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.