWO HOURS. That’s like nothing at all, really. The game is just incredibly intense to play and the Alien just showed up. Seriously, it just showed up around the two hour mark and I’m already losing it. This usually does not happen to me with games. I hear people say “Oh this game was so scary” or “that part was the scariest ever” all the time over the years and when I actually play those games it usually results in a feeling of “Really? This is it? What’s the big deal?” I’m not trying to come off as some kind of tough guy because really I am not. I get scared of things that go bump in the night. Quite literally, too. My cat will run around at night doing who knows what and I startle at every sound. It’s just that video games have never really bothered me that much.

Alien: Isolation isn’t really a scary game, though. I don’t find the Alien (Or Xenomorph, whatever) to actually be that terrifying. Actually they are pretty dang cool and I’m a fan of the movies and some of the games. What really gets me is that feeling of being hunted or stalked relentlessly. In past horror games the only parts that legitimately made my heart pound were the parts where something chases after you that you can’t take out. I think there are a couple of Resident Evil games that have regenerator bad guys like that who will chase you for a while until you can find a way to take them out. Dead Space also did a really good job with this and those parts are really the only reasons why I feel hesitant about replaying the games. And to think that almost all of Alien: Isolation is going to be like that? It stresses me out just thinking about it.

The beginning part of Alien: Isolation isn’t that bad. You are mostly walking around by yourself but there is this general feeling of uneasiness and dread that slowly starts to build up. They do a particularly good job of this with the music which can swell up at times and make you almost panic. There’s this one part where you are running away after getting your first glimpse of the Alien, not really the part where it actually starts coming after you, and you have to push this button to call a tram. It’s dark and hazy all around you and lights are flashing. Or maybe it doesn’t look like that at all, I can’t really remember. All that I can recall is seeing the tram VERY slowly make its way over while the music seemed to get more and more intense. I crouched down in a corner, gripped the controller tightly and started scrunching up, as if making myself as small as possible would help in the game. The tram finally around and I got on and that was it. Nothing even happened and it seriously messed me up.

It wasn’t long after that before the Alien finally made it’s real debut. It was one of those “Yeah, Nope!” moments and I quit out of the game. The experience was just so intense and stressful, though not necessarily in a bad way. Sometimes it’s fun to put yourself in situations like that, especially when you know you are in no real danger. I needed a sort of entertainment palette cleanser, or digital enema, to relieve me of that stress so I popped in season 2, disc 3 of Lois and Clark and let 90’s Dean Cain fly the darkness away.

Now it’s the next day and all I can do is stare at Alien: Isolation on my Steam game list but I can’t bring myself to start it up. I know I will eventually… but for right now I think I’ll hold off. At least until Keen comes back from his trip.

UPDATE: Okay so curiosity got the better of me and I decided to just pop in and see what the Alien looks like and watch it probably kill me. I mean, if I knew it was coming then it shouldn’t be scary, right? I must have spoken too soon because the dude was nowhere to be found. It must have been a second tease or something because I played on for the next two hours and didn’t encounter it once. I kept saying to myself, “Well I might as well keep going until it shows up.”

The atmosphere of unease and the tension continued to build as I had to sneak around these freaky looking androids that looked like satanic crash-test dummies. I reached a point where something kept jumping up on my motion tracker and moving incredibly fast. I could hear noises in the walls and all around me but nothing was happening. So I made my way towards my next objective, which was another tram station although this one was brightly lit and there were npc people around. I was looking at my map and then at the different trams and trying to figure stuff out when I approached one of the people who then fell over and started scurrying away from me, which they seem to do for some reason. At this point I’m just thinking, “Dude, I’m not going to hurt you. Where’s the button to say calm, comforting words.” So I turn around and that’s when I see this huge black shape just marching right towards me. It’s the Alien, obviously, and it grabs me and opens it’s mouth… and then it’s other mouth… and I can only assume it bites my face off.

For the next 10 seconds I just sat there silently pulling off something like this:

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go find some videos of puppies.

 

  • I only seen some footage from alien isolation, but somehow I find that alien unrealistic.

    I mean in the movies the aliens are the most deadly species in the universe.
    Superb hunters, fast and smart. (there is a reason the predator picked them over any other species to prove they are true warriors)

    Yet in the game it has trouble finding and killing a lone human?
    (and it seems slow)

  • I read one review that contrasted this to other hunted horror types of games and mentioned that unlike most others you never get respite (I don’t remember what game it was, but the example was that you could hide in a hole and even though the monster knew you were in a hole it would leave you alone).

    It sounds intense and unrelenting.

    Some of the bad reviews on Metacritic, you know the type that give a generally highly rated game a 0 or 1, don’t seem to understand that it is a hunted horror game simulating the movie.

    Comments such as “It the same run and hide rinse and repeat over and over again for hours. When you die you think oh well lets try a different approach, nope doesn’t work here.” seem to indicate certain people don’t understand the survival genre; it sounds like the game is designed after the movie where you are hopelessly overmatched and are going to die, the point is how long can you hold out for until then?

  • @Zyler I think it really depends on what difficulty you choose. On hard it is more unfair than fair. At least it feels that way. And also you can’t outrun the Alien. Other times you might think you successfully out maneuvered it only to stop short and see a tail sticking through your chest. Really there is no reason for it to move super fast since once it sees you then you are pretty much screwed. In the original movie you don’t ever actually see it move very quickly anyway. Maybe on the motion tracker but that’s it. As the movies went on they kind of upped its speed and that’s partly what made it intimidating but not really scary. It’s kind of like the whole “fast zombie” thing. I don’t really find that any scarier. Just being stalked and knowing it’s out there is enough to unnerve me and the moments where you can hear the motion tracker frantically beeping or see something dripping from a nearby vent are the truly scary parts. Once the thing actually gets you it’s almost a relief because it ends the tension.

  • Not surprised at the mixed reactions, given that horror as a genre, tends to cause them

    Some people love movies like “Saw”, while others can’t stand them.
    I have little interest in horror movies (hate the physical sensation of being afraid), so I have zero interest in this game. I know I simply wouldn’t enjoy it.

  • Seen a review of the evil within.
    Now that is a horror game I do like.

    Bad optimization on pc though…

  • “to relieve me of that stress so I popped in season 2, disc 3 of Lois and Clark and let 90โ€™s Dean Cain fly the darkness away.”

    That is the funniest line I have read in awhile. I thought I was the only person that loved watching that show.

  • @Zyler I think it depends which version of the Alien you are comparing it to. This game is based off of the original film in which the Alien almost never is seen moving.. the shots are mostly closeups and you never see the kind of athletic Alien that we see in Aliens. There is even a cool video on youtube where all of the footage from the original Alien of the xenomorph has been compiled and it is pretty interesting to see. That Alien was definitely more about stalking and surprising its prey while Aliens was more about overrunning with numbers and speed.

  • @nukethesitefromorbit

    Thanks for the explanation. It makes sense.
    Yeah in my mind it is the overwhelm, speed and unstoppable force.

    Different base material for the game. Got it.

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